Cold Caller Company issued maximum fine by ICO for 99.5 million nuisance calls

cold callers hit by maximum fine

The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a £400,000 fine to Keurboom Communications Limited for harassing millions of people with unwanted nuisance calls.

The fine is reportedly the largest ever issued for nuisance calls. The fine brings the investigation to a close after thousands of complaints were received about the company’s nuisance calls.

Back in April 2016, the ICO issued several notices ordering the company to provide certain information to aid their investigation. However, the company refused to comply.

The company’s director, Gregory Rudd, was therefore taken to Court. Both the company and the director pleaded guilty for withholding information and not complying with the information request notices.

Both the company and the director have been fined and have had to pay victim surcharges.

Almost 100 million calls made!

Almost 100 million calls were reportedly made over an 18 month period asking people if they were involved in a road traffic accident, or if they had heard about PPI compensation. You’ve probably heard the pitch over the phone many times and hung up in frustration as the automated voice drones on. With the huge amount of calls made, the scale of this scandal is far and wide. According to the ICO, complaints were made after people received “repeat calls, sometimes on the same day and during unsociable hours”.

Under data protection legislation, companies and authorities have a responsibility to look after customer data and ensure that it’s not misused. In order to use someone’s information, there needs to be consent. Keurboom reportedly had no consent to make these calls to millions of people and are therefore in breach of the Data Protection Act. The calls also breached the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations where no one is allowed to make automated calls for marketing purposes; unless of course they have received permission to do so.

Head of Enforcement at the ICO, Mr Steve Eckersley, explained the reason for the large fine:

“Keurboom showed scant regard for the rules, causing upset and distress to people unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of one of its 100 million calls.”

Keurboom showed complete disregard and lack of respect to millions of people – all in the hopes that a number of people might be interested in their pitch.

As we’re sure many of you will agree, these calls are typically annoying, waste time, and are an unwanted interruption. The caller’s identity was either hidden or frequently changed so receivers had a hard time identifying or blocking cold calls.

Keurboom has since gone into liquidation and the ICO will be working closely with the liquidator and insolvency authorities to recover the £400,000 fine.

At the moment, £400,000 is the maximum penalty fine the ICO can issue to those who breach data protection rules. However, after the implementation of new legislation, it is set to be increased significantly whilst also allowing the ICO to fine company directors.

It’s more than likely that you have had your fair share of nuisance calls. In fact, the ICO has been working incredibly hard in the last couple of years tackling companies who make these calls. Since last year, the ICO has fined 23 companies a whopping total of £1.923 million for cold calling.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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