The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is ready to prosecute up to a dozen more companies who carry out cold-calling and send spam text messages.
This week the ICO fined a second company for unlawful marketing techniques to attract personal injury and payment protection insurance claimants.
DM Design, based in Glasgow was fined £90,000 after it was subject to almost 2,000 complaints. The company consistently failed to check whether individuals had opted out of receiving marketing calls - in clear breach of the law - and responded to just a handful of the complaints received.
Personal injury lawyers have long campaigned for tougher controls to police the ban on cold-calling and spam texts, and will be heartened by the ICO’s ongoing activity.
An ICO spokesman told the Gazette: ‘The ICO has informed two more companies that it is intending to impose significant penalties over breaches of the law, with a final decision likely in the coming weeks.’
A further 10 companies are subject to ongoing investigation for cold-calling and sending spam text messages.
The spokesman added: ‘The two companies that have already received a provisional penalty notice work in the claims management and lead generation industries.’
The monetary penalty is the first the ICO has issued for a serious breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations relating to live marketing calls.
This latest penalty comes after the joint owners of a company, which was responsible for sending hundreds of thousands of spam texts, received penalties totaling £440,000 in November last year.
A spokesman for the Motor Accident Solicitors Society said the group welcomed the ICO’s crackdown on companies found to have broken the law.
He said: ‘There is no doubt that some unscrupulous claims management companies continue to encourage fraudulent whiplash claims and while we welcome the ICO’s action we believe that tighter regulation is essential to better monitor CMCs’ activity. This includes all the regulators working together to ensure consistency of approach.’
He added that the prospect of spam texts and cold-calling was likely to increase if the government goes ahead with raising the small-claims court threshold from £1,000 to £5,000.