A company that made 75 million nuisance calls in just four months has been handed a £350,000 fine from the UK's data protection watchdog.
Mis-sold Products UK Ltd made the automated marketing calls between November 2015 and March 2016, eliciting 146 complaints to the Information Commissioner's Office.
Andy Curry, ICO enforcement group manager, said the company "blatantly ignored the laws on telephone marketing, making a huge volume of intrusive calls over a short period of time and without any apparent attempt to ensure they had the consent of the people they were harassing".
The ICO's investigation found that the biz used software to send automated messages to push PPI compensation claims in 74,965,420 calls.
These robocalls broke telemarketing laws because Mis-sold did not have the recipients' consent and the calls failed to identify the organisation making them.
The ICO said that, although the firm might not have deliberately set out to cause distress, it did deliberately send out automated calls on a "massive scale" – and these resulted in distress.
Some complainants said they received calls "almost daily", while other said they couldn't opt out.
"We have been receiving calls for several months from this number, they call twice a day playing the same messages and even pressing 9 does not stop the calls, despite the promise to remove our number. It is very inconvenient and frustrating we are unable to opt out," said one.
The ICO also noted as an aggravating factor that the firm had failed to engage in the investigation.
The director has also attempted to have the biz struck off the Companies House register – a move that the ICO said it had blocked.
"This is to allow all options to be considered for recovery of the penalty, and for the actions of the director in running the company to be fully scrutinised," the body said.
The ICO also used the opportunity to lobby the government to bring forward long-promised plans that would allow it to fine company directors, rather than just companies.
"In the absence of a change in the law, the ICO will continue to face challenges in the recovery of penalties, and rogue directors will think they can get away with causing nuisance to members of the public," Curry said. ®