Fears of spam call and text boom as form has penalty overturned
Two directors of a firm which inundated millions of mobile phone owners with spam texts have had their fine overturned by a tribunal of three judges who ruled that their messages did not cause substantial distress to recipients.
The move has raised fears amongst campaigners that it signals a green light to similar firms who wish to engage in such practices, reassured that they are unlikely to face any financial penalty.
Chris Niebel and Gary McNeish, founders of Tetrus Telecoms, were raking in as much as £8k per day via unsolicited text messages offering to pursue payment protection insurance compensation for those involved in car accidents.
These activities saw the pair dealt a £440k fine from the Information Commissioners Office as part of a crackdown on the sector.
In the tribunal ruling however Judge Nicholas Warren, president of the tribunal chamber, decreed that while the firm had broken the low for financial gain it had not caused substantial distress.
David Hickson, spokesperson for the Fair Telecoms Campaign, commented: “The company clearly broke the law here yet appear to be getting off scot-free. This news will encourage firms knowing the ICO are ineffective in stopping them.
“We need the government to tighten the law on this quickly.”
The ICO has pledged to fight the ruling.