One month after it was stripped of its authorisation by the Claims Management Regulator at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), a claims management company was fined £250,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Chorley-based Check Point Claims Limited was said to have made 17,565,690 automated calls marketing its hearing loss claims services between March and September 2015, and the ICO, the data protection watchdog, received 248 complaints about their activities. The calls were often made repeatedly to the same number, and in many cases, falsely claimed that the recipient had worked in a noisy environment.
The calls breached two fundamental requirements regarding automated calls. Firstly, these must only be made to customers who have actively agreed to receive them – including an opt-out disclaimer within the call is not sufficient – and secondly, the company making the calls must be identifiable from the recorded message. Check Point Claims told the ICO it was unaware of these legal requirements.
Head of Enforcement at the ICO, Stephen Eckersley said:
“Nuisance calls are bad enough, but picking up the phone to a recorded message can be the most frustrating and intrusive thing of all.
“That’s why the law is so strict – it’s there to protect consumers and in practice it’s very difficult to make a legal automated marketing call.
“If you get one, report it. If you’re making one, beware. We will take action.”
The company is now in liquidation, but Mr Eckersley said his organisation would still do everything possible to recover the fine. He added:
“We will do everything within our power to recover fines on behalf of taxpayers and those millions of people who have been hounded by unwanted calls.
“Even companies that have stopped trading or try to get themselves struck off cannot escape because we will use all means available to chase the debt.”
Details of the ICO’s action were announced on the same day as a new law came into force, which prevents companies making cold calls from hiding their number on the recipient’s caller display.
When Check Point Claims was banned by the MoJ, it was said to have been in breach of the following sections of the regulator’s rulebook:
• General Rule 2d – which requires companies to maintain appropriate records and audit trails
• General Rule 2e – which stipulates that referrals, leads and data obtained from third parties have been sourced in line with relevant regulations and laws
• General Rule 5 – which simply asks companies to observe all relevant laws and regulations
• Client Specific Rule 4 – which prevents cold calling in person and requires that all telephone, email, fax or text marketing complies with the Direct Marketing Association’s Code and related guidance
The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article.