Three PECR pests fined £415,000 for illegal marketing

call_2The relentless pursuit of PECR miscreants by the Information Commissioner’s Office has triggered three separate fines – totalling £415,000 – for companies sending nuisance marketing to people about car finance, solar panels and funeral plans.

Colour Car Sales of Stoke-on-Trent, is a credit intermediary for used car finance. It has been fined £170,000 for sending spam text messages directing people to a number of car finance websites.

The messages were sent by the company from October 2018 to January 2020. This evidence was gathered from complaints made by people who had received them.

Meanwhile, Solarwave of Grays, Essex, has been fined £100,000 for making 73,217 unsolicited marketing calls about solar panel maintenance between January and October 2020. These were made to people who were registered on the Telephone Preference Service and who should not have received them.

The complaints received by both the Commissioner and the TPS suggest that Solarwave was seen to be rude and persistent when making calls, ignoring stop requests.

One person complained:”[I] asked them to stop calling before. Tried ignoring the frequent calls by not answering. Still ringing so picked up yesterday and told them again and that we are registered with you. Even more annoying now as we are now ex-directory. These companies are the bane of a lot of people’s lives and need to be stopped. As if life isn’t difficult enough at the moment!”

Finally, LTH Holdings, a telemarketing company based in Cardiff, has been fined £145,000 for a year long campaign which saw it make 1.4 million calls selling funeral plans to people who were also registered with the TPS. The ICO received 41 complaints.

The ICO has online reports that LTH adopted aggressive, coercive, and persuasive methods in its direct marketing, which is concerning given the target audience could be vulnerable people.

In all cases, the companies did not have the valid consent required to send direct marketing and in breach of the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR).

They were also issued with enforcement notices ordering them to stop marketing until consent had been obtained.

ICO Head of Investigations Andy Curry commented: “Companies that bombard people with messages and calls they haven’t asked for, to sell them products and services they don’t want, are not only a nuisance but can also cause huge distress, particularly to the more vulnerable. That’s why we’ve taken the robust action set out here today.

“Organisations are responsible for making sure the people they send marketing to have given their permission. They must also make sure they do not contact people who are registered with the TPS.

“Company directors who disregard the law should be in no doubt that we will pursue them – other businesses should take note.”

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