Two companies, which made nearly 1.73 million direct marketing phone calls to people who registered on the telephone preference service, have been fined by the Information and Commissioners Office. DM Design Bedrooms Ltd, based in Glasgow, has been fined £160,000 for making more than 1.6 million cold-calls and Solartech North East Ltd, based in Middlesbrough, has also been fined £90,000 for making 74,902 calls also to numbers registered on a do not call list.
The TPS is the only official UK ‘do not call’ register for opting out of live telesales calls. The TPS register is established and supported by legislation. Organisations which want to make live telesales calls in the UK are legally required to screen their sales lists against the TPS list. It is against the law to make marketing calls to people who have registered with TPS, unless those people have given consent to being called.
Enforcement Manager at the ICO Andy Curry said: “Making calls to people who are registered with the TPS is completely unacceptable, and we will take robust enforcement action against firms that are contacting people without their consent. We appreciate the public’s help by reporting nuisance calls to the ICO. In the case of DM Design, the 99 people who complained led to us uncovering a huge nuisance call campaign which was breaking the law.”
DM Design Bedrooms Ltd made more than 1.6 million nuisance calls between April and November 2017 and, during that time, more than 1.6 million nuisance calls and the ICO received 99 complaints including: “Having told this company before that I do not want to receive calls from them, it is concerning that they just ignore this and continue to harass people.”
The ICO also investigated Solartech North East Ltd, based in Middlesbrough, and found they made 74,902 calls to numbers registered with the TPS between May and June 2017. The ICO found that Solartech did not screen any of its calls against the Telephone Preference Service list and had not even signed up to use the service, despite claiming it did so. Solartech had also purchased data from a third party. The ICO have also issued to both DM Design Bedrooms Ltd and Solartech North East Ltd ordering both firms to stop their illegal marketing activity.
What to do if you receive a nuisance call.
People who receive nuisance marketing calls, emails and texts is to ask the company to remove their details from their lists, read the small print and be careful about ticking boxes which could give them consent to contact you. People can also report cold calls or texts that either played a recorded voice message or from a real person, to the ICO. The ICO will use the information you provide to investigate and take action against companies responsible.
What is a nuisance call ?
A nuisance call or cold-call is an unsolicited telephone call from a business seeking to attract new customers. Cold Calling is not illegal, however there are restrictions on how and when a marketing cold-call should be made. The new GDPR regulations along with the ICO’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations tighten up these restrictions, and as from 25 May 2018, any organisation involved in cold calling will have to abide by strict guidelines or face hefty fines. The only instance where you can be lawfully cold-called is if you have given consent before being contacted.
In addition, organisations cannot call numbers that are registered with the TPS. The TPS (Telephone Preference Service) is a free service. It is the official opt out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls. It is forbidden for organisations to make telephone contact with anyone registered on the TPS database.
To register with the TPS follow this https://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/number_type.html
You can also log a complaint with the ICO here: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/nuisance-calls-and-messages/