The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Papa John’s (GB) Limited £10,000 for sending 168,022 nuisance marketing messages to its customers without the valid consent required by law.
The ICO received 15 complaints from Papa John’s customers about the unwanted marketing they were receiving by text and email. The complaints noted the distress and annoyance the messages were causing.
“I never gave my consent for marketing text messages, it causes me distress receiving these so frequently without being able to stop them”
“Nearly a 100 messages in the past two months is the textbook definition of harassment.”
The ICO’s subsequent investigation found that between 1 October 2019 and 30 April 2020, Papa John’s sent over 210,000 marketing messages with 168,022 confirmed as received.
The ICO investigation found that Papa John’s was relying on the ‘soft opt in’ exemption for marketing consent. This exemption allows organisations to send electronic marketing messages to customers whose details have been obtained for similar services, but offers a simple way for people to refuse or opt out. The ICO ruled that Papa John’s could not rely on this exemption for customers that had placed an order over the telephone, as they were not provided with a privacy notice at point of contact nor were they given the option to opt out.
Andy Curry, ICO Head of Investigations said:
“The law is clear and simple. When relying on the ‘soft opt in’ exemption companies must ensure they have their customer’s consent, and any marketing they send provides a simple opt out option. Papa John’s telephone customers were not given the opportunity to refuse marketing at the point of contact, which has led to this fine.
“We will continue to take action against companies who may be gaining unfair advantage over those companies that adhere to the law and comply with electronic marketing law”.
The laws governing electronic marketing are contained in the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.