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 fined Leeds-based Brazier Consulting Services Ltd (BCS) £200,000 for making more than 11 million unlawful claims management calls.

An ICO investigation, prompted by complaints from the public, found the firm made repeated nuisance calls to people about PPI.

Natasha Longson, ICO Investigations Manager, said:

“It’s clear from the complaints we received that these calls caused real distress. What’s more, the firm continued to bombard people by phoning even when they’d been asked to stop.

“It’s thanks to members of the public that this firm came to our attention and we could take action to bring a stop to this. I would encourage anyone pestered by other rogue operators to report them to the ICO.”

BCS failed to evidence sufficient consent to call any of the complainants. The ICO also found no evidence to suggest that BCS provided any training whatsoever to staff in relation to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).                                     

Calls made by BCS led to 316 complaints to the ICO and Telephone Preference Service (TPS). Complaints included:

“The advisor was aggressive in manner and I felt quite threatened by his attitude. I am now worried that they intend to charge me for a service that I do not want, have never contacted them regarding PPI , and I have not signed any documents to the contrary. All I want is for them to stop these aggressive phone calls.”

 

“I was asked if I had made any PPI claims. I then asked for the caller to remove my number from the system. She then said that she was not allowed to remove numbers from the system, and that I would have to do it myself. I asked her if she was aware of the GDPR regulations and she said, "Of course, but are you on the GDPR?"”

 

“I told them clearly I was not interested and asked where they got my data from. Refused to tell me and said it was obtained legally and they were FCA authorised and GDPR compliant. I asked to not be contacted again and remove me from their listing but then got another call.”

The law banning unsolicited calls for direct marketing purposes in relation to claims management services came into force in September 2018. The ICO website clearly sets out the rules around telephone marketing.

The ICO also issued BCS with an Enforcement Notice compelling them to stop their illegal marketing activity and informing them that failure to do is a criminal offence.

Members of the public who believe they have been the victim of nuisance texts, calls or emails, should report them to the ICO, get in touch via live chat or call our helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) 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 UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), 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 under PECR to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
  5. 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.
  6. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
  7. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.