The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined a Dartford-based telephone services company £85,000 for making illegal nuisance calls.
For over two years, True Telecom Ltd called people who were registered on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and people who had specifically asked the firm not to contact them. This is against the law.
Despite a warning from the ICO, the calls continued. Between April 2015 and April 2017, the ICO received 201 complaints. People said the calls were misleading because callers gave the impression they were from BT Openreach and the number was withheld.
Steve Eckersley, the ICO’s Head of Enforcement said:
“The rules around nuisance calls are clear. There’s no excuse for making marketing calls to people who have explicitly asked not to receive them.”
It’s against the law to call telephone numbers registered on the TPS unless an individual has given specific consent. The ICO’s investigation found that True Telecom was unable to provide this consent and was in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
Mr Eckersley added:
“These calls are at best annoying and at worst downright distressing, and companies who pester the pubic in this way must understand they won’t get away with it. The ICO will take action.”
The ICO has also issued an enforcement notice ordering True Telecom to stop its illegal practices. The company should stop calling people on the TPS and people who have asked not to be called. If it fails to do so, the company could face court action.
Notes to Editors
- The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
- 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.
- 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.
- The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law which will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018. The Government has confirmed the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR. The Government is introducing measures related to this and wider data protection reforms in a Data Protection Bill.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
- To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.