Recipe-in-a-box retailer HelloFresh has been slapped with a £140,000 fine by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for sending millions of spam emails and texts.
The ICO said it had handed down its fine to HelloFresh following an investigation that began in March 2022, following complaints made to the regulator.
It said HelloFresh sent 79 million spam emails and 1 million spam texts to unwitting customers between August 2021 and February 2022.
The watchdog said these emails and texts were based on an opt-in statement “which did not make any reference to the sending of marketing via text” and, while there was a reference to email marketing “this was included in an age confirmation statement which was likely to unfairly incentivise customers to agree”.
ICO head of investigations Andy Curry said: “This marked a clear breach of trust of the public by HelloFresh. Customers weren’t told exactly what they’d be opting into, nor was it clear how to opt out. From there, they were hit with a barrage of marketing texts they didn’t want or expect and, in some cases, even when they told HelloFresh to stop, the deluge continued.
“In issuing this fine, we are showing that we will take clear and decisive action where we find 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 fine began following complaints filed by the public, both to the ICO and to the 7726 service [run by Ofcom]. This shows just how important it is that if you are being contacted with nuisance calls, texts or emails that you report it straight away.”
HelloFresh was approached for comment.