Marketing firm fined £70,000 by ICO

Posted: 5th November 2014

Nuisance callA direct marketing company which made hundreds of unsolicited calls to members of the public has paid compensation to those involved and has been fined £70,000.

In a case which underlined the increasing vigilance and muscle of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the company’s breaches of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2011 were described as ‘serious’.

Paignton firm EMS Advisory Services had at one point enjoyed the dubious distinction of being in the ICO’s ‘top 20’ most complained about organisations. It had made more than 600 calls to people who had registered their numbers with the Telephone Preference Service, indicating their unwillingness to accept unsolicited calls.

In imposing the financial penalty, the ICO noted that some members of the public had received repeated calls from the company, despite asking for them to cease. The calls were likely to cause substantial distress and, in some cases, had actually done so. In one instance, a man whose wife was in hospital had complained of receiving five unsolicited calls from the company in a single day.

The ICO had power to impose a fine of up to £500,000. However, in setting the level of the penalty, it noted that the company had fully engaged in the investigation and had since taken substantial remedial action. The company had also suffered damage to its reputation and had paid compensation to those who complained.