£300k ICO fine fuels new call to bring directors to book

cold calls 2The Information Commissioner’s Office is continuing its fight to get the Government to reintroduce measures which would make directors of rogue telemarketing firms personally liable for fines after slapping yet another business with a £300,000 penalty for unlawful marketing.
Holmes Financial Solutions, based in Speke, Liverpool, made 8.7 million automated marketing calls between October 22 2015 and July 27 2016. The calls contained recorded messages, primarily promoting PPI compensation claims, but the company did not have the recipients’ consent for sending direct marketing, which is against the law.
It also broke the law by failing to identify the organisation making the calls, while it used so-called ‘added value’ numbers that generate revenue when an individual calls the number, which is then apportioned and passed to associated companies and the network carrier.
The ICO said the contravention could have been far higher since its investigation found that the company instigated over 26.6 million automated calls.
While there has been no official word about a reprise of The Unsolicited Marketing Communications (Company Directors) Bill 2016-17, the ICO has repeatedly said the measures can not come soon enough.
ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “I welcome the Government’s plans to introduce personal liability for directors who think they are above the law, and hope to see them introduced as soon as possible, to support our work to stop such rogue traders operating.”
“Holmes Financial Solutions paid no heed to laws on telephone marketing and showed no concern for the distress they were causing people, by making huge volumes of invasive calls.
“The ICO will not tolerate companies who blatantly disregard the law and [this company] has paid the price for their negligence.”
According to Companies House, Holmes Financial Solutions is still “active”, although given the ICO’s past experience it would not be a huge surprise if it attempted to swerve the fine by shutting up shop.

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