The Government has outlined its plans to crackdown on nuisance calls, nearly three months after agreeing to bring forward legislation to tackle what has been branded a “public menace”.
Under a Ministry of Justice consultation, launching this week, claims management firms could face fines of up to 20% of their annual turnover. This means some could potentially be fined millions of pounds, up from the current £500,000 maximum that the Information Commissioner’s Office can impose.
This will bring it in line with fines for mis-selling, although even these are not worked out from annual turnover. Scottish & Southern Electric (SSE) has the dubious honour of holding the record for the largest fine for mis-selling; it was slapped with a £10.5m monetary penalty in April last year.
Next week regulations will be laid out in Parliament to simplify how Ofcom can share information with the ICO and the Insolvency Service, while later this year the Government will also launch a consultation on lowering the threshold for ICO action.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, said: “The scale of these fines shows just how serious we are about stopping them. The Claims Management Regulator already takes touch action against companies which break the rules, suspending and closing down rogue firms, but now these fines will give us an extra weapon to drive bad behaviour out of the industry.”
Commenting on the Government’s action plan, the DMA’s chief of operations Mike Lordan said: “The Government’s action plan is a welcome warning to the rogue companies responsible for the nuisance calls that cause misery for millions of people and severely damage the legitimate telemarketing industry.
“As the industry’s representative, the DMA will play a leading role in implementing the action plan. This will not only benefit people at home, but also the tens of thousands businesses that lawfully use telemarketing to win new customers and drive sales.”
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