A Hampshire company that made 22 million nuisance calls flogging PPI, personal injury claims and debt management services has been whacked by a £270,000 fine, one of highest penalties ever dished out for rogue telemarketing practices.
An Information Commissioner’s Office investigation – sparked by 182 complaints to its online reporting tool – traced the automated calls to Basingstoke-based Road Accident Consult, trading as Media Tactics.
In response, the company claimed it had bought data from other firms and believed the people on the lists had consented to being contacted. The phone numbers were sourced from a range of websites including discount and prize draw websites, pay day loans and insurance brokers and an electronic cigarette seller. People agreed to their details being shared with “third parties whose offers we think might interest you”.
But the ICO found that the privacy notices on the websites were generic and unspecific. Some included long lists of general categories of organisations to whom the data would be disclosed including astrology, debt collection, fashion and leisure, legal services and general marketing. As a result, the ICO found that consents obtained were not adequate.
“Media Tactics fell short of the mark when it treated consent as an administrative box-ticking exercise. Proper consent gives consumers control over how their information is used. The people targeted by Media Tactics were not given that control.
“From next May, a new data protection law will give people even stronger rights around consent giving them genuine choice and control over how their data will be used.”
In addition to the £270,000 fine, one of the highest the ICO has issued for nuisance calls, Media Tactics has also been given a legal notice compelling it to stop making unlawful calls. Failure to comply with this could result in court action.
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