back to article 'Millions' of spammy emails with no opt-out? That'll cost you $650K, Experian

Experian has agreed to cough up $650,000 after being accused of spamming people with no opt-out button. That sum will hardly be felt by the credit-reporting giant as its profits totaled $1.1 billion last year. The penalty stems from a complaint filed against it by the US Department of Justice on behalf of the Federal Trade …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    How about a simple rule - if you don't admit the offence the penalty is an order of magnitude greater.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No. The base fine should be $10 per spammy message. If you fight it in court, and lose, that number is multiplied by 10. So if you send 3M spam emails, your fine is $30M. If you fight it in court, and lose, your fine will be $300M.

    2. Cheshire Cat

      Just make it so that the C-suite at the time of the incident are PERSONALLY liable. Then it would NEVER happen.

  2. Ball boy Silver badge

    A 'business cost' of 0.06% of their profits?

    Yep, that'll definitely scare every C-suite into thinking twice before firing off marketing campaigns won't it?


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    These clowns are about as likeable as cancer

    Their whole industry is based around extortion and exploiting peoples identity info. The credit score they peddle is snake oil and literally punishes consumers for shopping around for a better deal. It's used without sound justification as a gate keeper to discriminate against people applying for housing, which is pre-paid and not based on credit, and in no way verifies their income or ability to pay. Yet whole industries use it as a proxy for a persons basic worth as a person.

    Also maddeningly it's the main tool used to justify charging poor people more than rich people for the same good or service, which ought to also be illegal.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: These clowns are about as likeable as cancer

      Well said.

      I'm amazed what they do is legal.

      1. TonyJ

        Re: These clowns are about as likeable as cancer

        And worse - have you seen the snake oil that is their "credit boost"? Let us have access to your bank accounts and we will boost your credit score.

        But... of course... the bit they don't like people to know is that beyond an automated "this person generally appears credit worthy" any lender will do their own scoring based on their own algorithms, so the score itself is bullshit.

        Oh and of course, you can't get the "boost" unless you already subscribe... subscribe to what??

        I am old enough to remember when, if you wanted say a mortgage, you went and spoke to your bank manager. But back then of course, we had things like bank branches and managers who knew their customers.

        And the problem is, the very people that they prey on are the ones who are least likely to need or want their "services" to begin with. Bastards.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: These clowns are about as likeable as cancer

          That's why we banked with a large, but local, credit union when we lived in the Stately Manor, and now at the Mountain Fastness with a local bank. They do know who we are, and often whom we're dealing with.

          Retail banking has very tight margins, so large commercial banks will trim their operations as much as possible. That's not good for consumers.

  4. Lil Endian Silver badge

    Grow Up Experispam

    Although we disagree with the FTC's allegations...

    Let's see... From the DoJ filing:

    These emails violate CAN-SPAM by failing to provide (1) clear and conspicuous notice of consumers’ ability to request to opt out of receiving further marketing messages and (2) a mechanism for them to do so.

    So, you're implying you did provide notification and ability to opt out? No, wait. You mean you disagree like a five year old disagrees with a parent about tidying their bedroom.

    PS. You tried too hard on the clever acronym thing Capitol Hill: CAN-SPAM literally says spam-away!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CAN-SPAM Act?? hahahahahahaha what a JOKE !

    Why oh why, is there a CAN-SPAM Act?...where you have to CONFIRM to a potential spammer that your email address is REAL and that you don't want their junk they can then monetise this and sell your real email address on to other spammers, who target you and when you try to unsubscribe from them, you re-inforce the fact that the email address is real.

    And so it goes on. And on. And on.

    Seems to me that with all the website hacking going on as well as idiots sending out names/address databases from the likes of UK police forces and even councils, that there should be a better way of a) stopping spammers from plaguing you in the first place and b) ensuring that any database details cannot be easily exported or hacked.

    We've surely got the tech to do this, if only someone could be "bovvered".

    1. Diogenes8080

      Re: CAN-SPAM Act?? hahahahahahaha what a JOKE !

      I had the same low opinion of CAN-SPAM (and for the most part still do) but I did note that many of the larger grey mailers do feel obliged to include certain information in their headers. It's just a fig leaf in an intentionally obscure location; the last thing they want are actual delist requests for which they will be fined if they ignore or "forget" the feedback. However, if you are inspecting headers then you can look for those patterns and conditionally deliver their spam. It's a useful technique for senders whose ranges are too big, too dynamic or whose aggregate output is too mixed to block.

      I say "conditionally deliver" because by its nature you won't get a consistent view from your recipients. In some cases they actually want some of the spam, but more commonly you will find the grey mailer's own customers mixing transactional and bulk in the same workload. Any internal mass mailing your own organisation commissions from the mailer (without telling you, naturally) is also going to get the same verdict.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: CAN-SPAM Act?? hahahahahahaha what a JOKE !

      I note that Microsoft do filter out a fair bit of spam* to Hotmail etc addresses. Maybe they should bill the sending email providers for this and let those providers pass the charge onto their customers. It would mean billing themselves a good deal of the time which might complicate the matter.

      * Curiously they seem to go through phases of failing to filter all the Account termination notices allegedly coming from themselves.

  6. Philo T Farnsworth

    Just for reference. . .

    Experian reported revenue of over $6 billion in 2022 with a profit before tax of over $1.4 billion[1].

    Somebody pass the wrist salve. That feather slap really smarts.



  7. Potemkine! Silver badge

    An Experian spokesperson confirmed today the emails were not sent to European customers, which avoids a messy GDPR showdown

    A proof GDPR is a good deterrent and that US companies fear more European regulators than US ones.

  8. Lee D Silver badge

    Good, can they look at Santander now?

    All kinds of crap posing as "service messages".

  9. PRR Silver badge

    > we also have launched a new Email Preferences Center, found at the bottom of every marketing email communication, that goes further.

    Long ago, there was a simple process. Reply "remove" and you got off the list.

    Now I have to make an account, log into a Prefs Center, and be faced with dozens of possible lists, never any KILL ALL option.

    That's not to mention that a GMC dealer in ALASKA thinks I bought a GMC from him and it has airbags which will kill me (many car makers bought those bargain Tanaka Mexico airbags). Since I do not actually have a GMC VIN I can not make an account to remove myself. I had enuff bad airbag recall crap on a Honda which I actually did buy; I don't need it on a vehicle I don't have.

    "remove" should suffice. Anything more is harassment.

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