The Information Commissioner has fined a firm that made nearly 100 million automated nuisance calls over an 18-month period £400,000 after receiving more than 1,000 complaints. This is the largest such fine levied to date.
Keurboom Marketing made the calls seeking to create leads for firms regarding payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling and compensation claims for road traffic accidents.
According to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) press release, 'Keurboom showed scant regard for the rules, causing upset and distress to people unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of one its 100 million calls'.
The company, which was formed in May 2014 and put into liquidation in April this year, failed to cooperate with the ICO in its investigation. The last filed balance sheet shows assets of less than £1,000, so it is debatable whether there will be any assets with which to pay the fine. This has led to calls for the directors of such companies to be made personally liable for fines of this nature.
The only sanction on the director of the company was a fine of £1,000 plus costs and surcharge of £535.95 for failing to comply with an information notice issued by the ICO, which is an offence.
The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications. There are clear 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 scale of the fine seems large, but amounts to only 0.4 p per call.