The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Keurboom Communications a record £400,000 after more than 1,000 people complained about the company cold calling them over matters such as road traffic accident claims and PPI compensation.
Over an 18 month period Keurboom managed to make about 99.5 million nuisance calls, with some people receiving repeat calls, sometimes on the same day and during unsociable hours. The company also hid its identity, making it harder for people to complain.
Companies can only make automated marketing calls to people if they have their specific consent. Keurboom did not have consent so was in breach of the law.
During its investigation into the company, the ICO issued seven information notices ordering Keurboom, which is registered in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, to provide information to the regulator. When it failed to comply, Keurboom and its director, Gregory Rudd, were prosecuted and fined at Luton Magistrates’ Court in April 2016.
Both Keurboom and Rudd pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an information notice, leading to Keurboom being fined £1,500 with £435.95 costs and a victim surcharge of £120. Rudd was fined £1,000 with costs of £435.95 and a victim surcharge of £100.
Further investigations have now led to the record fine and Keurboom being placed in voluntary liquidation. The ICO has said that it is committed to recovering the fine by working with the liquidator and insolvency practitioners.
Steve Eckerlsey, head of enforcement at the ICO said: “Keurboom showed scant regard for the rules, causing upset and distress to people unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of one its 100million calls.
“The unprecedented scale of its campaign and Keurboom’s failure to co-operate with our investigation has resulted in the largest fine issued by the Information Commissioner for nuisance calls.”
Mike Lordan, director of external affairs a the DMA (Direct Marketing Association), said: “We applaud the work of the Information Commissioner’s Office in their work against rogue marketers who do nothing for consumers and give the legitimate industry a bad name. 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.”
In 2016/17, the ICO had its busiest year for nuisance calls issuing 23 companies a total of £1.923 million for nuisance marketing.
The previous record nuisance call fine was in February 2016, when the ICO fined Prodial, a lead generation company, £350,000 for making 46 million nuisance calls.