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 Glasgow-based company DialADeal Scotland Ltd (DDSL) for making more than half a million nuisance marketing calls.

The unsolicited calls were about non-existent Green Deal energy saving schemes including boiler and window replacement, loft insulation and home improvement grants.

These were made to telephone numbers which had been registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) where people had not given their permission to receive them – this is against the law.

The calls, which were made between August 2019 and March 2020, generated more than 500 complaints to the ICO and the TPS by TPS subscribers, one of the highest numbers received.

These complaints suggested that DDSL had used several false trading names and the ICO’s investigation found that the company also disguised the telephone numbers they were calling from – this is also illegal.

The company has been fined £150,000 by the ICO.

Ken Macdonald, Head of ICO Regions, said:

”Dial A Deal were breaking the law on a number of fronts, not only were they making calls to people without their permission, they were also hiding their identity using false names and spoof numbers.

“Calls about Green Deal schemes can be a real problem as people often believe they are legitimate but, thanks to the complaints made by the public, we’ve been able to take action.

“Companies making similar nuisance calls should take note, we use our powers where we see serious breaches of the law.”

Complaints included:

  • “Man named (WITHHELD) knew my name and said he was from the green allowance team and they are in our area at the moment and we may be eligible for money off home improvements under the green allowance scheme (sic).”
  • “Said they were a government department giving grants for insulation etc under the Government Green Deal (sic).”
  • “They said they were from Home Advice Unit and that they were calling all the houses in the KY area to see if they were eligible for some home improvements after the recent bad weather (of which we have had none, incidentally). She asked me to confirm that I still lived at my address and I asked how she had my details. She said they were on a screen in front of her, but didn't know how they had been obtained. I asked her not to call again and hung up (sic).”
  • “Government funding for home energy. At this point I informed the caller that I was registered with TPS and they claimed they asked if I had updated TPS as it now has to be done annually. I then terminated the call and checked TPS is still valid on TPS website which it is (sic).”

The ICO has also issued the company with an Enforcement Notice ordering them to stop making unsolicited marketing calls and has successfully blocked its attempt to be struck off the Companies House register to try and avoid paying any fine.

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’s powers under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) which cover nuisance marketing include issuing fines of up to £500,000. It can also apply for court orders for winding-up companies and, by working closely with partners, get director’s disqualified. More details of this work are available here.
  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.