The boss of a telemarketing firm, registered to an unassuming bungalow in the small seaside town of Peacehaven, has become the 17th cold call rogue to be fingered by the Insolvency Service, and has been banned from being a company director for six years.
The sorry tale of Elia Bols dates back to August 2018, when his company AMS Marketing was fined £100,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office for making 75,649 calls to people registered with the Telephone Preference Service. The calls urged consumers to make an accident claim, even though there was no evidence they had been involved in an accident in the first place.
The ICO investigation found that AMS bought lists of data from other companies, but made no checks to find out if any of the people listed were registered with the TPS. However, Bols refused to cough up and AMS was forced into liquidation by the High Court in May last year.
On October 28 2020, the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Bols after he did not dispute that he had caused his company to breach Regulation 21 of the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) in making the marketing calls.
Effective from November 18, Bols is disqualified for six years from acting as a director or directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
Bols has held a total of five directorships at companies registered to the Peacehaven address. Three of the firms, Eli & Joyce Ltd, Bols Holdings Ltd and AMS Marketing, have either been dissolved or liquidated.
Of the other two, Bols resigned from M&N Sons Ltd, which offers “other retail sale in non-specialised stores” in August 2018. He resigned from claims management company Regional Legal Ltd in January 2017.
However, Bols has since moved to Australia.
ICO head of investigations Andy Curry said: ”Our work with the Insolvency Service has seen the successful disqualification of 17 directors who have shut their business down to try and avoid paying a fine for illegal marketing activity. Nuisance calls, emails and texts can be a huge problem and often cause people real distress. By taking unscrupulous directors out of action, we can help protect the public and their privacy.”
Insolvency Service chief investigator Robert Clarke added: “Elia Bols had a complete disregard of protective regulations and thanks to the joint work with the ICO, we have secured a ban which reflects the seriousness of this offence.
“When directors of a company do not comply with regulations that are designed to protect the public, we will fully investigate the circumstances and take action where appropriate.”
Last year, the ICO revealed its war against rogue telemarketing bosses had resulted in 16 company directors being banned from running a firm for a total of 107.5 years, including cases such as Shaun Harkin, Easyleads, six years; and Keith Hancock of Lad Media, four years. Reactiv Media call centre boss Tony Abbott was the first to be disqualified after being barred for 12 years in January 2018.
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