The Information Commissioner’s Office is continuing to round up the marketing cowboys by issuing its second fine in as many days, whacking London company Pension House Exchange with a £45,000 penalty for making more than 39,000 nuisance calls to people about their pensions.
After raiding PHE’s offices as part of an investigation, the ICO found that staff connected with people on LinkedIn and harvested their contact details to target them with direct marketing calls relating to pensions schemes.
In January 2019, the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which cover marketing calls, emails and texts, were changed to prevent people falling victim to scams, mostly carried out through cold calls, and potentially losing their pensions.
The action represents the second fine for flouting this law after Swansea company CPS Advisory was fingered in September this year.
The ICO found CPS had made more than 100,000 telemarketing calls to people about their pensions – even though it did not manage pensions, was not registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and did not even have consent to do so in the first place. It was fined £130,000.
ICO head of investigations Andy Curry said: “Unwanted pensions calls can cause real distress and can result in people experiencing significant financial harm. The public have every right to expect companies to follow the law and should not feel harassed or pressured into making life-changing decisions on the basis of cold calls or messages received out of the blue.
“Companies shouldn’t call you to discuss your pension, unless you have given your consent or you’ve previously dealt with the company. If you do receive an unwanted pensions call, it’s important to report it to the ICO. Every report helps us to take action and stop these nuisance calls.”
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