A Darlington-based claims management company has been fined £350,000 after making a massive 75 million automated nuisance marketing calls.
Data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office acted after the payment protection insurance (PPI) claims company engaged in its large-scale illegal campaign between November 2015 and March 2016.
Not only did the company breach regulations by making these calls to individuals who had not consented to receiving them, but it also broke the law in another way, as the calls did not identify the company who was making the communication.
Some of those who complained to the ICO spoke of being called more than once per day by the company, and of calls being made late in the evening.
In an attempt to ensure it can recover the fine, the ICO has blocked attempts by the company’s director to wind up the company. He failed to co-operate with information requests from the ICO during its investigation, and when he did respond, he merely sent a letter saying that the company had ceased trading.
ICO Enforcement Group Manager Andy Curry said:
“This company blatantly ignored the laws on telephone marketing, making a huge volume of intrusive calls over a short period of time and without any apparent attempt to ensure they had the consent of the people they were harassing.
“The ICO will come down hard on rogue operators who want to treat the law and the UK public with contempt. We hope the Government will bring forward plans to introduce personal liability for directors as a matter of urgency, to stop them from escaping punishment after profiting from nuisance calls and texts.
“In the absence of a change in the law, the ICO will continue to face challenges in the recovery of penalties, and rogue directors will think they can get away with causing nuisance to members of the public.”
Although this is an example of a PPI claims company showing a blatant disregard for the law, the ICO says that complaints regarding the marketing practices of companies in this sector are decreasing. The regulator’s December 2017 report on ‘Nuisance calls and messages’ says:
“Throughout 2017 the number of reported concerns about PPI re-claim has been considerably lower than in previous years. We have yet to see the increase which we had anticipated following the launch of the FCA campaign in August.”
The ICO report suggests that there are many more complaints being made regarding nuisance calls and messages concerning accident claims, energy saving and debt management. The ICO is currently investigating 175 companies over their marketing practices, and no company in any business sector can afford to neglect the relevant legislation regarding marketing, and who can and cannot be contacted.
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.