ICO muzzles aggressive and threatening cold call firms

phone call 2An accident claims company which threatened one consumer with jail if they did not sign up for its services is among two Stockport firms which have joined the “nuisance call hall of shame” after being fined a total of £109,000 for a barrage of illegal and aggressive marketing.
Recipients described calls from IAG Nationwide as “frightening” and “aggressive”, with one consumer saying they had been “threatened with court or jail” if they did not heed the company’s advice or employ its services.
Another said: “I asked them to stop calling me and was told ‘Don’t speak to me like a 3 year old’. I’ve been called more than 50 times now from various numbers (all claiming to be the same company), each time, I have asked them to stop calling – each time, they have continued to call me.”
However, IAG Nationwide – which is listed as an advertising agency on Companies House but in fact was flogging accident claims – has not faced any action over these practices. Instead it has been fined £100,000 for making more than 69,000 calls to people registered with the Telephone Preference Service.
IAG also failed to correctly identify itself in the calls, did not give people the chance to opt-out of receiving them and provided misleading information about the nature of the call.
On top of the fine, the company has been issued with an enforcement notice by the ICO, ordering it to stop illegal marketing.
In a separate ICO investigation, Bramhall-based Costelloe & Kelly has been issued with a £19,000 fine for sending more than 260,000 spam texts promoting funeral plans.
ICO enforcement group manager Andy Curry said: “Both these firms showed disregard for both the law and people’s right to privacy when they embarked on their unlawful marketing campaigns.
“We heard about the harassing nature of the calls made by IAG Nationwide, whilst Costelloe and Kelly ploughed ahead with their spam texts despite the fact the content was about funeral plans – a sensitive area which could cause upset to recipients.
“Reports from the public about these firms helped our investigations, leading to action to hold those responsible to account. I’d urge others targeted by nuisance calls, emails or texts, to report them to the ICO.”

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