A company behind a record high 146 million illegal calls about PPI has been fined £350,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
People were left feeling harassed and threatened by the recorded – also known as automated – calls initiated by Carmarthenshire-based Your Money Rights Ltd.
The company was responsible for the most amount of automated calls to result in an ICO fine to date.
Firms can only make automated marketing calls to people if they have their specific consent. Your Money Rights did not have consent so was in breach of the law.
The calls, made over a four month period, also broke the rules by not including the company’s name and contact details in the recorded message.
Steve Eckersley, ICO Head of Enforcement, said:
“We’re cracking down on illegal automated calls on behalf of the British public. They are a blight on society that disregards people’s right to have their wish for peace and quiet in their own home respected.
“We know people find calls playing recorded messages particularly intrusive because they are unable to speak to a call agent. Your Money Rights should have known that the law around automated calls is stricter than for other marketing calls.”
Following the ICO’s investigation, the directors of Your Money Rights Ltd, which is based in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, but has its registered address is Darlington, are seeking to dissolve the company. The ICO is committed to recovering the fine and will work with insolvency practitioners and the liquidator if the company moves to insolvency.
The ICO’s powers will be further strengthened when the government introduces a new law allowing it to fine the company directors behind nuisance call firms. Making directors responsible will stop them avoiding fines by putting their company into liquidation.
Mr Eckersley said:
“A change in law to make directors personally liable for illegal marketing calls can’t come soon enough.
“If a firm goes out of business to try and duck an ICO fine then they’re no longer making troublesome nuisance calls. But the new law will increase the tools we have to go after them and hold them fully accountable for the harassment, annoyance and disruption they’ve caused.”
Examples of complaints the ICO received about the calls include:
- “I feel threatened by these unsolicited and frequent nuisance calls and am concerned that if I follow one of the options I will be drawn into a scam.”
- “They are calling twice a day. It drives me insane. I have a very sick relative I help care for so need to answer the phone.”
- “I feel harassed by these continuous automated calls that I have not requested.”
- “These are unsolicited calls that are becoming unbearable due to their persistence, regularity (1-2 per day) and interruption of my daily activities, usually close to meal times. It’s time they were stopped!”
- “I am exceptionally annoyed that these companies are allowed to intrude into my home and not even have the decency to have a real person on the line.”
Nuisance calls can be reported via the ICO’s online reporting tool.
People can complain about PPI themselves for free, without using a claims company. More information about this is available from the FCA.