The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Halfords £30,000 for breaking the law regarding nuisance marketing. In July 2020, the retailer sent 498,179 emails to people regarding a “Fix Your Bike” government voucher scheme.
The marketing email encouraged recipients to book a free bicycle assessment. They could then redeem a £50 government voucher towards the cost of repairs at its stores. Halfords tried to argue the “legitimate interest” defense to explain why they had emailed so many without their informed consent. However, “legitimate interest” was not applicable in this case as the email clearly advertised a service provided by the company that they would generate income from.
Head of investigations for the regulator, Andy Curry, confirmed that it is against the law in the UK to send marketing emails or texts to people without their permission.
“Not only this, it is a violation of their privacy rights as well as being frustrating and downright annoying. Halfords are a household name and we expect companies like them to know and act better,” he added.