A food delivery service has been fined £140,000 for a “seven-month spam campaign involving 79 million emails and one million texts”.
Customers were also not given enough information that their data would be used for marketing for up to 24 months after canceling their subscription, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said.
HelloFresh fined for ‘7-month spam campaign’
The ICO launched its investigation in March 2022 following 14 complaints made directly to the regulator and 8,729 to the spam reporting service 7726.
The investigation found that the company continued to make contact with some individuals even after it was asked to stop.
Andy Curry, head of investigations at the ICO, said: “This is a clear breach of public trust by HelloFresh.
“Customers were not told exactly what they were opting for, nor was it clear how to opt out. From there, they were hit with an avalanche of marketing texts they didn’t want or expect, and in some cases, even when HelloFresh was told to stop, the flood continued.
“By issuing this fine, we show that we will take clear and decisive measures where we find that the law has not been followed. We will always protect the right of customers to choose how their data is used.
“The investigation that led to this penalty was launched following complaints from the public to both the ICO and the 7726 service. This demonstrates how important it is to report any nuisance calls, texts or email.”
HelloFresh first arrived in the UK in 2012 and allows its customers to choose from dozens of recipe options each week, from 10-minute “super quick” meals to vegetarian dishes and more.
Meals are portioned based on how many people you choose to cook for and delivered directly to your door instead of having to go to the supermarket to get the ingredients.
A spokesperson for HelloFresh said: “Customers are at the heart of everything we do and we take our data protection obligations very seriously.
“Of the emails sent, the ICO has received only three complaints.
“We have been working closely with the ICO, carefully considering their feedback and making changes to our SMS and email policy.”