Firms could be fined up to £500,000 for spam texts and cold calls

Firms that send spam texts or conduct cold calls which cause consumers to become annoyed, inconvenienced or anxious could be fined as much as £500,000 under new rules.

Culture secretary, Sajid Javid, claims that current regulations allow firms to get away with irritating consumers because the text messages or cold calls do not cause “enough harm”. Therefore, the Information Commissioner’s Office is unable to prove that substantial damage or distress has been caused by the messages and calls, so firms go unpunished, reports bbc.co.uk.

“Being called day after day may not be ‘substantially distressing’, but that doesn’t make it acceptable,” Mr Javid said. “I want to make it easier for companies to face the consequences of ignoring the law and subjecting us to calls or texts we have said we don’t want.”

Simon Hughes, justice and civil liberties minister, added that unwanted marketing calls and texts can “bring real misery” to those having to receive them every day, reports thedrum.com.

“This government has already increased the level of fine available to punish rogue companies and now we want to make it easier to stamp it out by lowering the threshold for taking action against these companies so the information commissioner can move more quickly,” he stated.

The comments highlight the importance of adopting good practice when it comes to SMS marketing, with thoughtful and targeted campaigns more likely to be successful.

The government consultation on nuisance calls and texts will continue until December 7.