Halfords fined for 498,000 marketing emails

The ICO has announced that Halfords Limited has been fined £30,000 for sending 498,179 unsolicited marketing emails to people without their consent.

In July 2020, Halfords sent a direct marketing email in connection with the UK governments “Fix your Bike” voucher scheme. It seems that not only did Halfords encourage people to book a free bike assessment and redeem the voucher at their local store (hence marketing their services), but they relied on the lawful basis of legitimate interests, which the ICO found invalid.

So why might this be a warning to our charities? Well, it is connected with the idea of ‘soft opt in’ and when that can lawfully be used. And of course, the draft Data Protection and Digital Information Bill would make ‘soft opt in’ available to charities and other non-profits.

We will keep you updated about the passage of the Bill and its implications for charities, but be cautious if you hear that ‘soft opt in’ means you can email people without consent – it is not as simple as that.

You can read the full ICO ruling at https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/media-centre/news-and-blogs/2022/09/halfords-fined-for-sending-nearly-500-000-unwanted-marketing-emails/ and if you want to get a head start on understanding how this potential law change may affect your charity, you are welcome to get in touch in any of the normal ways, use https://zorva.info/about-us/contact-us/ or by booking a 20-minute insight call at https://zorva.info/free-insight-call/ (for TinoPai members, but it’s free to join and you get lots of other benefits including free live and on-demand webinars).