Another day, another fresh call for tougher action on nuisance calls after consumer group Which? pooh-poohed Information Commissioner’s Office claims that it is winning the war on rogue telemarketers.
Just last week, the ICO made a big play of the fact that it has issued fines equivalent of £10,000 a day – and £1.5m in total – since getting its new powers to combat what has been described as the modern day menace.
However, Which? maintains that only four of the 22 fines issued have actually been paid and is renewing calls for the bosses of such firms to be held personally responsible.
The issue was first highlighted in May, when a Daily Telegraph investigation revealed that 14 out of 20 companies penalised have either gone bust or declared themselves insolvent to avoid the fine.
At the time, the ICO claimed it was ramping up its pursuit of the bosses of rogue companies who had deliberately folded their businesses to avoid the fines, insisting it would do everything it can to ensure they cough up.
But Which? director of campaigns and policy Alex Neill said: “Millions of people are still being pestered by nuisance calls and it’s time for tougher action that holds company directors personally accountable for the unlawful actions of their companies.”
The DMA wants the clampdown to go even further, with head of external affairs Mike Lordan demanding jail terms for miscreants. He said: “We agree with calls to make the directors of these rogue businesses more responsible for the unlawful actions of their companies.
“These individuals have already shown they are more than willing to skirt the law when it suits them, so it should come as no surprise that they are willing to do the same to avoid paying their debts.
“The addition of custodial sentences will allow the authorities to crack down on the businesses committing these crimes, as well as the repeat offenders behind them. The Justice Secretary has the powers, which were introduced in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, but it’s now time they were used.”
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