Comply with TPS or else, brands told

Brand owners are being warned that they face fines of up to £2m for breaking telemarketing regulations – such as making silent calls or contacting consumers on the Telephone Preference Service – even if they do not make the calls themselves.
The move follows the recent uproar caused by a BBC Panorama investigation which exposed some telemarketing firms’ blatant disregard for the TPS. At the time, the DMA called for tougher action from the Information Commissioner’s Office to protect legitimate businesses.
Now the head of preference services John Mitchison claims both Ofcom and the ICO – which have the power to impose fines of up to £2m on lawbreakers – have made enforcement of the legislation a priority.
He cites evidence of this renewed clampdown, by revealing the ICO is increasing the size of its enforcement department to deal with the soaring number of complaints it has received from the public over the past year.
And already this year Ofcom has fined HomeServe £750,000 for breaking rules concerning silent calls.
In new guidance released by the DMA, Mitchison said: “Numbers on the TPS register cannot be contacted unless the company has been given express permission to do so by the person using the number. This means that even if a company buys or rents a leads list with third-party opt-ins, it still has to screen the data against the TPS list – unless the company has been named specifically as a third party.
“If you’re the instigator of the call, then you’re culpable if it breaks the law. Even if you use a third party to make the calls the buck stops with you. And failure to comply with the law could be extremely costly.”

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