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Argos and Virgin Media among companies prosecuted for wrongly sending marketing texts, calls and emails

Argos was ordered to pay €5,000 to charity.

Argos was ordered to pay €5,000 to charity.
Argos was ordered to pay €5,000 to charity.
Image: John Stillwell/PA Archive/PA Images

THE DATA PROTECTION Commissioner (DPC) has welcomed the outcome of a series of prosecutions taken against a number of companies.

These prosecutions included cases against Argos, Virgin Media and EZ Living Furniture.

On Friday, Argos Distributors (Ireland) Ltd pleaded guilty at Navan District Court to five charges of sending unsolicited marketing emails to five individuals without consent. In lieu of a conviction and fine, the court ordered the defendant to contribute €5,000 to a charity of the Court’s choosing.

Earlier this month, the DPC brought cases against a number of other businesses. On 3 July in Dublin District Court, Virgin Media pleaded guilty to two charges of making unsolicited marketing telephone calls to a customer after she notified the company that she did not wish to receive such calls.

The Court convicted the company on both charges and it imposed fines of €1,500 and €1,000 respectively on the charges.

On the same day at the same court, the company which owns River Medical pleaded guilty to two charges of sending unsolicited marketing emails to an individual without consent.

The Court sought the payment of €800 in the form of a charitable donation to Focus Ireland in lieu of a conviction and fine.

On 4 July, two companies were convicted at Galway District Court.

EZ Living Furniture pleaded guilty to two charges of sending unsolicited marketing text messages to a former customer without consent and Cunniffe Electric Limited entered a guilty plea for the sending of an unsolicited marketing text message without consent to a former customer. The Court convicted EZ Living and imposed fines of €500 on each of the two charges.

Cunniffe was asked to pay €500 to the court poor box.

Assistant Data Protection Commissioner, Tony Delaney, who gave evidence to the courts in all cases said:

Over the past two weeks we have successfully prosecuted companies for sending unsolicited marketing emails, unsolicited marketing text messages and for making unsolicited marketing phone calls without consent. As these proceedings demonstrate, we are actively prosecuting entities which breach the marketing regulations and we will continue to do so.

Those engaged in electronic marketing activities should take note of the consequences which may arise if they breach the regulations. It is critical that before they embark on electronic marketing campaigns, companies carry out robust testing and checks to ensure that they have valid and up-to-date consent of the individuals on their marketing lists and that their opt-out mechanisms are fully functional.”

Read: An Post can’t say how it got a woman’s data to send out a TV licence

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