Amex Fined After Sending Over Four Million Spam Emails
American Express has been fined by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for sending out over four million spam emails, becoming the latest big-name brand to receive a fine from the data protection regulator. The company has been fined £90,000 for the emails, which were marketing messages. The ICO alleges that its investigation into the incident began after it received complaints from customers who claimed to have opted out of receiving marketing messages. Amex disputed the claims, stating that the emails pertained to servicing rather than marketing. The context of the emails included how to get the most out of your card, information on the rewards of shopping online with Amex, and instructions on how to download the firm’s app.
The ICO claims that four million of the 50 million emails distributed as part of the campaign were a deliberate act for financial gain, therefore constituting a marketing effort. Amex decided not to review its marketing model despite the customer complaints. The fine was issued under the UK’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, which prohibits organizations from sending marketing emails to individuals unless they have freely consented.