The relentless pursuit of telemarketing crooks shows no sign of slowing down, with the Information Commissioner’s Office fining yet another rogue operator £200,000 for what it branded a “sustained and exploitative campaign” of nuisance calls.
It’s OK Ltd – a Brighton-based company whose registered directors are Christopher John Davison and Lee Robert Hill – was incorporated in May 2016.
According to Companies House, the firm specialises in the repair of household appliances and home and garden equipment, however, an ICO investigation found the business was more interested in doing all it could to flog white goods warranties.
In fact, it was so desperate to get sales it made 1,752,149 illegal phone calls during the period July 1 2019 to June 1 2020 to people registered with the Telephone Preference Service. This equates to an average of more than three calls a minute for a whole year.
Some complaints received by the ICO suggested the company would attempt to mislead individuals that their white good warranties had expired and encourage them to pay for services they may not have needed.
The ICO’s investigation also found evidence to suggest that It’s OK was potentially targeting elderly individuals.
One complainant said: “They called my Mum (who is 82) and bambozzeled [sic] her into talking [sic] out an extended warranty on her 10 year old washing machine – they talked into paying them £194 including VAT – I then sent them an email to cancel and they kept calling trying to get her to keep it – this is not ok”. [sic]
Another said: “Tried to rush me into renewing warranty on washing implying warranty had expired recently. Actually warranty expired years ago.” [sic]
It’s OK claimed it had sourced its telephone data from a third party organisation, however, the ICO found that the firm failed to carry out sufficient due diligence checks into the data and was unable to demonstrate valid notification by individuals registered with the TPS that they did not object to receiving marketing calls from It’s OK. This is in breach of the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
Slapping the business with a £200,000 monetary penalty, ICO head of investigations Andy Curry said: “We are always happy to support legitimate companies who want to comply with the law. Last year, we released updated direct marketing guidance to help those very businesses.
“That is, however, not what was happening here. The actions of this company represented a sustained and exploitative campaign potentially targeting the most vulnerable. Pressure tactics, misleading statements and contacting individuals who are registered on the TPS is shameful behaviour.
“In taking this action, we say to the public that we will continue to be on your side and protect you, and we say to any other organisation operating outside of the law that we will pursue every case like this brought to us to the fullest extent.”
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