Digital minister Margot James has pledged that there “is now no hiding place” for rogue directors of telemarketing firms, with new laws coming into force today which make them personally liable for fines of up to £500,000.
The new laws were placed on the statute book last month – with no official announcement – in an amendment to the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations, giving the Information Commissioner’s Office extra powers to pursue individuals. Previously it was only the businesses themselves that were liable for fines of up to £500,000.
The ICO has long been pushing for a change in the law due to the fact that so many company directors have swerved paying fines by shutting up shop and starting again under a different name.
Decision Marketing also launched its own campaign, which was backed by both the ICO and the DMA.
Margot James said: “There is now no hiding place for the small minority of rogue directors who have previously tried to escape justice. We are determined to stamp this menace out and this new law is the latest in a series of measures to rid society of the plague of nuisance calls.”
According to Ofcom, British consumers were bombarded with 3.9 billion nuisance phone calls and texts last year.
ICO head of enforcement Andy Curry added: “We welcome this amendment to the law which will increase the tools we have to protect the public. It will mean we can recover the fine more easily and also make it much harder for unscrupulous operators to set up in business again.”
Which? managing director of home products and services Alex Neill added: “The introduction of fines for bosses of these companies is a significant step, and the regulator must now act swiftly to properly police and fine those who flout the law – demonstrating that there is no place in our society for these practices.”
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