ICO ratchets up TPS abuse clampdown with £85k fine

cold calls 1The Information Commissioner’s Office has shown it will take no prisoners in its crackdown on abuse of the Telephone Preference Service after slapping one firm with an £85,000 fine for contacting just over 200 people registered on the TPS over a two-year period, in which it claimed to have made 5 million calls.
True Telecom was set up in 2013 and sells packages for broadband and line rental to SMEs. Despite a warning from the ICO about its practices, the regulator received 201 complaints between April 2015 and April 2017.
An ICO investigation found that True Telecom was unable to provide evidence that the people it was calling had given their consent, making it in breach of the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “There’s no excuse for making marketing calls to people who have explicitly asked not to receive them. These calls are at best annoying and at worst downright distressing, and companies who pester the pubic in this way must understand they won’t get away with it. The ICO will take action.”
However, in its defence, True Telecom claimed it takes TPS screening and data management “extremely seriously”, and blamed a “technical issue within our TPS screening process which led to these unfortunate events occurring”.
A statement read: “We are extremely disappointed this system error led to the 201 businesses slipping through the net during the two-year period. We would like to formally apologise to each of the 201 business that were affected by this system error and  reconfirm that no intentional deviation from regulation has ever been intended.
“To add some context, our outbound sales teams contacted over 5 million businesses during this period.  We also note that in comparison to other cases of this nature, we feel the fine stated is somewhat disproportionate when considering other companies have been fined a lesser amount for over 100,000 individual cases vs 201 True Telecom cases.
“True Telecom welcomes any and all guidance from ICO moving forwards and have been working very closely with them to ensure no more issues are experienced in the future.”

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