Information Commissioner's Office
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ICO continues crackdown on nuisance calls as energy company fined £45,000

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has served a Manchester company with a monetary penalty of £45,000 for blighting the public with unwanted marketing calls.

The ICO proposed to issue a fine of £90,000 but have had to take into account the company’s financial situation and reduce the penalty to £45,000.

Tameside Energy Services Limited describes itself as a company which offers a range of energy efficiency improvements. Between 26 May 2011 and 31 January 2013 the company was found to be responsible for over 1,000 complaints to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and the ICO. In one case an 80 year old lady decided to complain after continuing to receive calls despite informing the company on 20 separate occasions that they must stop.

As well as failing to remove people from their contact lists, Tameside failed to carry out adequate checks to see whether the people they were calling had registered with the TPS. This is a legal requirement under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations governing electronic marketing.

Simon Entwisle, Director of Operations said,

“This is not the first and will not be the last monetary penalty issued by the ICO for unwanted marketing calls. These companies need to listen – bombarding the public with cold calls will not be tolerated. Were it not for the company’s poor financial position, this monetary penalty would have been £90,000.

“We are continuing our work with the industry, government and other regulators, including OFCOM, to co-ordinate our efforts to tackle this problem. We would like to see the law changed to make it simpler for us to punish companies responsible for repeated and continuous breaches of the law.” 

The ICO has also issued the company with an enforcement notice, requiring Tameside to stop making calls to those people who have registered their number with TPS, or have previously notified Tameside that they do not wish to be contacted by them. Failure to comply with the notice will lead to formal prosecution through the courts.

The ICO has setup an online reporting tool which people can use to send us the details of any unwanted marketing texts and calls. The ICO has received over 200,000 responses since the survey was setup in March last year and is urging people to continue to use this service as this information is used to inform its enforcement action.

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 regulates the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

3. The ICO is on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and produces a monthly e-newsletter.

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 
  • Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection