A firm that sells nuisance call-blocking systems is itself nursing a £170,000 fine from the UK's data watchdog, ironically for cold calling almost 200,000 people registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
Brighton-based Yes Consumer Solutions Ltd (YCSL) failed to check its marketing list against the TPS, and as such made 188,493 unsolicited direct marketing calls between October 2018 to October 2019.
Phoning individuals registered with TPS for longer than 28 days is a violation of electronic marketing law, better known to Reg readers as Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
YCSL, which in its own words sells "high quality Nuisance Call Prevention equipment and services," claims to have "helped 12,000 customers prevent unnecessary calls that can lead to concerns and worries within their own homes."
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The cold calls came to the attention of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) after 13 complaints were lodged with it and the TPS.
One of the complaints stated: "This company called my 87 year old father attempting to sell him a package which blocks calls, ironic I know. He is registered with TPS."
The ICO said YCSL bought a dataset from Yes Media Solutions Ltd, whose sole director at the time of that company's liquidation is now sole director of YCSL, and "failed to evidence how individuals whose data had been purchased via an insolvency practitioner for Yes Media Solutions Ltd in February 2017 have provided valid consent to be contacted by YCSL for the purpose of direct marketing."
"YCSL has accepted in representations that it did not screen the dataset which it obtained… and it has claimed that the 188,493 unsolicited direct marketing call were made to individuals whose data was contained within this dataset only," the ICO added [PDF].
The data watchdog fined YCSL some £170,000, ruling it "did deliberately contravene regulation 21 of PECR." If payment is received in full by the ICO by 26 August, the fine will be reduced by 20 per cent to £136,000. ®