ICO Bares Teeth at Nuisance Callers

I know a retired chap whose daily life is blighted by nuisance marketing phone calls. Some are from charities he donates to, and I’ve told him he’s entitled to donate and still opt out of receiving these. But others are entirely unsolicited, and despite the fact that about a year ago I got him to register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) the calls continue.

Now I remember when I signed up with the TPS a few years ago it was remarkably successful in stopping all nuisance calls, especially when, if one got through, I’d threaten to complain. However, my retired friend won’t complain because, he says, “it wouldn’t achieve anything”. Until recently, I’d have tended to agree with him, but it is good to see the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) showing that it does have teeth when it comes to enforcement of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR). The ICO have today announced that a monetary penalty notice of £90,000 has been served on a Glasgow company for a breach of the PECR.

DM Design, based in Glasgow, has been the subject of nearly 2,000 complaints to the ICO and the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The company consistently failed to check whether individuals had opted out of receiving marketing calls – in clear breach of the law – and responded to just a handful of the complaints received.

In one instance an employee refused to remove a complainant’s details from the company’s system and instead threatened to “continue to call at more inconvenient times like Sunday lunchtime”

And it is interesting to note that the ICO say they intend to issue similar “fines” against two other companies.

Of course, this kind of robust enforcement action can only really happen if people complain about this type of call, either to the ICO or to the TPS. I will be encouraging my retired friend to do so, in the knowledge that it might actually achieve something.

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