ICO fines Amex for direct marketing messaging without consent

The ICO has fined American Express Services Europe Limited for sending, or instigating the sending of, over 4 million direct marketing messages over the period of a year, for which subscribers had not provided consent.  Complaints related to a range of communications and, on investigation, the ICO found that 7.5m emails had been sent on 9 subject matters, of which 4m went to recipients who had opted out.  Amex’s stance was that the emails were not marketing, but were rather servicing and related emails, designed to help customers get the best out of their card. Amex had considered marketing emails to be those “providing customers with information in relation to extra products or services, or to renew contracts that are coming to an end”, and “servicing” emails as those where “we feel Card Members would be at a disadvantage if they were not aware of these campaigns and promotional periods.

ICO imposed a fine of £90,000.

Emma Radmore