The Manchester-based company sent 7.7 million texts to consumers offering a new credit card powered by a major lender.
Ocean Finance, which is the trading name of Intelligent Lending, believed it was complying with the law because the third party firm it obtained names and phone numbers from claimed it had people’s consent to send texts.
However, an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found the “consent was insufficient to meet the requirements of the law”.
More than 1,900 complaints were made about the texts to the 7,726 spam reporting service and the ICO.
Steve Eckersley, ICO head of enforcement, said: “Company bosses everywhere should sit up and take note of this fine and check their practices are compliant with the law before embarking on marketing campaigns.
“We have made it easier for people to report organisations responsible for unlawful marketing practices and they have in their thousands.”
As well as the fine, the ICO has issued Intelligent Lending with an enforcement notice ordering it to stop sending spam texts.
A spokesman from Ocean Finance said: “We are sorry that a very small minority of consumers found our SMS marketing for the Ocean Credit Card last year unwelcome. The number of complaints made to the ICO represented 0.04% of the recipients of these marketing messages.
“Our marketing campaign used data that we had purchased from a well-known provider of marketing data. We conducted extensive and thorough initial and ongoing due diligence with the provider before proceeding and we received written and contractual assurances that the data we purchased had the valid consent in line with applicable laws and regulations. We believe that we took all reasonable steps to ensure that the data we used was compliant with all the applicable laws and regulations – which is why we are considering appealing the ICO’s decision.”