A company that claims to block unwanted telephone calls has been fined £75,000 after making ‘aggressive’ cold calls to elderly and vulnerable people.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued the fine after receiving hundreds of complaints about the company – Cold Call Elimination.
The Chichester-based firm telephoned people to sell a call-blocking service and a device to stop unsolicited calls – the same type of calls the company itself was making.
If you’re being plagued by unwanted calls you can use our free tool to report nuisance phone calls.
Elderly and vulnerable people targeted
Over a period of nearly two years, the ICO and Telephone Preference Service (TPS) received 382 complaints from people who were registered with the TPS.
The TPS is the free statutory service enabling people to opt out of receiving cold calls. Companies are not allowed by law to call anyone registered on this service unless they have specific consent to do so.
Elderly and vulnerable people complained about aggressive cold calls that pressured them to subscribe to a service similar to the TPS.
One complainant said the sales person implied they were calling from the TPS. Another complained that cash was taken from their account despite turning the firm down.
Clamp down on nuisance call firms
The firm – based in Chichester, West Sussex – was monitored by the ICO to see whether it would improve but it continued to make the aggressive calls and ignored warnings.
Head of enforcement for the ICO Steve Eckersley said: ‘This company clearly knew the law but continued to break it by calling people registered with the TPS.
‘It’s clear some of the people called by this company were very distressed by the calls and as some of the people receiving the calls were elderly or vulnerable, this was an aggravating factor.
‘This monetary penalty has been issued to make sure that Cold Call Elimination realises it is unacceptable to operate in this way.’
Which? welcomes decision
Which? is actively campaigning to stop nuisance calls and welcomes the crackdown by regulators on rogue cold-calling firms.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘It beggars belief that a firm purporting to stop nuisance calls has been fined for subjecting people to them.
‘The ICO was alerted to this firm’s behaviour after receiving almost 400 complaints from the public, so we urge people to always report nuisance calls and texts to help regulators take action against rogue cold callers.’