The Government to facing renewed pressure to commit to making directors of rogue telemarketing firms personally liable for fines of up to £500,000 as the consultation period for a change in the law draws to a close.
Following a long campaign, supported by Decision Marketing, the ministers finally launched the consultation earlier in the summer. Now self-proclaimed consumer champion Which? has released new research which shows so-called nuisance calls continue to be a big problem in the UK, with 73% of people believing they have received unsolicited marketing or sales calls in the past month.
And eight in 10 people of the 2,093 polled, said the calls were an intrusive interruption to their daily life. Two in five surveyed said they felt intimidated while a similar number said the unsolicited calls left them distressed.
For 77%, they said they were discouraged from picking up phone calls from unknown numbers altogether – potentially missing out on important calls from family or other legitimate sources.
Decision Marketing launched its own “Call Time on Rogue Marketers” campaign in February after a Freedom of Information request found that of the 40 companies which had received Privacy & Electronics Communications Regulations (PECR) penalties between 2015 and January 2018, 27 had either gone into liquidation to avoid the fine or been brought down by other creditors.
Since then, five directors of telemarketing firms – Shaun Harkin of Easyleads, Allan Brown and Kenneth Haswell of Nevis Home Improvements, Leah Masters of Cold Call Elimination and Tony Abbott of Reactiv Media – have been barred for a total of 30 years.
Which? managing director of home products and services Alex Neill said: “It’s time to stem the tide of this daily torment and properly hold to account company directors who are responsible for flouting the law. We must stop them from bombarding households with nuisance calls.
“The Government must seize this opportunity and act swiftly to deliver on its promise to stamp out dodgy practices and make sure those responsible for making nuisance calls can no longer evade justice and skip fines.”
A Government spokesman said: “For too long a minority of company directors have escaped justice by liquidating their firms and opening up again under a different name, which is why we’re taking action to hold rogue bosses to account and put an end to these unwanted calls.”
It said it will publish its response to the consultation – which ends today (Tuesday) – “shortly”.
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