Company directors who employ cold callers could be fined up to £500,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office if they are found to be in breach of new Government plans that deal with nuisance calling.
From next Spring, those directors whose companies are found to break the Privacy and Electronic Communications regulations could find themselves face with a hefty bill. Prior to this, only businesses were liable for fines, many of which try to escape paying nuisance call penalties by declaring bankruptcy – only to open up again under a different name.
The Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock, said: “Nuisance callers are a blight on society, causing significant distress to elderly and vulnerable people. We have been clear that we will not stand for this continued harassment, and this latest amendment to the law will strike another blow to those businesses and company bosses responsible.”
Hancock said that the Government’s tough new stance was just one of a number of measures it had introduced in its ongoing campaign against nuisance callers.
“These have included forcing companies to display their caller ID and working with Trading Standards to provide call blocking devices to vulnerable members of society,” he said.
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham added: “The people running nuisance call companies have little regard for the anxiety and upset they cause all in the name of turning a fast profit.
“We are inundated with complaints from people who are left shaken and distressed by the intrusion on their daily lives.”
To date, the ICO has issued fines totalling almost £3.7million to companies behind nuisance marketing. And this year alone, the ICO has fined firms responsible for more than 70 million calls and nearly 8 million spam text messages.
More than 114,000 nuisance calls and texts have been reported to ICO this year.
Jonathan White, legal director of National Accident Helpline, which has been campaigning to stamp out nuisance callers, said that the Government’s move was sensible but needed to backed up by even bolder measures.
“The plan will not prevent rogue firms from making nuisance calls to consumers who aren’t registered with the Telephone Preference Service,” said White.
“That’s why National Accident Helpline, alongside other signatories of the Ethical Market Charter, is calling for a blanket ban on cold calling to stamp out nuisance calls at source.”