The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has handed out a record £350,000 fine to a lead generation firm responsible for 46 million automated calls, but Brighton-based Prodial has responded by going into liquidation.
According to the ICO investigation, Prodial used IP phone lines to make enormous numbers of calls about PPI claims. Recipients were bombarded with nuisance communications and had no way of opting out.
Prodial was based at a residential property and hid its numbers to make it difficult to report the calls. In total, the ICO received 1,000 complaints from people who said they were contacted day and night, with one doctor stating it was interfering with his job because had to answer all calls in case one was an emergency.
“A company director admitted that once the ICO became involved, the company shut down. That stopped the calls, but we want to send a clear message to other firms that this type of law-breaking will not pay. That is why we have handed out our highest ever fine.”
The ICO says it is working with liquidators to recover the fine, noting that the marketing campaign undertaken by Prodial could be worth as much as £1 million in revenues.
To prevent the inconvience and stress of nuisance calls, the government has proposed that all direct marketing companies should be legally obligated to display their phone numbers when contacting the public.
Telecoms firms including BT and TalkTalk have taken measures to help block and blacklist offending numbers but even operators aren’t entirely innocent. In 2013, Ofcom fined TalkTalk £750,000 for making excessive numbers of nuisance calls to prospective customers in 2011.
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