The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) investigated an appliance service and repair company after receiving multiple complaints about their conduct. The investigation looked at whether their conduct went against the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations (PECR).
ICO received numerous complaints about the company that said complainants had no prior connection to the company and so all calls were unsolicited. When an investigation was opened a letter was sent to the company addressing the concerns and asking for clarification on a number of things. This included, the number of calls that had been made, and connected over an 11-month period.
The company confirmed that over 11 months they had made 1,789,974 calls and that 1,141,919 of those calls had connected. They also admitted the information had been obtained by purchasing data from a third party outside the EU.
The PECR states that a person cannot use a public electronic communications service for the purpose of making unsolicited calls for direct marketing purposes.
The company failed to provide a valid justification for the contact and also failed to provide sample call recordings. The fact that over 1.5 million calls were made demonstrated a sustained campaign of nuisance calls.
The calls also appeared to involve misleading people in thinking warranties had expired and encouraging them to pay for services they didn’t need. Some complaints indicated that vulnerable and elderly people were specifically targeted.
It was deemed that the company’s actions prior to the investigation were negligent but they continued to contravene PECR even after ICO expressed their concerns. Following the conclusion of the investigation ICO received at least 10 more complaints. This indicated that the company had not changed or ceased the negligent behaviour or started to adhere to PECR.
The company was subsequently fined £200,000 ($241,210 USD)
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