Carmarthenshire-based Your Money Rights Ltd has been fined £350,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The data protection watchdog said that the claims management company had made “a record high 146 million illegal calls about PPI.” The calls were made over a four-month period.
The company failed to ensure that the recipients had consented in advance to receiving these automated phone calls, and failed to state their name and contact details in the recorded message. Sometimes calls were made more than once to the same number on the same day. The ICO adds that some consumers felt “harassed and threatened” by the calls.
Steve Eckersley, ICO Head of Enforcement, said:
“We’re cracking down on illegal automated calls on behalf of the British public. They are a blight on society that disregards people’s right to have their wish for peace and quiet in their own home respected.
“We know people find calls playing recorded messages particularly intrusive because they are unable to speak to a call agent. Your Money Rights should have known that the law around automated calls is stricter than for other marketing calls.”
Like many firms who have been subject to ICO action over similar issues, Your Money Rights has now commenced liquidation proceedings. The ICO says in its press release that it “is committed to recovering the fine and will work with insolvency practitioners and the liquidator.”
However, Mr Eckersley appeared to acknowledge that recovering the fine may not be easy, and looked forward to the forthcoming change in the law that will allow his organisation to impose fines on individual company directors.
Mr Eckersley added:
“A change in law to make directors personally liable for illegal marketing calls can’t come soon enough.
“If a firm goes out of business to try and duck an ICO fine then they’re no longer making troublesome nuisance calls. But the new law will increase the tools we have to go after them and hold them fully accountable for the harassment, annoyance and disruption they’ve caused.”
Your Money Rights had already been stripped of its authorisation to carry out claims management services by the Claims Management Regulator. In its enforcement notice of May 2017, the Regulator said that the company was guilty of a number of breaches of its rules, including some that did not relate to its marketing practices. For example, the company was said to have failed to co-operate with the regulator’s efforts to carry out supervision and monitoring of its activities, and also to have failed to ensure its communications with clients were ‘clear, transparent, fair and not misleading’.
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