ICO Fines £180,000 For Unlawful Calls

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has investigated two different companies for making unsolicited marketing calls and violating the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR). The companies were found to have collectively made over 480,000 calls to business that had registered with the Telephone Preference Service (do not call list). ICO ended up receiving 126 complaints about the two companies.

Anyone subscribed to the TPS or CTPS (for businesses) should not be receiving unsolicited calls. Any telecommunications company has a responsibility to check their contacts against the TPS/CTPS system to make sure they aren’t calling anyone registered there. Not only did the companies fail to do this but they continued to call people that had previously requested that the companies remove their details from the database and to stop calling them. Yet, the calls persisted.

It was determined that the companies failed to make themselves aware of the PECR requirements and paid no attention to ICO advice for marketing companies. They also failed to take necessary steps once they started making these calls, such as making employees aware not to use publicly available data and to thoroughly investigate complaints from people they had called.

Outcome

The companies were ordered to pay fines of £80,000 ($101,770 USD) and £100,000 ($127,214 USD). There were factors that made ICO decide to give harsher penalties to the two companies. The first continued to make these calls for two months after receiving ICO investigation letter and further complaints were received after this. The second company displayed rude and argumentative behaviour, they were very dismissive of the TPS/CTPS and made repeated, persistent nuisance calls to people.

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