Two companies have been warned that they are set to face fines totalling £140,000 for breaching electronic marketing rules.
A Yorkshire direct marketing firm was linked to thousands of nuisance marketing calls by the ICO. The company was identified after members of the public made over 630 reports to the ICO and the Telephone Preference Service after receiving calls, despite opting out of receiving marketing calls.
Meanwhile, a Devon PPI Claims company faces a similar penalty for prompting over 600 reports from the public.
The two companies have one month to provide evidence proving they were not responsible for making, or initiating, the calls. If no evidence is provided, the final penalties will be served and the companies’ details, along with information about their illicit activities, will be released.
ICO Head of Enforcement, Stephen Eckersley, said:
“Quite simply, today’s action would not have been possible without the support of the general public. By raising their concerns with us they have provided the ICO with important leads that we have then been able to investigate and pursue, leading to today’s action.
“We believe we have a strong case against both companies, but the law requires them to be given the opportunity to reply to the evidence we have presented. If they are unable to prove that they were not responsible for pestering the public with unwanted calls, then they will face the consequences of their actions.”
Under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, companies carrying out marketing calls must not ring a person registered with the Telephone Preference Service unless they have subsequently provided their consent. They should also not contact anyone who has previously told the company not to contact them.
The ICO advises anyone who continues to receive calls after this time, to report the matter to the Telephone Preference Service,
or directly to the ICO using its online reporting tool. The information provided is used to identify and punish those companies responsible for breaching the regulations.
The ICO has also published detailed guidance for companies carrying out marketing explaining their legal requirements under the Data Protection Act and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The guidance covers the circumstances in which organisations are able to carry out marketing over the phone, by text, by email, by post or by fax.
The ICO’s Director of Operations, Simon Entwisle, published a blog yesterday providing the latest update on the ICO’s work to tackle nuisance calls and spam texts.