Thursday, 8 March 2007

Court ordered company to pay damages for a spam e-mail!

Gordon Dick, a Web Marketing specialist from Edinburgh, sued Transcom Internet Services Ltd, for having sent him a spam message, one year ago. Initially, Dick sent an e-mail to the company asking them to erase any personal data that were holding of him, or he would take legal action. Few days later, Transcom replied that the message had been sent to 41,000(!!!) recipients, (who later proved to be 72,000!!!) and they had received only 2 complaints and that the e-mail addresses were legally collected(from an Internet forum, but without Dick's-and probably no body's consent). They also challenged him to take legal action. After a year of many hearings in the Court and many delays, and having been proved that Dick's email address was illegally collected, the court rejected Transcom argument that the e-mail didn't hurt Dick financially and so the damages were unwarranted and ordered the company, last week, to pay $1,445 in damages and $1,190 in court costs. Dick said, that people nowadays do not know how to recognise spam messages and they take no action in order to protect themselves and supported his actions by asking "If someone was throwing stones through your window, would you just ignore it?". This is a radical decree nowadays that email has become such a common means for companies to communicate with a vast number of people in order to promote their products and services. Now companies should be really careful not to break Data Protection Act when choosing that tool to reach their publics, as it is estimated that if all the recipients of the certain massage had taken legal action, Transcom would have to pay million of pounds. It remains to see if that decree will have any impact, though it seems doubtful that there will be any significant decrease in the number of spams sent everyday, which for 2006 were estimated to be 62 billion!!!!

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1 comment:

Eleni Bouga, Athens, GR said...

Hi! Evi,

That’s what I call remarkable news!!

Although it took Mr. Dick quite some time to fight for the ‘obvious’ he ultimately managed to win his case and hopefully open a path for more spam-victims to follow. Nevertheless, what is surprisingly disappointing is the company’s attitude towards a future customer. In a time when companies and particularly marketing managers define business success in terms of customer-oriented strategies the least they can do is to take customer complaints seriously, not to mention that their engagement in conducting ethical business shouldn’t be an option but a reality.