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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Spammed again

A few weeks ago, I was spammed by Lucas Frank Clothing. I phoned them up to get the email address removed, and they said they would, but they refused to tell me the source of the list they bought, claiming "Data Protection Act" which is absurd.  And annoying, so I reported their spam to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Today I got another spam from them. Same content, same email address, but with a slight change in a detail. So I phoned them up again. What a difference!

My complaint to the ICO had gotten back to them, and they'd had numerous other complaints. The guy there told me that they wouldn't ever be buying a spamming list again, because he had so many comlpaints, so that's good, another victim has been educated.

He was really certain that he'd removed the email address. I was equally certain that I've just received another email from him, and forwarded it to him. Soon the story emerged.

He'd bought 3.5 million email addresses, and he was spamming them 0.5 million at a time. It's clear, therefore, that my email address was in his list twice.

He thinks that the list vendor has gone out of business - that's the way it works, you see. Up pops a new list vendor, call them "Really excellent email lists", they spam their millions of email addresses with "3.5 million email addresses, all double-opt-in, all good and guaranteed for only £250". Some suckers buy the list, they send them the data. A month later they go out of business. And up pops a new list vendor called "Most excellent email lists".

I really ought to complain to the ICO about this second spam from LFC. After asking to be removed from their list, there's no good excuse for a second offence. But I feel sorry for him, he's actually the main victim in this. He's not only out of pocket to the tune of whatever he paid the list vendor (I'd guess a lot more than £250), he's also had to deal with numerous complaints, and his company has suffered a loss of reputation. So I won't complain.

Unless I get a third email from him.

And a second spam from Leasing Options Ltd. I called them and spoke to Craig. He's totally sure that they don't buy lists in and that I must have signed up for something (I didn't). And when I used the word "spam" to describe what he was doing, he was very upset. "Spam is what is sent by companies outside the UK offering dishonest stuff". No, Craig, spam is email sent via mass-mailing to people who haven't requested it. Possibly Leasing Options Ltd is in many respects a good and worthwhile company, but what you sent me is still spam. Eventually, he agreed to look into where they got my email address.

 ... later ... Craig called back. Yes, they had bought it in from a list marketing company, he doesn't know who, and they no longer buy in data.

And I finally got through to La Manga Holidays. I've been getting a steady trickle of spam from them for ages, and whenever I called their freephone number, there was no-one there. I called today, and was quite surprised to get an answer. They're taking me off their list, but they have no idea where they got the email address.

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