Companies which fail to pay the new data protection fees have received yet another warning after one non-payer lost its appeal against a £4,000 fine at the first-tier tribunal even though it claimed the issue was caused by “an oversight”.
The Information Commissioner’s Office started taking action against non-payers last year and ratcheted up the pressure last month when it named and shamed over 90 firms – including major brands Reckitt Benckiser, Coty UK, Prezzo, Caterpillar, Condé Nast and Ubisoft – for failing to cough up.
However, upmarket paint and wallpaper manufacturer Farrow & Ball took its case to appeal to try to overturn its fine, arguing, among other things that the person responsible for paying the fee was “on holiday”. Quite how long they were away from the office is not known.
While the first-tier tribunal accepted that the non-payment was an oversight, it ruled that Farrow & Ball should have had measures in place to prevent this happening. The company has a right to appeal the decision.
In a blog post, ICO deputy chief executive Paul Arnold said: “[The ruling] sends a further message, loud and clear, that there is no excuse for non-payment. Data controllers are given adequate opportunity to pay the fee to the ICO before they are issued with a fine. Being on holiday is no excuse.
“We consider any reasonable representations from organisations in response to our notices of intent to serve a penalty. If you haven’t paid the fee before, you can find out if you are required to using our self-assessment form. If you have already paid and want to check your renewal date, you can also do that via the register of data controllers.”
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