The UK data regulator has fined American Express (Amex) £90,000 for sending over 4 million spam emails to customers within one year.
“During the investigation the ICO found that Amex had sent over 50 million, of what it classed as, servicing emails to its customers,” the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said.
“The ICO revealed that for nearly 12 months, between 1 June 2018 and 21 May 2019, 4,098,841 of those emails were marketing emails, designed to encourage customers to make purchases on their cards which would benefit Amex financially.”
Amex’s argument that they were servicing emails designed to inform their customers of ongoing campaigns was deemed groundless by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
As the data regulator discovered, complaints showed the messages were instead direct marketing emails sent to customers who opted out.
The company also rejected the complaints and decided not to review its marketing model, considering that the marketing emails were a requirement of Credit Agreements with customers.
“Our investigation was initiated from just a handful of complaints from customers, tired of being interrupted with emails they did not want to receive,” added Andy Curry, ICO Head of Investigations.
“I would encourage all companies to revisit their procedures and familiarise themselves with the differences between a service email and a marketing email, and ensure their email communications with customers are compliant with the law.”