The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined a PPI claims management company £350,000 for making a record 146 million nuisance calls.
The ICO said that Your Money Rights left people feeling harassed and threatened by automated calls made over a four-month period. Your Money Rights did not have consent to make the marketing calls and had also broken rules by not including the company’s name and contact details in the recorded messages that it made to the public.
Complaints lodged to the ICO about the CMC’s calls included people saying that they were being called twice a day and being concerned that they had unwittingly pressed a button on their phone pad and selected an option that would draw them into a scam claim.
Following the ICO’s investigation, the directors of Your Money Rights, which is based in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, but has its registered address is Darlington, are seeking to dissolve the company. The ICO has said that it is committed to recovering the fine and will work with insolvency practitioners and the liquidator if the company moves to insolvency.
Steve Eckersley, ICO’s head of enforcement, said: “We’re cracking down on illegal automated calls on behalf of the British public. They are a blight on society that disregards people’s right to have their wish for peace and quiet in their own home respected.
“We know people find calls playing recorded messages particularly intrusive because they are unable to speak to a call agent. Your Money Rights should have known that the law around automated calls is stricter than for other marketing calls.”
The ICO’s powers will be further strengthened when the Government introduces a new law allowing it to fine the company directors behind nuisance call firms. Making directors responsible will stop them avoiding fines by putting their company into liquidation.
Eckersley said: “A change in law to make directors personally liable for illegal marketing calls can’t come soon enough.
“If a firm goes out of business to try and duck an ICO fine then they’re no longer making troublesome nuisance calls. But the new law will increase the tools we have to go after them and hold them fully accountable for the harassment, annoyance and disruption they’ve caused.”
John Mitchison, head of preference services, compliance and legal at 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.”