A company that made nearly 100 million nuisance calls over an 18 month-period has been fined £400,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) - a sum for nuisance phone calls only surpassed by TalkTalk (who else?), which was fined £750,000 in 2013 for making nuisance calls to its own customers.
Bedfordshire-registered Keurboom Communications mass-called people to check whether they were eligible for PPI compensation or road traffic-accident claims.
It included repeat calls, sometimes on the same day, and even during unsociable hours. To make matters worse, the company hid its identity, making it harder for call recipients to complain.
The ICO had issued seven information notices to the company to provide information but, when it failed to comply, the company and its director, Gregory Rudd, were prosecuted and fined at Luton Magistrates' Court in 2016.
Rudd told the Daily Mirror that he doesn't like receiving nuisance calls, but claimed that "it doesn't make them illegal".
He added: "Annoying is one thing, illegal is another. It's part of life isn't it? We make and receive telephone calls".
But companies can only make automated marketing calls to people if they have provided their specific consent - and as Keurboom did not have that consent it was in breach of the law.
The company has since been placed in voluntary liquidation, but the ICO said that it was committed to recovering the fine by working with the liquidator and insolvency practitioners.
In future, the ICO will be able to fine company directors behind nuisance call firms, as well, as a result of new laws making them directly responsible. It is intended to stop them from avoiding fines by simply putting their company into liquidation.
Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO, said that the company showed scant regard for the rules, causing upset and distress to people who were on the receiving end of one its 99.5 million calls.
"The unprecedented scale of its campaign and Keurboom's failure to co-operate with our investigation has resulted in the largest fine issued by the Information Commissioner for nuisance calls," he claimed.
The ICO said that 2016/17 had been its busiest year to date for nuisance call investigations, with 23 companies fined a total of £1.9m.
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