Royal Mail Group has been handed a £12,000 fine by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) after sending more than 300,000 nuisance emails.

The ICO said the company sent emails to 327,014 people who had already opted out of receiving direct marketing on two dates in July 2017.

The emails outlined a price drop for parcels, but the company did not have the recipients’ consent to send them.

An investigation was launched following a complaint from a member of the public.

"Royal Mail did not follow the law on direct marketing when it sent such a huge volume of emails, because the recipients had already clearly expressed they did not want to receive them," said Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at ICO.

"These rules are there for a reason - to protect people from the irritation and, on occasions, distress nuisance emails cause. I hope this sends the message that we will take action against companies who flout them."

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During the investigation, Royal Mail claimed the emails were a service rather than marketing; informing customers of a price drop. However, the commissioner found that the emails sent constituted marketing and not simply a service message.

GDPR will replace the Data Protection Act on May 25th, 2018. The new law will transform the way companies can collect and use personal data with maximum fines for offenders being a massive €20m or 4 per cent of the company's global annual turnover.

UKFast is also hosting a conference on the subject entitled GDPR Unlocked: Steps towards data compliance on May 3rd. You can book your tickets for that event here.