The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined a cold-calling company a record £400,000.
The ICO deemed Keurboom Communications to be in breach of privacy laws by making over 100 million nuisance calls. The unsolicited calls related to road-accident and insurance policy compensation.
Over 1,000 complaints were made about the now insolvent Bedfordshire-registered company. The ICO has said it is committed to recovering the fine despite Keurboom no longer operating.
This is a win for the Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign as we continue to see more and more cold-calling companies held to account for malpractice.
Responding to the record fine, Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said:
‘Nuisance calls are a menace, so it's right that the companies making them are held to account and hit with big fines.
‘The next Government should swiftly bring in new powers holding directors personally accountable for these unlawful calls.’
The news of this record fine comes just seven months after the ICO announced that directors of nuisance call companies face personal fines of up to £500,000. This was one of the asks of our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign and was another subsequent win for Which?. However, such action is yet to be taken.
To date, more than 500,000 people have signed to support the Which? campaign calling time on nuisance calls and texts.
Find out what you can do to avoid nuisance calls by reading our online guide.
Our Calling Time On Nuisance Calls has claimed another landmark victory.
Under plans announced today by the Prime Minister, nuisance callers will soon be blocked from contacting the most vulnerable in society. Theresa May is promising to provide susceptible members of the public, including the elderly, with the technology to do exactly that.
As part of the project, which is expected to cost £500,000, hi-tech call-blocking systems will be installed in the homes of some of the most vulnerable people in the UK.
trueCall devices block a range of calls including all recorded messages, silent calls and calls from numbers the homeowner has pre-identified as unrecognised.
The NHS, National Trading Standards and local councils will collaborate to identify and prioritise the most-at-risk individuals to ensure those requiring protection receive it promptly.
In a similar trial scheme piloted by the National Trading Standards scams team in 2016, 93% of participants said they felt safer in their homes, including one person who was previously duped into paying a scam caller £150,000.
In a press release from Number 10, the Prime Minister said:
‘We want to create a fairer society by cracking down on unscrupulous practices which target the most vulnerable.
‘This new, targeted scheme is the latest step in the government’s fight against nuisance calls, protecting those who are most at risk, including those with dementia.
‘We have seen people tricked out of thousands of pounds by scam callers and this government is determined to clamp down on their activities once and for all.’
Responding to the government’s plans, Alex Neill, our Managing Director of Home Services, said:
’It's right that the government takes action to help vulnerable people. Nuisance calls are a modern menace, so it's right that the government takes action to help vulnerable people who continue to be bombarded with them.
‘Government now needs to bring in as soon as possible its promised action to hold directors personally accountable when their company makes these unlawful calls.’
While this is an incredible victory in our efforts to halt the onslaught of nuisance calls many suffer week in, week out, there is still lots of work to do if we are to see the kind of success that protects many other sections of society.
We’ll be making sure the government carries out the plan it has set out today and more besides. Join the campaign and sign the petition above if you haven’t already done so.
In a big win for our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign, the government has announced that directors of companies behind nuisance calls will face personal fines of up to £500,000.
Previously, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has had the power to fine companies found to be making nuisance calls, but often these companies avoid paying the fines by declaring bankruptcy and restarting their businesses under a new name.
Now, this latest announcement means that bosses will be held personally accountable with an additional £500,000 fine. This will stop fine dodging and close one of the loopholes which keeps nuisance callers in business.
Our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign has been running for just over three and a half years now, and Director Level Accountability has been a headline ask since our Task Force recommendations were first published two years ago.
The campaign has gathered the backing of almost 500,000 supporters so far, and this latest news is a welcome win for both our supporters and for those who continue to be pestered by nuisance callers.
Which? Director of Home and Legal Services, Alex Neill, said:
‘It's good to see the Government has listened to consumers and will be introducing new rules to hold company directors to account.
‘This legislation will stop rogues dodging fines for bombarding consumers with nuisance calls and side-stepping the rules by closing one business and re-establishing a new one.’
But our work here is far from over. The fact remains that people are still pestered by this everyday menace.
We need to make sure that these new rules are introduced effectively and that the ICO uses its new powers to crackdown on company directors spamming us with nuisance calls and texts.
Which? campaigns to make people's lives simpler and fairer. Get involved in our latest campaigns and find out how to take action. Let's make change happen.