Information Commissioner's Office
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Business bombarded households with 50 nuisance calls a day

A Cheshire company that hounded people with automated nuisance calls without their consent has been fined by the ICO.

The £180,000 monetary penalty was issued to Advanced VoIP Solutions Ltd as a result of an ICO investigation prompted by 6,381 complaints from the public.

Complainants described receiving recorded messages relating to personal protection insurance, packaged bank accounts and flight delays. Some even described calls being repeated, sometimes up to 50 per day to single households, even though they had followed instructions in the message to opt out of the calls.  

The company co-ordinated its nuisance call campaign from Eyebrow Cottage, a listed building in a Manchester suburb.

Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO said:

“The number of complaints in this case is just a drop in the ocean compared to the millions of calls we think this company has made.

“We have sent out a clear message to companies who behave in this way - however much you try and dodge the law, it won’t work, and we will act.”

This action was part of a wider investigation into a complicated network of companies which included an ICO raid on a call centre in south Manchester. At the height of the automated call campaign, two phone network providers claimed their services had been disrupted by the large number of calls being made by the business.

Earlier this year an ICO enforcement notice ordered Advanced VoIP to stop making nuisance calls or face legal action in a crackdown on the cottage industry behind the millions of automated calls. Investigators suspected the leads generated would have been used by the network of firms involved to make sizable profits.

The law on making automated calls playing recorded messages is stricter than on other marketing calls. Organisations can only make automated marketing calls to people who have specifically consented to receiving them.

Notes to editors

  1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
  2. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000, Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
  3. The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
  4. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is:
    • fairly and lawfully processed;
    • processed for limited purposes;
    • adequate, relevant and not excessive;
    • accurate and up to date;
    • not kept for longer than is necessary;
    • processed in line with your rights;
    • secure; and
    • not transferred to other countries without adequate protection.
  5. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) sit alongside the Data Protection Act. They give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications.
    1. There are specific rules on:
      • marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes;
      • cookies (and similar technologies);
      • keeping communications services secure; and
      • customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification, and directory listings.
    2. We aim to help organisations comply with PECR and promote good practice by offering advice and guidance. We will take enforcement action against organisations that persistently ignore their obligations.
  6. Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) are subject to a right of appeal to the (First-tier Tribunal) General Regulatory Chamber against the imposition of the monetary penalty and/or the amount of the penalty specified in the monetary penalty notice.
  7. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
  8. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go


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