Spam and e-marketing complaints rise by 43% in the UK

A person uses a laptop keyboard Most complaints about e-marketing were made "too early", the ICO said

Related Stories

Complaints about spam and other unsolicited electronic marketing in the UK jumped 43% last year, says the Information Commissioner's Office.

The ICO says it received 7,095 complaints in the year to March.

However, none of the cases have resulted in fines or other punishments for the companies involved.

The ICO told the BBC its new powers would mean more effective enforcement in future.

In January, it was granted power to fine companies up to £500,000 for significant offences.

"It has proved difficult in the past for the ICO to get the information needed from telecommunications providers to allow us to sufficiently investigate spam texts and calls," a spokesman said.

"We are now using these powers to identify the companies we believe are responsible for making unlawful marketing calls and sending out spam text messages.

"The powers have already enabled us to gather sufficient evidence to identify several companies we believe are linked to the sending of 100,000's spam texts and we have carried out raids on premises linked to these companies unlawful activities."

'Made too early'

The ICO, which is tasked with helping the public understand and protect their use of personal data, introduced a web-based complaints form in an attempt to make it simpler for consumers to report concerns.

The most complaints received related to automated phone calls (35%), unwanted text messages (29%), live phone calls (19%) and email (14%).

However the office's annual report revealed that of the complaints made only 11% were considered for investigation.

The majority - 60% - were classed as "ineligible" or "made too early".

Enforcement was "not recommended" in 27% of cases. The ICO said most in this category would have been resolved informally, such as the removal of the complainant from the marketer's database.

Some companies had received "stop" notices regarding their activity, however the ICO could not confirm how many letters had been sent, nor whether they had been effective.

The ICO said there were a number of ongoing cases.

"Where we find evidence that companies are operating in breach of the regulations, we will take action and our new powers will help us to achieve this," the spokesman added.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Technology stories

RSS

Features

  • Cesc FabregasFair price?

    Have some football clubs overpaid for their new players?


  • Woman and hairdryerBlow back

    Would banning high-power appliances actually save energy?


  • Members of staff at James Stevenson Flags hold a Union Jack and Saltire flag UK minus Scotland

    Does the rest of the UK care if the Scots become independent?


  • Women doing ice bucket challengeChill factor

    How much has the Ice Bucket Challenge achieved?


  • Women in front of Windows XP posterUpgrade angst

    Readers share their experiences of replacing their operating system


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.