A finance brokerage firm has been fined £40,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office for sending more than 44,000 spam text messages in just three months.

Monevo Limited, based in Macclesfield, Cheshire, sent the unsolicited messages promoting loans, but did so without permission.

The law says that businesses must have obtained specific consent confirming people are willing to receive marketing texts from, or on behalf of, their firm.

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ICO Head of Enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “Nobody wants to be bombarded with text messages they didn’t agree to receive.

“That’s why the law is clear.

"Businesses must be able to confirm that people have given their permission to receive text messages or emails - and they must have the evidence to prove it.”

An ICO investigation, prompted by 130 complaints from the public between April and June 2016, revealed Monevo’s telemarketing affiliate had obtained the personal details used to send the messages from competition and money saving websites.

The privacy notices on those websites were generic and unspecific, for example noting that data collected would be shared with unspecified third parties ranging from home improvement companies to health and beauty services.

None of these sites indicated the data would be used for sending marketing text messages from Monevo.

Eckersley added: “It is not acceptable to rely on assurances given by suppliers.

“Businesses need to make rigorous checks that personal data used on their behalf is used fairly and lawfully, and must be certain that they have the necessary consent.”

Mobile phone users can report the receipt of unsolicited marketing text messages to the GSMA’s Spam Reporting Service by forwarding the message to 7726 (spelling out “SPAM”).

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide and the ICO is provided with access to the data on complaints made to the 7726 service.