Comparison website Moneysupermarket.com has been fined £80,000 for sending millions of unsolicited emails to customers.
According to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the company sent approximately seven million of emails over a 10-day period to update customers on its terms and conditions. However, all the customers who were contacted had previously opted out of receiving direct market.
The ICO said on Friday (21 July) that the emails included a section entitled "Preference Centre Update", which asked customers whether they wanted to reconsider their preferences in terms of being contacted via email.
"We hold an email address for you which means we could be sending you personalised news, products and promotions," the emails, which were sent between 30 November and 10 December last year read.
"You've told us in the past you prefer not to receive these. If you'd like to reconsider, simply click the following link to start receiving our emails."
However, the ICO ruled that by getting in touch with customers who had already opted against receiving emails, the company was breaching the law.
"When people opt out of direct marketing, organisations must stop sending it, no questions asked, until such time as the consumer gives their consent," said Steve Eckersley, the ICO's head of enforcement. "They don't get a chance to persuade people to change their minds."
Moneysupermarket.com ignored the rules by sending emails to customers "under the guise of 'customer service', checking or seeking their consent", he continued.
"We will continue to take action against companies that choose to ignore the rules," Exckersley added.