The Information Commissioner’s Office and the DMA have backed Decision Marketing‘s campaign to get the Government to resurrect legislation which would see directors of rogue marketing companies personally liable for fines of up to £500,000, amid fresh evidence of sharp practices.
Decision Marketing launched the “Call Time on Rogue Marketers” initiative last week after a Freedom of Information request found that of the 40 companies which has received PECR penalties since 2015, 27 have either gone into liquidation to avoid the fine or been brought down by other creditors.
And we can now reveal that two companies, Barrington Claims and Goody Market UK, which were fined a total of £290,000 by the ICO in January have entered proposals to “strike off” – the first stage in shutting up shop – and a third which owed £350,000 has already being dissolved.
Robert Matthews, the sole remaining director of Barrington Claims – which was fined £250,000 for 15 million automated calls – resigned in late January but was soon appointed a director of a company called World Financial Group.
Meanwhile, at Goody Market UK – which was hit with a £40,000 penalty for 111,367 spam texts – Paul O’Donnell is listed as a director while Paul McCarthy resigned last week. However, McCarthy is also a director of Bridgegate Finance, where he puts his occupation down as a “labourer”.
And despite the ICO saying it had successfully blocked the director of Miss-sold Products UK from closing the business – which was fined £350,000 for making 74 million unlawful automated calls – the firm is now listed as dissolved. According to Companies House, Douglas Andrew Albury has dissolved over 30 businesses.
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “Some nuisance call directors liquidate their firms to avoid paying fines from the ICO. We welcomed the announcement by Government in 2016 of a planned change in law to make directors themselves responsible for nuisance marketing. It should have a real deterrent effect on those who deliberately set out to disrupt people with troublesome calls, texts and emails. We hope the law change will come to fruition soon to increase the tools we have to protect the public from this modern menace.”
Meanwhile, DMA director of external affairs Mike Lordan added: “The DMA welcomes any clamp-down on rogue marketers, and supports any initiative that results in bringing these rogues to account.
“The DMA has been calling for tougher penalties since 2016. It wants the Government to go one step further and bring in custodial sentences for the worst breaches of data protection law, to ensure that those responsible for nuisance calls and spam texts are held to account.”
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