Fine for firm be­hind 146,000,000 PPI calls

Western Mail - - NEWS - Ian Lewis news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

ACOMPANY be­hind a record 146,000,000 il­le­gal calls in just four months has been fined £350,000 by the In­for­ma­tion Com­mis­sioner’s Of­fice (ICO).

Peo­ple said they were left feel­ing ha­rassed and threat­ened by the au­to­mated PPI calls ini­ti­ated by Car­marthen­shire-based Your Money Rights Ltd.

The Am­man­ford firm was re­spon­si­ble for the most amount of au­to­mated calls to re­sult in an ICO fine to date.

The calls also broke the rules by not in­clud­ing the com­pany’s name and con­tact de­tails in the recorded mes­sage.

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.

Ex­am­ples of com­plaints the ICO re­ceived about the calls in­cluded peo­ple stat­ing: “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.”

An­other com­plainant added: “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.”

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 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.”

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