Home improvement company receives £50,000 fine for hundreds of unlawful calls

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has served home improvement company, Amber Windows, with a £50,000 fine after an investigation discovered they had made unsolicited marketing calls to people who had registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which govern telephone marketing, prohibit making unsolicited telephone calls to people who have put their number on the TPS register.

The ICO has also issued an Enforcement Notice against Amber Windows ordering them not to call subscribers who have previously told them not to ring or subscribers who have not consented to them calling and have registered the number with the TPS for at least the required 28 days.

ICO Director of Operations, Simon Entwisle said:
“This fine shows companies running marketing campaigns cannot plague the lives of people who have expressly asked not to receive unsolicited calls. We wrote repeatedly to Amber Windows asking them to stop, they ignored us. Now they are facing a £50,000 penalty and a legally enforceable order to cease their unlawful practices.

“We will continue to target these companies that bombard households across the UK with nuisance calls and texts.”

The ICO received just over 160,000 reports about these in 2013/14; the majority relating to PPI and claims management, debt management and green energy deals. In response

  • They issued five civil monetary penalties relating to marketing calls and texts totalling nearly half a million pounds;
  • prosecuted nine organisations and their directors under the Data Protection Act for not registering with the ICO (£5000 statutory fine per legal entity);
  • undertook seven prosecutions related to breaches of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, issued four enforcement notices and agreed one undertaking;
  • monitored 25 organisations and met with 13 others to ensure they had action plans to reduce the number of complaints we received about them (leading to a 70% reduction in complaints about monitored organisations); and
  • we have written to 40 organisations asking them to submit plans for improving their business practices in the area of consent.

Are you confident that your policies and practices reflect the expectations of these regulations? Are your staff adequately trained? Do they understand the information they are handling and how it should be respected?
The ICO has published detailed guidance for direct marketers explaining their legal requirements under the Data Protection Act and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The guidance covers the circumstances in which organisations are able to carry out marketing over the phone, by text, by email, by post or by fax.

For more information about the TPS or your organisations responsibilities, please call us on 07793 600 650.

Reference: ICO News release: 3 April 2014
http://ico.org.uk/news/latest_news/2014/home-improvement-company-receives-50000-fine-for-hundreds-of-unlawful-calls-03042014