The Pervasive Trend of Aggressive Marketing

January 17, 2024

by Olena Nechyporuk

HelloFresh fined by the ICO

Receiving a flood of marketing texts and emails after you decide to try out a new product can become extremely aggravating. Worse than that, however, is the inability to stop the aggressive marketing after you decide to unsubscribe or cancel a trial membership. Non-transparency about what you are signing up for when you enter your email address online, the inability and deliberate difficulty to unsubscribe is something many companies are guilty of.

One culprit of this recent trend has been HelloFresh, a subscription-based meal delivery company in the UK. As per the audit documents, users of HelloFresh were bombarded with email marketing and texts during various hours of the day – this continued to occur for a long time, even after they had unsubscribed. The HelloFresh app was deliberately obtuse in their communications preference settings: there was no option to update marketing preferences where users could indicate via what method they wanted to receive marketing communication.

During the course of 7 months, HelloFresh received upwards to 15 thousand customer complaints after sending out over 79 million marketing emails to its users. Taking this into account, the ICO has issued a fine of £140,000 to HelloFresh, to be paid by 13th of February 2024.

This case ought to be a warning sign for other companies that employ aggressive marketing strategies. Customers have a right to their privacy, which includes immunity from all undesirable communication from subscription-based companies.

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