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.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a £50,000 fine to MyHome Installations Ltd for pursuing people who had specifically opted out of telephone marketing.

The ICO received 169 complaints concerning the calls to phone numbers listed on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), the UK’s official opt-out of telephone marketing register.

The complaints from members of the public involved receiving unwanted calls about electrical surveys and home security from the Maidstone based company.

An ICO investigation discovered that MyHome Installations bought data over 18 months from third party companies in order to market its services. These companies told the security business that the personal details had been screened against the ‘no call’ register.

But MyHome Installations said it was unable to provide any evidence of consent due to a previous marketing manager historically buying the data and adding it to their call lists without any reference to its source.

Steve Eckersley, ICO Head of Enforcement said:

“The Telephone Preference Service exists to protect the public from the scourge of unwanted, nuisance calls.

“This company blatantly ignored its responsibilities. It did not carry out the proper due diligence checks on its suppliers to make sure they were operating within the law and despite initial warnings from us, still didn’t resolve the problem.”

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) set out the rules around telephone marketing and clearly state it’s against the law to call people who have registered their phone number on the TPS list unless they state otherwise.

Mr Eckersley added:

“We think the complaints we received were just the tip of the iceberg.”

People said they felt ‘pestered’ by the company and pointed out to call operators they had no wish to receive the calls because their phone numbers were on the TPS.

One complainant commented: “Callers asking about my home security are of concern to me, as they may be sounding out the property prior to crime.”

Another said: “They wanted to carry out an electrical survey of my home and propose changes. I said no, I didn’t want to participate and then another girl phoned back half an hour later to pester me into getting a quote and insisted that I would be putting my home at risk if I didn’t”

The ICO has published detailed guidance for firms carrying out direct marketing by phone, text, email, post or fax.

 

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 has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
  1. The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
  1. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) sit alongside the Data Protection Act. They give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications.

There are specific rules on:

  • marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes;
  • cookies (and similar technologies);
  • keeping communications services secure; and
  • customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification, and directory listings. 
  1. We aim to help organisations comply with PECR and promote good practice by offering advice and guidance. We will take enforcement action against organisations that persistently ignore their obligations.
  2. Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) are subject to a right of appeal to the (First-tier Tribunal) General Regulatory Chamber against the imposition of the monetary penalty and/or the amount of the penalty specified in the monetary penalty notice.
  3. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
  4. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to org.uk/concerns