I'm sure that a fine of £50,000 will be a strong disincentive to everyone out there thinking about sending unwanted emails. (Not)
(What a pathetically small amount of money for a such a large company to pay for breaking the law.)
British telco Virgin Media is facing a £50k financial penalty after spamming more than 400,000 opted-out customers urging them to sign back up to receive marketing bumf. Just one customer complained to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) about receiving the spam – but that was enough to spur the regulator into …
The problem is that there isn't a per email/call statutory damge and small claims judges might decide to start bouncing claims
This is where things like the USA TCPA won. It made refusal of small claims filings impossible and the judges who tried to bounced things got spanked hard by higher courts
I've been leeched by VM for many years but I have finally broken free. Though I must say the experience of ending the contract was far, far, far _worse_ than I feared - and I'm a pessimist. Basically, they're the most horrible company to part with I have experienced in my whole life, and that's about 30 years' of experience.
Though I must say the experience of ending the contract was far, far, far _worse_ than I feared - and I'm a pessimist
Try being a business customer - it's even worse. Not only were they terrible about actually fixing stuff but they continued to bill us for discontinued circuits - and because their reporting was minimal and dire, we didn't notice at first.
When we did notice we tried to get them to fix the issue but got nowhere. Because we were really busy, we ended up getting a contractor in for 6 months to crunch through the circuits and reports.
We then presented the evidence to them - and nothing happened. We eventually got our Nazgul involved and, amazingly, the threat of a very public lawsuit actually got them to repay the overcharges (plus extra to cover the cost of the contractor).
I'll never willingly do business with them again.
 Their initial excuse? "You didn't tell us to stop charging you when you requested the circuit cancellation". One of the points that the lawyers made to them was that the charging for the circuit is inextricably linked to the provision of the circuit and, when one ceases, the other automatically should.
And yet, the most annoying Spam I had on my o2 account and gmail accounts in the last year that pissed me off the most (it did genuinely psss me off), was from the UK Government regarding Covid. Spammed both my gmail and my o2 text messages with absolutely no authority to do so.*
*Another case of, one rule for them, a different rule for everyone else.
Still, enjoy it while you can, they're rewriting UK Privacy laws and #hashtags Amber Rudd "real people don't care about privacy/encryption' could be in charge now, if things had gone differently.+
+And no, we're not sneering, just highlighting technical incompetence Amber, nothing more.
Whilst I agree that would be a discouragement - VM and it's board/CEO are legally separate people, it's fairly essential to how all business work really.
There's circumstances where that line gets blurred, but generally that requires deliberate malfeasance on the part of the people concerned which would be almost impossible to ascertain in this case unless there's an email floating around from the CEO saying "I'm Commander Shepherd and this is my favourite spam email campaign on the Citadel"*.
Which is fairly unlikely.
*Incriminating email could take a different form to the example.
so, IT WORKS! Those 6.5K people are likely to convert into paying customers (I mean, why else would you opt into receive spam?) and they'll be milked for years. 50K is just a business cost (and practically nil to VM). Yet another great example of deterrent power wielded by the ICO. NOT.
" our latest TV, broadband, phone and mobile news, competitions, product and bundle offers "
If I could be sure that VM would just let me know when they have a better offer than the one I'm already receiving I'd accept that specific communication. Though that would still be never, because they notoriously reserve their best deals for new customers, by a great distance. They being bait and switch merchants above all. Headline short term deals with small print real prices. I'm with VM. I like their 200Mb service and my anytime landline calls etc.
But I've been on a monthly rolling contract for over a year or even two. Because if they want to get me back on a year's contract they can bloody well give me the same deal as any other new contract.
And if I see a package I like better I'll switch away from them.
I'm sure the fine will be paid promptly. Plain biscuits instead of choccy on the tea trolley for a couple of weeks should save enough cash. Then they can get down to apologising for their misdeed. A quick email to say sorry to all concerned and explain they only did it because their marketing emails really are too good to miss out on.
Should have been higher. Much higher. I f'in hate all forms of marketing and this is taking the piss.
If I opt out of receiving marketing shite it's because I don't f'in want to receive marketing shite
I'm not entirely surprised though because I think other companies sometimes fire off an 'accidental' email just to test the waters. I'm always very, very careful to click/unclick the appropriate checkbox when signing up yet still get sporadic crap.
"If I opt out of receiving marketing shite it's because I don't f'in want to receive marketing shite"
These days it's illegal to be "opt out" - it has to be "opt in" from the outset
I think they're finding it harder and harder to dump shite on people, especially with recent rulings also banning marketing crap in paper billing communications if people haven't opted into it
There's a rather good descriptive word for deliberately annoying layouts used in the use of opt-out dialog boxes, where the programmers deliberately add difficulty to their design and use, spread things across screens, to make it harder to opt out.
The word was mentioned/highlighted on El-Reg sometime back, but I've forgotten it.
Even Google's latest privacy check-up (pretty sure, approved by the EU), 6 box layout and confirm, is still annoying as hell because to customize the choices, it requires the use of the scroll bar to scroll down to confirm selections on most laptop screens. It's not as though that couldn't be three clicks in a much smaller area without all the naff clip-art.
In other words, it's still far more clicks and mouse movements than it ought to be.
Like a lot of posters before me, I am fed up of the usual small fine handed out to cunts like these along with the protracted appeals system that cost the taxpayer much more than the treasury ever get back.
Time to put proper fines in place as a disincentive. If the governmernt or their toothless agencies can not do so then let me do it. I will probably charge less and get a billion times more into the treasury as, to be fair, would most normal people if asked to deal with the problem.
I can not begin to count the number of shithole companies that I have unfortunately had to register an email address with in order to get something done or a problem sorted and no ammount of 'unsubscribe' or ticking of the relevant boxes will stop the fuckers from sending emails several times a week as, according to their twisted view of the world, we have a ''relationship''.
Sadly, nothing will change. Roll on Covid-22 and hopefully it will wipe out humanity as it is beyond repair.
Apart from that, have a nice weekend. Unless you are one of the spamming cunts, in which case, fuck off and die.
In real terms the fine will just be slapped on consumer bills. The problem of how to regulate and incentivise a telco is not a unique one, but has not gone away.
I'd say competition is the answer; but somehow I don't think having dozens of fibre networks with competing roadworks to install/maintain is a winner!
One might even say like a number of other utilities central planning might be a useful tool; were it to be kept within reasonable checks and balances.
I opted out of marketing communications from Virgin Media several years ago. They would only call my mobile when I was at work. They were so desperate to market to me that multiple call centre agents on bad quality lines that I couldn't understand would call simultaneously. They would also ask me to verify my password, despite me not being able to verify who they were. I wouldn't mind receiving marketing material by post, but they don't offer any granularity. These days I just ring them up whenever they want to put the price up and see what deals are available.