As the Terminator-style PPI compensation ads roll out, fresh evidence has emerged that directors of rogue claims companies are putting two fingers up to the authorities – as well as threatening “Hasta la vista, baby, I’ll be back” – after the bosses of a firm which has just been fined £350,000 have become the latest to try to shut up shop to avoid the penalty.
Carmarthenshire-based Your Money Rights was found to have made 146 million illegal calls about PPI, the highest number of automated calls to result in an Information Commissioner’s Office fine to date.
The unsolicited calls, made over a four-month period, also broke the rules by not including the company’s name and contact details in the recorded message.
But the directors of Your Money Rights, which is based in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, yet has its registered address is Darlington, are seeking to dissolve the company.
They join a long list of rogue businesses which have gone into liquidation, with nothing to prevent them from starting up a new company straight away. According to a recent Which? report, only four of the 22 fines issued by the ICO since 2015’s reforms have actually been paid.
Media Tactics, which was fined £270,000 by the ICO in March for making 22 million nuisance calls to people across the country, has also closed, as has Keurboom Communications which was fined a record £400,000 in May.
However, the Government has yet to announce that it will resurrect plans to make company directors personally liable for fines, which were dropped in the run up to June’s general election.
ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “A change in law to make directors personally liable for illegal marketing calls can’t come soon enough.”
Meanwhile DMA head of preference services, compliance and legal John Mitchison repeated the industry body’s call for even tougher action. He said: “We hope that in the future rogue marketers will face the real threat of prison when abusing consumers in this way, which will be an effective deterrent.”
The move comes as a BBC Inside Out report showed two businessmen admitting to sending out a up to 2 million nuisance text messages every day of the week, claiming that they banked on getting 300 responses for every 200,000 sent.
The texts were promising pay-outs on PPI and for injuries suffered in road accidents.
Andrew Horner-Glister and Barry Sanders allegedly ran several businesses. While being secretly filmed, Horner-Glister said: “We did that for years. We were probably the largest in the UK.”
The men knew they were in the wrong, with Sanders admitting: “To be fair though, people were getting harassed.”
The pair said they have not distributed text messages themselves since 2012 and claim when they did it was legal, even though the practice has been outlawed since 2003.
The BBC also discovered that companies under their control continued to sell on leads generated from indiscriminate text messages.
Both directors declined the BBC’s repeated requests for an interview but when Barry Sanders was confronted he told the BBC: “We haven’t done texting for years.”
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