The Information Commissioner’s Office has fined an East Sussex marketing company £100,000 for making 75,649 nuisance calls.

AMS Marketing Ltd, of Peacehaven, made the calls to people who had opted out of receiving marketing calls by registering with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).

This is against the law unless people give specific consent to receive marketing calls from a particular company. The ICO investigation found no evidence that AMS Marketing had done that.

The calls were made between 1 October 2016 and 31 December 2017. A total of 103 complaints were made to the ICO and TPS.

People who complained said:

“They knew my name and address and claimed that I was legally owed circa £1,800 for a non-fault traffic accident.”

“Saying we had an accident and they can help with compensation. They asked for my daughter who has not been driving long, so I found it very stressful and disturbing.”

“Trying yet again to persuade us to claim compensation despite being with TPS and asking them repeatedly not to ring us.”

The ICO investigation found that AMS Marketing bought lists of data from other companies, but that no checks were made to find out if any of the people listed were registered with the TPS.

An ICO spokesperson said:


“Firms that buy in lists of data are duty-bound to check whether people are registered with the TPS.

“Firms that fail to make the proper checks, do so at their peril. The ICO can and will take 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 has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 2018, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
  3. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) 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.
  4.  The ICO has the power to impose a civil monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000 for a breach of PECR.
  5.  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.  The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law which took effect in the UK on 25 May 2018. Its provisions are included in the Data Protection Act 2018. The Act also includes measures related to wider data protection reforms in areas not covered by GDPR, such as law enforcement and security. The UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.
  7.  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.
  8.  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. 
  9.  Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by ICO.
  10.  To report a concern go to ico.org.uk/concerns or call the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113.