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.

TV cold-calling company fined £225,000 after thousands of nuisance calls uncovered

News release: 18 June 2013

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has today issued two monetary penalties totalling £225,000 to two companies at the centre of the BBC Three programme ‘The Call Centre’. The penalties include the first penalty issued against a company linked to nuisance calls relating to Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). 

Nationwide Energy Services has received a penalty of £125,000, and We Claim You Gain £100,000 - both companies are part of Save Britain Money Ltd based in Swansea. The penalties were issued after the companies were found to be responsible for over 2,700 complaints to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or reports to the ICO using its online survey, between 26 May 2011 and end of December 2012.

Neither company carried out adequate checks to see whether the people they were calling had registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which is a legal requirement under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations governing electronic marketing.

ICO Director of Operations, Simon Entwisle, said:

“The public have told us that they are fed up with the constant bombardment of nuisance calls. While the activities of Nev and his call centre employees have provided entertainment for many, they hide a bigger problem within the cold calling industry. People have the legal right not to receive marketing calls and these companies have paid the price for failing to respect people’s wishes.”

The ICO has now issued penalties totalling over three-quarters of a million pounds to companies who’ve breached the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. A further 10 investigations are ongoing.

Simon Entwisle continued:

“While we’re pleased with our success to date, there is still more we can do, and we welcome discussions in the House of Commons last week around ways to improve the law around unwanted marketing calls and texts. We’d like to see it made easier for us to issue penalties to companies who are breaking the rules. Similarly, everyone involved seems to agree that the rules on how consumers give their consent to receive calls needs to be clearer.”

The ICO has setup an online reporting tool which people can use to send us the details of any unwanted marketing texts and calls. The ICO has received over 200,000 responses since the survey was setup in March last year and is urging people to continue to use this service as this information is used to inform its enforcement action.

 

Notes to Editors

1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

2. The ICO regulates the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

3. The ICO is on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and produces a monthly e-newsletter.

4. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is:

  • Fairly and lawfully processed
  • Processed for limited purposes
  • Adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • Accurate and up to date
  • Not kept for longer than is necessary
  • Processed in line with your rights
  • Secure 
  • Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection

5. If you need more information, please contact the ICO press office on 0303 123 9070.