13Mar

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is yet to use its newly acquired power of fining a company director over nuisance marketing. However, there can still be personal consequences for directors when firms breach data protection law, and the ICO has recently announced that one such individual has been disqualified from acting as a director for a period of eight years, after the ICO referred details of his misdemeanours to the Insolvency Service.

The director in question was a senior individual at two firms that had previously been fined £350,000 each back in 2017 for making nuisance calls concerning payment protection insurance claims. When these fines were imposed, he applied to Companies House to have the firms wound up in an attempt to avoid paying the fines, however he was not successful in doing so as the ICO intervened to stop him from doing so.

The data protection regulator described the director as “one of the worst offenders the ICO has seen since the laws were introduced 15 years ago.” Together, the two firms were fined for making more than 200 million automated marketing calls.

This latest action means that 16 company directors have now been disqualified as a result of nuisance calls made by their firms. The total length of these disqualifications has also now topped 100 years.

Andy Curry, ICO Investigations Group Manager, said:

”Nuisance calls are a blight on people’s lives. We are partnering with the Insolvency Service to disrupt and obstruct unscrupulous operators like [name of director] who cause misery and distress to their victims.

“Directors of rogue companies like him who try to shut down their businesses to avoid paying our fine and carry on their illegal activities under another company name should not expect to get away with it.

“This is typical of the type of case we refer to the Insolvency Service, where companies are making a high volume of calls, texts or emails and where there is a high risk they will continue to flout the law even after we have taken action.”

David Brooks, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said:

“Nuisance marketing communications not only flagrantly breach regulations but cause untold anguish and grief for a substantial number of people.

“One hundred years’ worth of bans is a significant landmark and we will continue to work closely with the ICO so that we can prevent rogue company directors from causing any more harm.”

Unsolicited marketing calls cannot be made to anyone who has registered with the Telephone Preference Service, or who has informed the firm that they do not wish to be contacted in this way. Where the calls are automated, as in this case, all recipients should have given consent in advance to receiving them.

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