The UK’s data regulator has fined claims management company Reliance Advisory Limited £250,000 for making millions of nuisance calls relating to mis-sold PPI.
Between January and June 2019, the Bury-based company made 15.1 million calls to people who had not consented to receive them, an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found.
Of those, 1.1 million connected with members of the public, sparking 85 complaints to the ICO. Those affected said they received calls multiple times a day, which were at times “aggressive and rude”.
One complaint said: “They call when my baby is asleep and wake her up. They disrupt my day. My husband is in the military and can rarely call me, when they call, I think it’s him and then I’m disappointed it’s them again.”
Another said: “I receive three or four calls a day from this number. I have asked them to stop calling and now they are calling three or four times a day. I have just lost my mum and have told them to stop but they have been making more calls.”
Reliance Advisory was found to have broken electronic marketing law, which bans unsolicited calls for direct marketing purposes in relation to claims management services. It came into force on 8 September 2018.
The ICO said that Reliance Advisory was unable to prove that it had received consent for the “majority” of calls it made.
Reliance Advisory, which describes itself as a lead generation company for claims management services, told the ICO that it purchased the data used to make the calls from a third-party data vendor.
However, the data source was found to not meet the bar for consent, because users were unable to proceed to the website without parting with their personal contact data.
Reliance Advisory has until 27 November 2020 to pay the £250,000 fine, or appeal the decision.
Andy Curry, head of investigations at the ICO, said: “Nuisance calls continue to be a matter of great distress, annoyance and significant concern for the public and we will continue to find and take action against the worst offenders.
“The law exists for a reason, and that is to protect people from this high degree of intrusion into their private lives. Businesses must respect the law and the onus is on them to be aware of their responsibilities. Pleading ignorance of the rules, as was put forward this case, will never be a valid argument.
“We encourage members of the public to report nuisance calls, texts and emails to us.”
Verdict has attempted to contact the company’s managing director for comment, because the firm’s website is now unavailable and redirects to a 404 error.