The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Yes Consumer Solutions Limited (YCSL) £170,000 for making 188,493 unsolicited direct marketing calls to customers registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
The calls were made over a 12 month period between October 2018 and October 2019. YCSL sell nuisance call blocking systems, and had the means to check their marketing lists against the TPS, yet still contacted almost 200,000 people without their consent.
The ICO began investigating YCSL after receiving 13 complaints from members of the public, who also complained to the TPS. Some of the complaints received included:
“This company called my 87 year old father attempting him to sell him a package which blocks calls, ironic I know. He is registered with TPS.” (sic)
“They wanted me to pay £1.50 per week to stop nuisance calls, I told them I was registered on TPS, they said they would ring back.” (sic)
“They've called 5 to 6 times, twice today. We've said that we weren't interested and not to call but they still do. When my wife said we’d report them they claimed they couldn't be reported” (sic)
Contacting people who have been registered with the TPS for longer than 28 days is against electronic marketing laws, known as Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
Andy Curry, ICO Head of Investigations, said:
“People who register with the TPS do not expect to then receive nuisance calls, particularly not ones selling nuisance call blockers.
“Yes Consumer Solutions Limited should have known that they needed to check their marketing lists against the TPS. They had the means to do so. That is basic good practice.
“We hope this fine shows the importance of reporting nuisance calls, texts and emails to us. Every complaint matters, and we will continue to take action to stop nuisance marketers.”
Notes to Editors
- The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) 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 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.
- 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.
- The ICO has the power under PECR to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
- 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.