The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

Sales calls

Direct Marketing Calls

Concerns about sales calls reported to the ICO for December (4,996) are down on November (7,761) and at their lowest level since October 2012. We believe it is a strong indication that the high public interest and concerted action by regulators, consumer and industry groups is having a deterrent effect. It is particularly encouraging as it is now much easier for the public to report concerns than before.  

There has been approximately an 84% reduction in this figure since March 2013 (31,663).

Automated calls is the most complained about area.

 
Download in .csv format

Falls in the volumes of concerns reported to us correlate with our issuing of Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) to Tetrus (28 November 2012) and DM Design (20 March 2013).

Live calls

Live calls are unsolicited direct marketing calls received by consumers from a real live person.

We routinely analyse data collected from consumers and use it to identify organisations that cause us concern. We collect the data from concerns reported to the ICO and the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).


Download in .csv format

TheThe top three topics in live calls are: accident claims, energy or green energy and PPI reclaim (some of which will be genuine market research, others will be used to generate leads).

We revised the categories on our online reporting tool at the beginning of January 2014, to improve the relevance of the information we are able to collect and drop into topics.

We still receive a lot of complaints classed as ‘none of the above’, however on closer analysis these usually reflect the topics shown above. We will continue to review this data to identify new topics of calls. 

Over the course of this year (April 2013 to March 2014) we have monitored 25 organisations in total for compliance with the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations. We have also held 13 compliance meetings with those organisations to discuss how they can improve their compliance when engaged in direct marketing to consumers. The average reduction in complaints for those organisations which successfully negotiate ICO monitoring is 73%.

In this quarter, we have also accompanied the Ministry of Justice Claims Management Regulatory Unit on four compliance audits of claims management companies, where we have been able to provide advice and assistance with the requirements of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.    

We are monitoring the following 10 companies because we have identified concerns about their compliance with the Regulations:

  • Fusion Media Solutions Limited
  • Money Saver Telecom Limited
  • Cold Call Elimination Limited
  • AMS Nationwide Limited
  • My IML Limited
  • Action 365 Limited
  • Enviroglaze Limited
  • Eolive Limited
  • EE (Everything Everywhere)
  • Cascade Financial Limited

We have stopped monitoring the following companies have because of improvements to complaints volumes:

  • British Sky Broadcasting
  • Bulldog Security Limited
  • Money Made Simple Limited
  • Apple Panels Limited t/a Apple Home Improvements

We took action against the following companies following monitoring:

  • Buckley and Henshaw Limited (issued a Preliminary Enforcement Notice)
  • Isisbyte Limited (issued an Enforcement Notice)
  • SLM Connects Limited (issued an Enforcement Notice)

The following company entered administration before ICO enforcement action:

  • CCS Advice

Assessment of organisations, January to March 2014

Improvement rating Description Name/ No. of organisations

Good improvements demonstrated.
Enforcement action unlikely to be required.

British Sky Broadcasting;
Bulldog Security Limited;
Money Made Simple Limited;
Apple Panels Limited t/a Apple Home Improvements.

Concerns about compliance.
Enforcement action possible.

Fusion Media Solutions Limited;
Money Saver Telecom Limited;
Cold Call Elimination Limited;
AMS Nationwide Limited;
My IML Limited;
Action 365 Limited;
Enviroglaze Limited;
Eolive Limited;
EE (Everything Everywhere);
Cascade Financial Limited.

Risk of non-compliance.
Enforcement action under consideration.

2 x lead generation
1 x domestic appliances

Automated calls

We routinely analyse data collected from consumers, and use it to identify organisations that cause us concern. We collect the data from the concerns raised by consumers using our online reporting tool.

On 1 January 2014, we revised the categories on our online reporting tool to improve the information we are able to collect. The top three subjects in automated calls are: PPI, debt management, and ‘green’ energy, which included calls about boilers and solar panels. Green energy was a particularly common topic making up approximately 66% of all complaints about automated calls across the quarter.

 
Download in .csv format

During this quarter (January to March 2014), we issued 97 third party information notices to telecommunications service providers, to try to identify a range of telephone numbers being used to cold call consumers.

We use third party information notices to try to identify the subscriber details of telephone numbers we believe have made unsolicited marketing calls to consumers. Often, where it is possible to identify the numbers, they link to overseas organisations and we make referrals to the appropriate regulatory authority, if there is one, in that country.

In March the ICO signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Trade Commission in the USA to assist in sharing intelligence and themes relating to unsolicited marketing communications.

Read our advice about what to do if you have received unwanted sales calls

We published the above information on 19 May 2014. We plan to update it each quarter.