Virgin Media has been fined £50,000 for sending marketing emails to customers who had not consented to receiving them, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said.
The ICO said the telecoms giant sent 451,217 “Price Freeze” emails to people who had opted out of receiving marketing communications.
The ICO received a complaint from a single consumer in August last year about an email that read: “We want to let you know that we won’t be raising your price this year. This means the price you pay for your current package right now will stay the same in 2020.
“We’d like to stay in touch about all the great Virgin Media stuff we have on offer for you.
“You have currently said no to receiving marketing messages from us, which means that we are not able to keep you up to date with our latest TV, broadband, phone and mobile news, competitions, product and bundle offers via online, email, post, SMS, phone.”
NEW: We have fined Virgin Media £50,000 for sending marketing emails to customers who had not consented to receive them.
— ICO – Information Commissioner's Office (@ICOnews) December 8, 2021
The complainant described the email as “basically a service message dressed up as an attempt to get me to opt back in to marketing communications”.
The ICO said it was satisfied from the evidence it had seen that Virgin Media did not have the necessary valid consent for the 451,217 direct marketing messages received by subscribers.
ICO head of investigations Andy Curry said: “This fine stems from us receiving just one complaint, and shows how important it is for people to report nuisance calls or messages to us.
“We will always protect the public and take action against companies where we find serious breaches of the law.”
A Virgin Media spokesman said: “While the email communication sent to customers did not advertise our products or services, we do not plan to appeal the ICO’s decision, and we will continue to fully respect our customers’ marketing preferences.”