A company’s been fined £300,000 for making more than 8.7 million nuisance calls and having a ‘blatant disregard for the law’.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found the calls made by Holmes Financial Solutions mostly promoted PPI compensation claims.
It also found evidence the firm may have been behind as many as more than 26.6 million calls, but ultimately the firm were were fined for 8.79 million.
The company has now been stung with a £300,000 fine for the automated marketing calls because they didn’t have the recipients’ consent for sending direct marketing – this is illegal.
The ICO, which says it received 62 complaints, found the company also broke the law by failing to identify the organisation making the calls and used ‘added value’ numbers which charge someone when they try to identify the company.
The nuisance calls were made between 22 October 2015 and 27 July 2016.
‘I’m being hounded’
Some of the complainants said they’d received multiple calls despite attempts to opt out. Some said the calls made them feel distressed because they were worried the call might have been about something happening to a loved one.
The ICO said Holmes Financial Solutions showed no concern for the distress they were causing.
Some of the comments included:
- ‘This has been going on for months if not years. It causes me anxiety feeling sick’ [sic]
- ‘I’m being hounded continually by this company’
- ‘Made me angry, as I repeatedly receive similar calls – I’ve asked them to remove/delete my number politely – yet they keep calling.’
Blatant disregard for the law
The ICO head of enforcement, Steve Eckersley, said that Holmes Financial Solutions paid the price for their negligence, and that they won’t tolerate companies who ‘blatantly disregard’ the law.
‘The company paid no heed to laws on telephone marketing and showed no concern for the distress they were causing people, by making huge volumes of invasive calls.’
‘Multitude of rules ignored is astonishing’
The director of policy at the Direct Marketing Association, John Mitchison, said: ‘The level of disregard and multitude of the rules that Holmes Financial Solutions has flagrantly ignored is quite astonishing.’
He hoped the hefty fine would be a deterrent for others companies considering using nuisance call tactics and that the ICO’s prosecutions of ‘rogue business that are clearly not serving any benefit to consumers is important’.
Report nuisance calls
You can complain about a company (or a specific number) making nuisance calls and texts to a number of organisations including the TPS, your phone operator, Ofcom (which covers silent and abandoned calls) or the ICO.
If you’re plagued with unwanted calls, read our guide for tips on how to stop nuisance calls, with a step-by-step reporting tool you can use to make a complaint.
Nuisance call companies held to account
The ICO has already fined five companies which were collectively behind 90 million nuisance calls, 44 million spam emails and one million spam texts.
- Mis-sold Products UK was fined £350,000 for making 75 million nuisance calls in four months, primarily promoting PPI compensation claims.
- Wales-based Barrington Claims Limited has been fined £250,000 for making more than 15 million automated calls
- Newday Limited, based in London, must pay £230,000 for sending more than 44 million spam emails, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said
- Goody Market UK Limited, in Liverpool, has been fined £40,000 for sending 111,367 spam texts
- Macclesfield-based TFLI Limited has been fined £80,000 for sending 1.19 million nuisance texts