The data regulator is considering enforcement action against mobile phone giant EE, following a deluge of complaints about the company’s sales calls and marketing text messages.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has revealed the company is one of ten businesses to have joined the regulator’s “watch list” and said claims that only a small minority of rogue companies are behind illegal calls and texts are simply a myth.
In the past quarter, it has also prosecuted three lead generation and marketing companies for non-notification offences, criminal breaches under the Data Protection Act.
Director of operations Simon Entwisle added: “It is certainly true that organisations with little regard for the law do exist, and we spend a chunk of our time looking to target them, but there are just as many – if not more – messages and calls coming from big name, respected organisations.”
One company, First Financial (UK), is also facing court action after it failed to pay the £175,000 fine – issued in January – for sending millions of unlawful spam texts, following more than 4,000 complaints from the public.
Entwisle added: “The majority of organisations do not want to make nuisance calls and texts – after all, annoyed consumers don’t tend to sign up to a new product or service. But through poor processes, they’re either getting their call lists wrong – for instance calling customers who’ve left several years before – or they’re not being clear about how they’ll use a customer’s details, so someone signing up to their service doesn’t realise the terms and conditions mean they’ll receive marketing calls.”
The ICO has seen a significant reduction in the number of concerns about messages relating to Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), with a growth in those around green energy initiatives and so-called ‘scrappage schemes’. The latter two are now responsible for 42% of all the concerns raised.
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