Companies fined for sending 'spam' texts

The Carphone Warehouse company was today fined €6,000 for sending unsolicited “spam” marketing text messages to two customers.

The phone chain, along with Valterous Ltd, trading as the Therapie Clinic, are the latest firms to be successfully prosecuted at Dublin District Court by the office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

The case was taken after the watchdog received complaints from members of the public about being contacted for marketing purposes and the companies pleaded guilty to breaking data protection regulations.

Assistant Data Protection Commissioner Tony Delaney told prosecution solicitor Sophie More-O'Ferrall that in March last year a man had received two promotional texts from the Carphone Warehouse company.

He had previously been a customer but had opted out of getting marketing messages.

In February, March and April last year, another customer also got three promotional messages from the company despite having opted out from being contacted for marketing purposes.

He told the data protection agency that he had tried to contact the company but when he called them, he faced “more promotional junk”.

Judge John O'Neill heard that since then the company has not conducted this type of marketing.

The court heard that Carphone Warehouse, which pleaded guilty to five charges today, had been fined €2,500 in 2012 for sending unsolicited marketing emails to customers.

Judge O'Neill imposed convictions and fines totalling €6,000 on the Carphone Warehouse company for the latest offences and he ordered that the money must be paid within three months.

He also imposed fines totalling €3,000 on Valterous Ltd trading as the Therapie Clinic, a family-run firm specialising in luxury beauty and skin treatment, after it too admitted sending unsolicited promotional texts to two women.

Mr Delaney told Judge O'Neill that Therapie Clinic, which has a business address at Holles Street in Dublin, had been fined €3,000 in 2012 for similar offences.

He also said that if it continues the office of the Data Protection Commissioner will prosecute the directors of the company for negligence.

Their lawyer said that the company will transferring its technological service provider.

Judge O'Neill heard that their two data breaches occurred as a result of separate databases at two of Therapie's clinics in Dublin.

He noted that they are at “last chance saloon” and its directors could be prosecuted if there are further data protection breaches but also said he took into consideration that it is a young business with 100 employees.

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