The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a fresh warning to companies making direct marketing calls that they must run their data against the Telephone Preference Service file – even if they are contacting existing customers – or face the consequences.
The move follows the ICO issuing fines totalling £150,000 to two firms based in Bradford that, between them, sparked hundreds of complaints.
HPAS (trading as Safestyle UK) and Laura Anderson (trading as Virgo Home Improvements) broke the law when they called people who were registered with TPS.
The ICO found that neither company had subscribed to the TPS register in order to check whether the people they were contacting had opted out of receiving direct marketing. Both companies also contacted people after being explicitly told not to call again.
HPAS has been fined £70,000 after the TPS and ICO received 264 complaints in 20 months. The company was repeatedly warned and placed on formal monitoring three times – but the complaints continued. It is understood the company has already paid the fine; which is a rarity in itself.
Laura Anderson has been fined £80,000 following 440 complaints in 19 months.
As well as the fines, the ICO has issued enforcement notices to both HPAS and Laura Anderson, compelling them to stop making nuisance calls or face court action.
This is against the law.
ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “Companies have no excuse – if people are registered with the Telephone Preference Service they are off limits. The law is clear and if companies fall foul of it with illegal and overly aggressive telesales tactics, we will take action on behalf of the people who suffer the nuisance.”
The ICO has had statutory responsibility for the TPS since December 2016 and received complaints about both Safestyle and Virgo from people who said that they received repeated unsolicited calls and that their opt out requests were being ignored.
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