The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined two firms in Stockport for disrupting the public with nuisance marketing.

IAG Nationwide Limited has been fined £100,000 for making more than 69,000 calls to people registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).

Recipients described the calls as “frightening”, “threatening” and “aggressive”. IAG also failed to correctly identify itself in the calls, did not give people the chance to opt-out of receiving them and provided misleading information about the nature of the call.

On top of the fine, the company has been issued with an enforcement notice by the ICO, ordering it to stop illegal marketing.

In a separate ICO investigation, Bramhall-based Costelloe and Kelly Limited has been issued with a £19,000 fine for sending more than 260,000 spam texts promoting funeral plans.

Andy Curry, ICO Enforcement Group Manager, said:

“Both these firms showed disregard for both the law and people’s right to privacy when they embarked on their unlawful marketing campaigns.

“We heard about the harassing nature of the calls made by IAG Nationwide, whilst Costelloe and Kelly ploughed ahead with their spam texts despite the fact the content was about funeral plans – a sensitive area which could cause upset to recipients.

“Reports from the public about these firms helped our investigations, leading to action to hold those responsible to account. I’d urge others targeted by nuisance calls, emails or texts, to report them to the ICO.”

Nuisance calls and spam texts and emails can be reported via the ICO’s website. Mobile phone users can also report spam texts to the free GSMA Spam Reporting Service by forwarding the message to 7726.

The ICO has published detailed guidance for companies carrying out marketing – explaining their legal requirements under the Data Protection Act and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The guidance covers the circumstances in which organisations are able to carry out marketing over the phone, by text, by email, by post or by 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
  8. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.