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The Lead Experts Limited fined £70,000.00 for 100,000 nuisance calls

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The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued The Lead Experts Limited (TLEL) a £70,000.00 fine for reportedly making 111,072 unwanted nuisance calls.

TLEL violated data protection principles and the Privacy and Electronic Correspondence Regulations (PECR) when it failed to obtain real and proper consent from the people they had bombarded with nuisance calls, asking if they wanted to reduce their energy bills.

Today, direct marketing is easier than ever. Making calls to tens of thousands of people is incredibly feasible, and it doesn’t cost a lot to do it.

Rules are stricter when it comes to automated calls

They can be a lot more frustrating for receivers as they can’t immediately speak to a human being to tell them that they don’t want to receive any further calls or even to ask a question.

The ICO found two different recordings:

“Hello you could save up to £600 on your energy. This is your call to activate your gas and electricity energy reduction. Press 2 to speak with one of our energy experts or press 9 to opt out. Again for your reductions press 2 now.”
“Congratulations you’ve been chosen to have the chance of winning a 7-night packaged holiday for two. Simply press 2 to now and complete a quick free energy comparison to save yourself £600 per year. Press 2 now to have a chance to win or 9 to opt out.”

People shouldn’t have to waste their time listening to these unwarranted calls and neither should they be the ones responsible to ‘opt-out’ when they never opted-in in the first place.

The PECR protects the public from being harassed by advertising companies with direct calls or electronic correspondences for marketing reasons unless the recipient has given consent to receive them.

In a world where data is practically a currency, companies are investing a lot of effort into obtaining as much personal data from us as possible. When we want to read something or buy something online, we often have to register an account and provide an email address and maybe even a phone number. However, this does not equate to giving consent for a company to take that information to contact us to try and sell things we don’t want or need.

In this case, TLEL bought the personal data from another company before paying them to make the calls. In instructing another firm to call people from the list, it was in control of the personal data. TLEL therefore had a responsibility to check that the people on the contact list had given their consent to receive these calls.

Head of enforcement at the ICO, Steve Eckersley, said:

“Companies cannot hide behind paying another firm to make the calls for them. They must take responsibility and, ultimately accept the consequences if they break the law.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office therefore issued a £70,000.00 fine and a legal notice to stop TLEL from making any more illegal calls. Companies House states that the disgraced company has been struck off and dissolved.

If you have a problem with unwanted nuisance calls or messages you can report them online using the ICO’s online reporting tool: https://ico.org.uk/concerns/nuisance-calls-and-messages/

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

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First published by Author on February 26, 2018
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