Two companies which feature on BBC Three’s The Call Centre have been fined a total of £225,000 by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) for making nuisance calls.
Nationwide Energy Services has received a penalty of £125,000, while We Claim You Gain has been hit with a £100,000 fine.
The companies feature in fly-on-the wall docu-soap The Call Centre, which follows the ups and downs of chief executive Nev Wilshire and his staff at the third largest call centre in Wales.
Both companies are part of Save Britain Money Ltd, based in Swansea.
Thousands of TPS complaints
The penalties were issued in response to 2,700 complaints to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or reports to the ICO between May 2011 and the end of December 2012.
Claims Management Regulation (CMR) has also launched an investigation into We Claim You Gain.
Welcoming the fine, Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: ‘Thousands of people have told us they are sick and tired of being bombarded with nuisance calls and texts, so it’s good to see the ICO doing more to punish companies who are breaking the rules.
‘Given the scale of this problem, it’s time for the government and telecoms providers to step in too, with new laws and new technology to tackle this scourge on people’s everyday lives.
‘The ICO and other regulators must be given more power to properly police how our personal data is used, so we can call time on nuisance calls and texts.’
Calling Time on Nuisance Calls
On 10 June Which? launched the next step of its Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts campaign and called on the government to step-in and tackle the problem of nuisance calls.
Which? wants the regulators to be given greater enforcement powers and to form a taskforce which will proactively police the activities of the PPI industry and punish rulebreakers.
First PPI fine
The two fines include the first penalties linked to nuisance calls over Payment Protection Insurance (PPI).
According to Which? research 62% of identifiable unwanted calls are from companies offering to help reclaim PPI.
In a statement, Nationwide Energy Services and We Claim You Gain said they ‘remain committed to the best interests of our customers at all times’.
It said it did not accept that issuing fines was the appropriate course of action and said it would be issuing a formal appeal to the ICO shortly.
Private Members’ Bill
The fine comes in the same week that a new Private Members’ Bill aimed at tackling nuisance calls and texts will be introduced to Parliament.
The Bill, which will be introduced by Edinburgh West MP Mike Crockart, calls for a clear expiry date on consent to third party marketing and gives greater powers to regulators to punish rule breakers.
Mr Crockart said: ‘I have worked with consumer group Which? on the detail of the Bill, listening carefully to the arguments made by consumers during the Calling Time road shows which travelled around the UK asking people to share their frustrations at receiving unwanted calls and texts.’