Store Chain John Lewis Ordered to Pay Spam Damages

A court in the UK has ruled that department store chain John Lewis must pay damages for sending unsolicited marketing emails considered as spam in what could be a landmark ruling for the future of marketing emails.


Photo: Feng Yu / Shutterstock

The case was brought on by Sky News producer Roddy Mansfield who claims the store acted unlawfully under EU legislation as he did not consent to the emails. Sky News reports: “an EU law drafted in 2003 makes it an offence to send unsolicited emails unless a customer is aware they have been opted-in.”

Mr Mansfield issued proceedings under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations arguing it was for John Lewis to prove he consented and after a short hearing the judge ruled in his favour.

Mr Mansfield said: “John Lewis argued that because I had not opted-out of receiving their emails, I had automatically opted-in.

“John Lewis’ lawyers then argued that because I browsed their website I had “negotiated” with them for a sale and a business relationship existed between us which would allow them to email me. The judge threw that out too,” added Mansfield.

John Lewis said in a statement that they disagreed with the ruling but would abide by it.

Could this case set a new precedent for marketing emails and spam?