A company that has already been fined for making nuisance calls has now been prosecuted in a criminal court for continuing to break the law.
Direct Choice Home Improvements Limited was given a £50,000 civil monetary penalty by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in March 2016. It was also issued with a formal Enforcement Notice, requiring it to cease contacting people registered with the Telephone Preference Service.
However, the ICO continued to receive complaints and reports about unsolicited marketing calls from the firm, and Direct Choice has now been prosecuted under the ICO’s criminal enforcement powers for breaching the notice.
Nobody from the company appeared when the case was heard at Swansea Magistrates’ Court and an offence under s47 of the Data Protection Act 1998 was proved in absence. Direct Choice, based in Llansamlet, Swansea, was fined £400 and was also ordered to pay £364.08 and a victim surcharge of £40.
ICO Head of Enforcement Steve Eckersley said:
“This firm had already been fined by the ICO and given an Enforcement Notice, so they had no excuse whatsoever for continuing to make nuisance calls.
“Companies need to know that we will be on their case and will use all the tools at our disposal if they decide to flout the law and ignore the legal rights of citizens not to be harassed by unsolicited marketing.”
Criminal penalties are imposed by the courts and not the ICO. Direct Choice had paid off £40,500 of its previous civil fine. The ICO has recently been informed that the company has applied to go into liquidation and will be working with the Insolvency Service on recovering the outstanding balance.