A Welsh company which was found to have made over 270,000 calls to people registered on the Telephone Preference Service has been sent away with a flee in its ear and fine of £80,000 after showing “naivety”, “ignorance” and a “reckless” regard to the laws governing telemarketing.
Rain Trading Limited, based in the small former woollen mill village of Lampeter, first came to the ICO’s attention in October 2018, when a call line identity (CLI) used by the company was spotted by the regulator for generating the most complaints for that month through the TPS.
Having established that the phone lines were being used by a subsidiary firm, Intelligent Home Trading, the ICO discovered that 99 complaints had been logged by people registered on the TPS, many of which were due to the aggressive and persistent nature of the callers.
Following ICO enquiries, Rain Trading claimed it had purchased the data used in the calls from two third-party brokers, although it admitted that consent had not been recorded and that it had not carried out due diligence checks.
Rain Trading simply thought the data providers had done all the necessary work and even admitted it had no way of running the numbers through the TPS as it did not have a licence to do so.
However, despite agreeing to work with the ICO, on further inspection, Rain Trading could provide no contracts with the data brokers, just a purchase order and a invoice.
It also failed to provide the ICO with any information about internal changes it had promised to make. Instead the company said it had sacked its entire workforce and that no further calls were being made.
When the ICO dug even deeper, it discovered that the firm had made 320, 558 outbound calls, 270,774 of which had been to consumers registered with the TPS.
Issuing the fine for the breach of PECR – and a stiff rebuke to boot – head of ICO Regions Ken Macdonald said: “Naivety and ignorance, as we found in this case, is simply not a valid defence and Rain Trading’s reckless approach towards electronic marketing compliance falls far short of the standard we expect to see.”
The company has now stopped using telemarketing.
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