A claims management company that made 17.5 million calls asking people if they had suffered hearing loss at work has been fined £250,000 but has become the latest to go into liquidation in an attempt to avoid coughing up.
An ICO investigation found that Blackburn-based Check Point Claims instigated 17,565,690 automated marketing calls between March and September 2015, of which 6,388,122 were connected.
People who picked up the phone heard a recorded message encouraging them to claim compensation for job-related hearing loss. The ICO launched the investigation after receiving 248 complaints.
The ICO concedes that the liquidation of the business “creates a challenge in recovering the fine” but it insists it is committed to making the most of the UK’s insolvency regime to pursue money owed.
ICO head of enforcement Stephen Eckersley said: “Nuisance calls are bad enough, but picking up the phone to a recorded message can be the most frustrating and intrusive thing of all.
“That’s why the law is so strict – it’s there to protect consumers and in practice it’s very difficult to make a legal automated marketing call. If you get one, report it. If you’re making one, beware. We will take action.”
He added: “Even companies that have stopped trading or try to get themselves struck off cannot escape because we will use all means available to chase the debt.”
The latest fine comes as today (May 16) sees the introduction of new laws which mean cold callers can no longer hide or disguise their phone number. This, the ICO maintains, will make it easier for the regulator to find and take action against companies making nuisance calls.
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