Vanquis Bank is among the latest firms to be fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for sending illegal marketing texts and emails.

The Bradford-based bank instigated a campaign to send 870,849 spam text messages and 620,000 spam emails to promote its credit cards.

According to the ICO, Vanquis obtained the marketing list from other organisations and relied on indirect consent that included non-specific, general wording such as ‘trusted parties’ and ‘carefully selected third parties’.

As a result, it has been handed a £75,000 fine and a legal notice ordering it to ensure that future practices comply with the law.

In a separate case, London-based advertising firm Xerpla has fined £50,000 by the ICO after sending nearly 1.26 million spam emails promoting products and services on behalf of other firms.

The emails were sent to people who had subscribed to two websites operated by the firm - www. yousave.co.uk and www. headsyouwin.co.uk. When subscribing to the websites people had been told their details could be shared with other organisations by way of a generic statement in a privacy policy.

The ICO says this did not legally qualify as people giving their consent to receive the messages because it was not clear and specific enough.

“There are rules in place to protect people from the irritation, and in some cases anxiety and distress, spam texts and emails cause,” ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said.

“People need to be properly informed about what they are consenting to. Telling them their details could be passed to ‘similar organisations’ or ‘selected third parties’ cannot be relied upon as specific consent.”

He added: “People were so exasperated by these messages that they complained to us. That sparked two ICO investigations and enabled us to take action and hold the firms behind this nuisance to account.

“These firms should have taken responsibility for ensuring they had obtained clear and specific consent for the sending of the messages. They didn’t and that is unacceptable.”