The Information Commissioner’s Office is bigging up its achievements in the ongoing war against rogue telemarketing bosses, after revealing its actions have now resulted in 16 company directors being banned from running a company for a total of more than 100 years.
The latest ban, issued by the Insolvency Service, disqualifies what the ICO has branded “one of the worst offenders” it has seen since the laws were introduced in 2004.
Richard Jones of Carmarthen, South Wales, has been barred from being a company director for eight years after his two companies, Your Money Rights and Miss-Sold Products UK, were responsible for 220 million automated nuisance calls and failed to pay fines issued by the ICO.
Most of the calls made were about payment protection insurance (PPI) claims and resulted in total fines of £700,000 in 2017.
Jones had applied to Companies House to have the businesses wound up to avoid paying the fines. This was blocked by the ICO which then referred the case on to the Insolvency Service.
The ICO has reached this key milestone by working in partnership with the Insolvency Service, referring evidence which can result in company directors being disqualified for up to 15 years.
ICO investigations group manager Andy Curry said: “Nuisance calls are a blight on people’s lives. We are partnering with the Insolvency Service to disrupt and obstruct unscrupulous operators like Richard Jones who cause misery and distress to their victims.
“Directors of rogue companies like him who try to shut down their businesses to avoid paying our fine and carry on their illegal activities under another company name should not expect to get away with it.
“This is typical of the type of case we refer to the Insolvency Service, where companies are making a high volume of calls, texts or emails and where there is a high risk they will continue to flout the law even after we have taken action.”
Insolvency Service chief investigator David Brooks added: “Nuisance marketing communications not only flagrantly breach regulations, but cause untold anguish and grief for a substantial number of people.
“One hundred years’ worth of bans is a significant landmark and we will continue to work closely with the ICO so that we can prevent rogue company directors from causing any more harm.”
The 16 directors who have been disqualified for a total of 107.5 years include more recent cases such as Shaun Harkin, Easyleads, six years; and Keith Hancock of Lad Media, four years. Reactiv Media call centre boss Tony Abbott was the first to be disqualified after being barred for 12 years in January 2018.
New legislation, which came into force in December 2018, means that the ICO now has powers to make company directors and other company officers personally liable for fines of up to £500,000.
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