I've been spammed by Action for Charity some weeks ago. I called them then, and spoke to a nice lady, who seemed to think that the worthiness of their cause outweighed the fact that they were in violation of the PEC Regulation (2003). I pointed out that no amount of worthiness should allow anyone to break the law, and that although I wasn't down on her personally, I did want them to stop spamming me. And she agreed to take me off their list. I also asked to be put on a blacklist, so that when they buy another list from another list vendor, we don't have to go through all this again. I think that requesting this has caused a number of spammers to set up what is called in the trade a "suppression list".
So I was mildly surprised (only mildly, it's happened plenty of times before that spammers continue to spam even after saying they wouldn't) when I received two more emails from them, and I phoned them up again to asked, politely, if they could kindly stop spamming me. I spoke to a nice man, who said they'd take me off their list. I also asked him where he'd gotten the list from, and he gave me a company name, which I shall not reveal for reasons you'll see soon. I'll call them Company X.
I visited that company's web site, and noticed A) they had a very strong statement of how ethical they were, and B) that they were a registered with the Direct Marketing Association. Huh.
So I called the Direct Marketing Association and gave them the details. They looked into it, and came back to me saying that Company X didn't have my email address on their lists, and hadn't sold my email address to Action for Charity.
So I phoned Action for Charity again, and left a message for the nice man I spoke to earlier. And I forwarded the email from the Direct Marketing Association to them.
Very soon, I got an email back from Action for Charity. The nice man had made a mistake, they didn't get my email address from Company X, they got it from Company Y. And the reason I'm not naming Company X, is they they seem to be innocent in this case. But the reason I'm not naming Company Y is that if the nice man from Action for Charity was mistaken once, he could be mistaken twice, especially as he also named Company Z in his email to me, and Company Z also seem to be an innocent third party - certainly Company Y say that.
Or are they? I got a spam from Company Z to another of my email addresses today. So they might be innocent in the Action for Charity case, but they're still spammers violating the PEC Regulation (2003), and I phoned them up to explain this to them.
I emailed the Direct Marketing Association to convey my regret that they'd been dragged into this by the mistake by the nice man from Action for Charity, but that it did underline the importance that spammers should attach to buying their spamable email lists from a vendor that's a member of their esteemed organisation. Certainly, spammers should buy lists of emails from disreputable scroats who are here today and gone tomorrow. And there are a few of those popping up and disappearing all the time, like quantum foam. Not, I hasten to add, that I include Company X, Y or Z in that category.
The nice man from Action for Charity also said that he was extremely dissatisfied with the list he bought from Company Y, and has reported them to the ICO (which I think means the Information Commissioners Office).
And Company Y has copied me in on an email in which he's threatening to sue Action for Charity for slander.
But all I want is for all these guys to stop sending me spam. Why is it so complicated?