The text messages to mobile users urged them to make use of the ‘My EE’ app to manage their accounts and to upgrade their phones, with a second batch of messages being sent to those who hadn’t responded to the first.
EE said it considered the texts service messages and that they were therefore not covered by direct marketing rules, but the ICO found they contained direct marketing content.
”These were marketing messages which promoted the company’s products and services,” said ICO director of investigations Andy White.
“The direct marketing guidance is clear: if a message that contains customer service information also includes promotional material to buy extra products for services, it is no longer a service message and electronic marketing rules apply.”
Companies breaching marketing rules face fines of up to £500,000.
EE said in a statement that it accepted the ICO’s ruling and would aim to improve its procedures.
“We’re committed to ensuring our customers are fully aware of their options throughout the life of their contract, and we apologise to the customers who received these messages,” EE said.
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