A company that made 8.7 million nuisance calls has been fined £300,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Holmes Financial Solutions Ltd, based in Speke, Liverpool, made the automated marketing calls between 22 October 2015 and 27 July 2016.
The 8,792,907 calls contained recorded messages, primarily promoting PPI compensation claims, but the company did not have the recipients’ consent for sending direct marketing, which is against the law.
It also broke the law by failing to identify the organisation making the calls, while it used so-called ‘added value’ numbers that generate revenue when an individual calls the number, which is then apportioned and passed to associated companies and the network carrier.
The ICO received 62 complaints from the public about Holmes Financial Solutions Ltd. Some people were called on multiple occasions. Others said they were unable to opt out of receiving the calls. Some expressed further distress as they were concerned that the call may have been about something happening to a friend or family member.
The contravention could have been far higher since it is known that the company instigated over 26.6 million automated calls.
ICO Head of Enforcement, Steve Eckersley, said:
“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.
“The ICO will not tolerate companies who blatantly disregard the law and Holmes Financial Solutions Ltd has paid the price for their negligence.
“I welcome the Government’s plans to introduce personal liability for directors who think they are above the law, and hope to see them introduced as soon as possible, to support our work to stop such rogue traders operating.”
Some of the complaints received from the public about Holmes Financial Solutions Ltd were as follows:
- “This has been going on for months if not years. It causes me anxiety feeling targeted.”
- “It made me angry as I repeatedly receive similar calls – I’ve asked them to remove/delete my number politely – yet they keep calling.”
- “I’m being hounded continually by this company.”
- “It rings me at least 3/4 times a week during work hours and is disruptive to my work day and meetings.”
- “Is always a little worrying when you get an unexpected call from a number you don’t recognize. One tends to think something has happened to a friend or family member.”