‘BBC Celebrity Cold Callers’ To Fight £225k Fine

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

BBC Three programme ‘The Call Centre’ looks set for some feisty episodes…

The company at the heart of BBC Three programme ‘The Call Centre’ has been fined a total of £225,000 for cold caller offences, but it won’t be taking the penalty lightly.

Nationwide Energy Services was hit with a £125,000 penalty, whilst We Claim You Gain was slapped with a £100,000 fine, after they were found to have breached Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations covering electronic marketing. Both are part of  Save Britain Money based in Swansea, which is the focus of the BBC TV show.

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There were over 2,700 complaints relating to Save Britain Money’s cold caller operations, either handed to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) between 26 May 2011 and 31 December 2012.

‘Cold caller’ fined

‘The Call Centre’ TV show, which is still running on BBC Three, is a fly-on-the-wall documentary that focuses on Save Britain Money founder and CEO Nev Wilshere (pictured) and his employees. It has received positive reviews, with some comparing it to comedy classic ‘The Office’ and Wilshere to David Brent.

The firm, which was named by The Sunday Times as one of the best places in Britain to work in 2013, issued a joint statement on behalf of its subsidiaries, saying it would be appealing: “Neither NES nor WCUG accept that issuing monetary penalty notices is the appropriate course of action. Both have made the necessary representations to the ICO and will be issuing a formal appeal shortly.”

The two subsidiaries also failed to check whether people they were calling had registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), as is required by law, the ICO said.

“The public have told us that they are fed up with the constant bombardment of nuisance calls. While the activities of Nev and his call centre employees have provided entertainment for many, they hide a bigger problem within the cold calling industry,” said ICO director of operations Simon Entwisle.

“We’d like to see it made easier for us to issue penalties to companies who are breaking the rules. Similarly, everyone involved seems to agree that the rules on how consumers give their consent to receive calls needs to be clearer.”

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