Prominent companies hit with fines
SEVERAL prominent companies have been admonished by the Data Protection Commissioner over sending unsolicited text messages and emails.
Many companies use text messages and emails to market their services, usually getting numbers or email addresses directly from potential customers.
However, they must allow customers to opt out of these if they so wish.
According to the commissioner's annual report, several firms were hit with fines after breaching regulations in 2013.
These included Bord Gais Eireann, which paid €750 to the St Vincent de Paul to avoid a conviction after sending emails to more than 900 customers who had previously opted out of receiving emails.
The company said the "incorrect data file" was used to send the email.
Eircom was fined €3,000 after pleading guilty to making marketing phone calls without consent.
Meteor was hit with fines totalling €9,000 over unsolicited texts.
O2 made charitable donations totalling €6,000 to avoid convictions after complaints about unsolicited texts and emails. It admitted over 78,000 customers were sent text messages in contravention of their marketing preferences.
Vodafone made €12,000 worth of donations to avoid a conviction over unsolicited phone calls and texts.
Four Star Pizza admitted it had not obtained formal consent to send messages and it pleaded guilty to six charges at Dublin District Court. A donation of €4,000 was made to Temple Street Children's Hospital in lieu of a conviction.