1. The Defendant is Financial Lead Generation LLP, The Maltings, 54 Bath Street, Gravesend, Kent, DA11 0DF.
2. The Defendant also trades as Advertising Excellence and uses the two names interchangeably. The two organisations are run by the same people at the same address and are registered as being the same organisation in the Data Protection Register (Z9719366).
Their web page is
3. In October and November 2012 the Claimant received the following unsolicited text messages advertising debt and pension services:
28/10/12 : “Due to existing legislation, your records show you can have up to 70% of debt written off & lower your monthly re-payments. To get free info reply DEBT”
14/11/12 : “Due to new legislation, records indicate you are eligible to lower your monthly payments & write off UP TO 75% of your debts. Text DEBT for info STOP to opt out”
15/11/12 : “Unlock cash NOW from your frozen pension! To get a minimum of £2000 text CASH to find out more or DECLINE to remove.”
4. For each of the messages above the Claimant phoned the number the text came from to contact the sender, but in each case the number would not accept incoming calls. In order to trace the senders the Claimant replied to each of the text messages.
5. A company identifying themselves as Fairline Financial phoned the Claimant in response to the reply to one of the two debt relief text messages detailed above (most likely the one on the 14th as the response was only 6 hours after the SMS reply). The Claimant requested that they provide the contact details of the broker who had sold them the Claimant’s phone number.
6. Fairline Financial responded with details, supplied by the Defendant, supposedly giving the date, time and location of when the Claimant had “opted-in” to their adverts:
This data is forged. The Claimant had never visited this web site prior to the text messages, nor has he has ever purchased any subscription to “Grants Online. The fact that the data is forged has also been confirmed by the owner of the Grants Online web page.
Note that even if the opt-in data were genuine the text message would still have violated the SMS marketing regulations, as shown in point 13.
7. After a receiving a Subject Access Request (SAR) , as per the Data Protection Act 1998, from the Claimant Fairline Financial responded by identifying the Defendant as the source of the text message.
8. Separately, in November 2012 the Claimant received a phone call from Zebra Money Management regarding pension services in response to the pension services text message. The Claimant requested the identity of the broker who sold them the phone number, but they declined to respond.
9. In December 2012 the Claimant raised a complaint about Zebra Money Management with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as the text messages were unsolicited, anonymous and appeared to contain false advertising.
The ASA replied stating that Zebra Money Management had identified the Defendant as the source of the unsolicited text message. This fact was confirmed by the Defendant to the ASA.
10. On the 12th December 2012 the Claimant sent a Subject Access Request to the Defendant asking where they obtained the Claimant’s details and to whom they had sold them on to.
11. On the 7th, 8th and 9th January 2013 the Claimant phoned the Defendant once per day to try to lodge a complaint about the text messages and to find out where they had obtained the phone number as the SAR had not been answered.
The first two calls were not returned as promised, but on the 9th January the Claimant received a phone call from the Defendant confirming that they had sent unsolicited text messages to the Claimant and that they would provide the contact details of the broker who supplied the details.
12. On the 11th January 2013 the Defendant responded to the Subject Access Request by text message to inform the Claimant that they had bought the phone number from a Mr Robert Stephenson and gave partial contact details, but omitted the house number thus making the contact details unusable. No information was given as to which companies had been sold the data, so the SAR was not fully answered.
13. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR) section 22 specifies a narrow set of circumstances where commercial E-mail or text message adverts can be sent.
The text messages sent by the Defendant do not meet those criteria as the Claimant is not a previous customer of the Defendant, Fairline Financial nor Zebra Money Management. Nor was the Defendant identified in the text messages as required by section 23 of the aforementioned regulations.
14. On the 25th February the Claimant wrote to Defendant to offer to settle out of court for £300 to the charity “Children in Need”. The Claimant also requested that the Subject Access Request be answered in full. The offer to settle out of court was declined on the 14th March.
15. In response to the SAR the Defendant told the ICO that they did not have full contact details of the broker who sold them the Claimant’s details. In their defence statement to the court they state: “Whenever we have an enquiry regarding the opt in nature of the data itself we forward to the data supplier directly” and said they did this for my enquiry.
16. An assessment from the ICO received 13th June included the statement “Advertising excellence has assured us that it has not passed your data to third party companies.”. The assessment was later overturned when was pointed out that personal data was known to have been sold to Fairline Financial and Zebra Money Management.
17. The Claimant has been forced to reduce the utility and enjoyment of his phone with call blocking and spam filters due to the volume of unsolicited adverts received on said phone. The Defendant’s failure to provide the contact details of the broker selling the Claimant’s personal details has ensured that these adverts cannot be stopped.
18. In sending unsolicited text messages, the Defendant was in breach of a statutory duty and/or negligent, in that:
(a) The Defendant sent unsolicited texts either knowing that the Claimant had not given his informed consent to the storing and/or processing of his personal data for such purposes, or was reckless as to whether such consent had been given.
(b) The Defendant processed the Defendant’s Personal Data in contravention of the Data Protection Principles. In particular the Defendant has no legitimate reason for acquiring, storing or processing Personal Data relating to the Claimant
(c) The Defendant’s text messages were sent from anonymous phone numbers which did not receive incoming phone calls, and the sender was not identified in the text messages as required by regulation.
(d) The Defendant was negligent and/or reckless in that they purchased personal data from a broker not registered on the Data Protection Register. This register can easily be checked online.
19. The Claimant claims damages:
(a) For the time, money and effort spent in tracking down the defendant to request that they cease sending adverts, and to obtain the contact details of the broker who sold them the claimant's personal details. This effort would not have been necessary if the Defendant had followed the relevant laws and regulations.
(b) As an example to discourage this intrusive and illegal marketing technique.