Home » News » Onecom fined £100k for sending millions of spam texts

Onecom fined £100k for sending millions of spam texts

Wednesday, 24 May, 2017

Hampshire-based business broadband company Onecom has been punished with a £100,000 fine for sending out over three million spam text messages.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) received more than 1,000 complaints from the public after Onecom bombarded potential customers with marketing texts about mobile phone upgrades.

The ICO is responsible for tackling companies that breach the 2010 Data Protection Act.

Investigators found Onecom had broken the law by not obtaining the consent people must give to receive marketing messages on their mobile phones.

Onecom did confirm they had sent out 3.3 million text messages between October 2015 and March 2016.

What do Onecom say?

Onecom’s Chief Executive Darren Ridge responded to a request for comment from BroadbandDeals.co.uk, saying: “Onecom operates in a highly regulated sector and is utterly committed to upholding the highest standards in all our communications with our clients and the public.”

Mr Ridge said his company “consider[s] this incident to have been most serious” and promised an internal review to ensure that this would never happen again.

He added: “We are pleased to note that no subsequent complaints have been received and that the Information Commissioner has acknowledged our remedial measures.”

How do spammers get your number?

Spam marketing texts are usually sent out by companies who randomly generate thousands of mobile phone numbers in the hope that someone may well have had an accident or been mis-sold a financial product like PPI.

When people respond to the texts, unscrupulous companies will sell on your details to claims and debt-management firms. This is how they make their money.

There is no suggestion that Onecom mass-texted non-customers, but the company was not able provide any evidence to the ICO that it had sought the necessary consent to send the texts.
.

Report spam texts to 7726

All firms sending marketing texts must offer an opt-out option, which typically involves texting STOP. If, however, they continue to send after opting-out they are in breach of the law and you can report it to the ICO. Their helpline number is 0303 123 1113 or you can forward the offending spam to text number 7726.

Commenting on the case, Steve Eckersley, ICO’s Head of Enforcement said: “Spam texts are a real nuisance to millions of people across the country and this firm’s failure to follow the rules drove over 1,000 people to complain.

“I would urge anyone bothered by a spam text to report it, via the ICO’s website or by forwarding the text to 7726.
“Your reports will help us crack down on those who fail to treat people’s information with the respect it deserves.”

Tim Bamford author picture

By:

Tim is a veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.

News What's the story?

Keep up with the latest developments in UK broadband.

The biggest malware threats of 2020…so far

It’s been a year few of us will forget in a hurry, and we're only halfway through.

The biggest malware threats of 2020…so farThe biggest malware threats of 2020…so far Read more

Instagram could become the main news source for young people.

Reuters finds changes in the way younger users consume the news.

Read more

BT launches second line service

BT launches second broadband home line service for the new crop of home workers.

Read more

Best broadband areas for online gaming in the UK.

Read more

Help Learn with us

Make the most of the internet with our broadband library.

How to check if your broadband is down

It might seem obvious that an outage has occurred, but there are easy ways to check if your broadband is down, or whether the problem is more localised

How to check if your broadband is downHow to check if your broadband is down Read more

A guide to Big Tech alternatives.

It seems like we’re reliant on a small group of companies, are there alternatives?

Read more

Quick tips for boosting home broadband speed

Boosting speed can transform activities like streaming, gaming and accessing cloud storage

Read more

What’s the difference between hardware, firmware and software?

Read more