|That the individuals concerned deliberately flouted the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations is not in doubt. The Commissioner’s arguments in respect of the damage and distress caused are informative.
- That although the distress / annoyance caused by each individual SMS sents is small, because of the number of messages sent by Niebel and McNiesh, the cumulative distress suffered by “huge numbers of individuals” equates to substantial distress. It will be interesting to see if this is argued in Mr Nielbel’s appeal to the Information Tribunal (EA/2012/0260).
- Some recipients were overseas at the time messages were sent, so had to pay their mobile telecommunications provider additional fees for receiving these SMSs when overseas, resulting in real monetary damage.
- People receiving emails about an accident claim may worry about other family members, and such messages also had the potential to be disturbing to people who had been involved in accidents.
- The wording used had the potential to cause distress by raising false expectations, e.g. “we know how much you are owed” and “You are almost certainly entitled to £2,300.”