Amex fined £ 90,000 for sending 4million unsolicited marketing emails

Digital bank

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said American Express claimed the emails were for “maintenance”, but in fact for marketing purposes.

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American Express was fined £ 90,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for sending more than four million marketing emails to customers who did not want to receive them.

Andy Curry, ICO’s head of investigations, said the emails all clearly contained marketing material as they sought to persuade and encourage customers to use their cards to make purchases.

“Amex’s arguments, which included, that customers would be at a disadvantage if they were unaware of the campaigns, and that email was a requirement of its credit agreements with customers, were without merit.”

The ICO said it began investigating the credit card giant following complaints it received from Amex customers receiving marketing emails despite their unsubscribing, a violation of UK law.

“Our investigation was started with a handful of complaints from customers tired of being interrupted by emails they didn’t want to receive. I encourage all businesses to review their procedures and familiarize themselves with the differences between a service email and a marketing email, and to ensure that their email communications with customers comply with the law, ”Curry said.

The emails contained details of the benefits of shopping online with Amex and encouraged customers to download the Amex app.

During the investigation, the ICO found that Amex had sent more than 50 million of what it characterized as service emails to its customers.

The ICO revealed that for nearly 12 months, between June 1, 2018 and May 21, 2019, 4,098,841 of those emails were marketing emails, designed to encourage customers to make purchases on their cards, which which would financially benefit Amex.

It was a deliberate action for financial gain on the part of the organization. Amex has also not revised its marketing model following customer complaints.

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