The bosses of two lead generation firms have been barred from holding company directorships for a total of ten years after failing to cough up for fines issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office for breaking direct marketing laws.
Aaron Stalberg, 27, from Exmouth was the sole director of The Lead Experts, whose company was fined £70,000 by the ICO in October 2017 after being found to have made more than 115,000 automated marketing calls to people who had not consented to receive them.
The messages did not give the company’s name or contact details and were routed through Buenos Aires, making them virtually impossible to trace.
Stalberg failed to lodge an appeal or pay the debt, which led the ICO to refer the company to the Insolvency Service, which has slapped the director with a six year ban.
Meanwhile, Keith Hancock, 51, from Manchester was the sole director of a Lad Media, a lead generation and data brokerage business operating in the financial services, debt management and consumer claim sectors.
His company boasted that clients could “count on our honesty, integrity and professionalism”, however, an ICO investigation found that it sent out nearly 400,000 illegal marketing texts, triggering a fine of £50,000 in January 2017.
Yet again the company failed to pay the debt and a winding-up order saw Lad Media shut down on the petition of the ICO. Now, Hancock has been banned from being a company director for four years.
David Brooks, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “There is clear guidance on the Internet about what communications you can send to people when it comes to marketing so there is no excuse about not knowing what your responsibilities are.
“[These bans] reflect the seriousness of these actions and we will continue to work with our partners at the ICO to take firm action against those whose conduct falls below accepted commercial standards.”
ICO investigations group manager Andy Curry said: “By working closely with The Insolvency Service we have been successful in stopping the unscrupulous activities of company directors who cause upset and distress to millions of people who are on the receiving end of this kind of illegal marketing activity.”
In December, legislation finally came into force which will make directors of rogue telemarketing firms personally liable for fines of up to £500,000.
The change in the law is in response to the fact that so many company directors have swerved paying fines by shutting up shop and starting again under a different name.
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