AMS Marketing LTD, based in East Sussex, made 75,649 calls to people who had registered their telephone numbers on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
The ICO and TPS received a total of 103 complaints about the unsolicited calls between the dates of 1 October 2016 and 31 December 2017.
It is against the law to call telephone numbers registered on the TPS unless the caller has gained specific consent to make the call. The company making the call needs to be able to demonstrate they have done this by providing evidence, and the ICO were not satisfied that AMS Marketing LTD had gained any type of consent to make the calls.
The ICO published on their website some of the complaints they had received from members of the public:
“They knew my name and address and claimed that I was legally owed circa £1,800 for a non-fault traffic accident.”
“Saying we had an accident and they can help with compensation. They asked for my daughter who has not been driving long, so I found it very stressful and disturbing”.
“Trying yet again to persuade us to claim compensation despite being with TPS and asking them repeatedly not to ring us”.
Following an investigation, the ICO concluded that AMS Marketing LTD had actually purchased lists of data from other companies and failed to check whether anyone on the list were registered with the Telephone Preference Service.
A spokesperson for the ICO said: Firms that buy in lists of data are duty-bound to check whether people are registered with the TPS. Firms that fail to make the proper checks, do so at their peril. The ICO can and will take action”.
The ICO publishes on their website, monthly updates of cases they are either investigating or have resolved. Their recent publication states they have 107 cases under investigation and have issued 11 third party information notices. These notices compel communications service providers to give information to the ICO and helps them with ongoing investigations.
In June, 10,897 concerns were reported to the ICO, a 45% increase from the previous month and this represents an extra 3,384 complaints being made to the service. The increase in complaints is due to increased public awareness, in part thanks to GDPR and all the publicity surrounding it.
What is a Cold Call ?
A Cold Call is an unsolicited telephone call from a business seeking to attract new customers.
Cold Calling is not illegal, however there are restrictions on how and when a marketing cold-call should be made. The new GDPR regulations along with the ICO’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations tighten up these restrictions, and as from 25 May 2018, any organisation involved in cold calling will have to abide by strict guidelines or face hefty fines. The only instance where you can be lawfully cold-called is if you have given consent before being contacted.
In addition, organisations cannot call numbers that are registered with the TPS. The TPS (Telephone Preference Service) is a free service. It is the official opt out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls. It is forbidden for organisations to make telephone contact with anyone registered on the TPS database.
To register with the TPS follow this link:https://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/number_type.html
You can also log a complaint with the ICO here: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/nuisance-calls-and-messages/