A call centre, thought to be responsible for making millions of nuisance calls, has been raided by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
The business, located in Hove, East Sussex, was believed to be using automatic dialling technology to make four to six million recorded telephone calls each day.
The calls were predominantly about debt management or Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), made anonymously and sent without consent.
In addition, it was almost impossible to opt out of receiving calls from the company.
Another premises in Maidenhead thought to host the company’s servers has also been raided.
The ICO will now consider what action is necessary in order to compel the organisation to comply with the rules regarding recorded telephone calls.
If you’re receiving unsolicited marketing calls read our guide to put a stop to nuisance calls.
Ability to pester millions
ICO Enforcement Team Manager David Clancy said: ‘Our intelligence has identified this address as being responsible for making millions upon millions of recorded messages.
‘It is astounding to think this one small company has the ability to pester millions of people with unwanted calls on a huge scale.’
Following the raid the ICO will decide whether to penalise the company, which could receive a fine of up to £500,000 or an enforcement notice if it is found to have been breaching data rules.
‘The rules on making recorded messages are clear, and if the evidence proves the law has been broken we will act,’ Clancy added.
The raid follows a win for consumers after the government agreed to a comprehensive and co-ordinated action plan to tackle nuisance calls, with one of the measures promising to lower the threshold before the ICO can take action.
The changes came about thanks to your support for our Nuisance calls campaign, and includes Which? leading a task force reviewing how people consent to receive marketing calls.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘Millions of consumers are bombarded by these calls, often because they weren’t aware that their personal information might be used in third party marketing.
‘We now look forward to regulators using their new powers to help stop this growing problem. It’s also important that people continue to report complaints so regulators can crack down on companies who break the rules.’
The law is not retrospective so the Hove case will be investigated under the previous rules.