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The ICO Obtains Search warrants and Raids Businesses!

13th March 2019

Further to our recent blog regarding the risks small businesses face in marketing their businesses within the new data protection rules, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has ramped up their investigative activity in the outbound telephone marketing industry.

The latest actions by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) should send a shockwave through the unsolicited calling marketplace:

Following a 12 month investigation, yesterday the ICO obtained search warrants and made raids on businesses in Brighton and Birmingham who have been making unwanted calls regarding Road Traffic Accidents, Personal Injury claims and Insurance for household goods. They have seized computer equipment and files and the businesses are looking at a potential fine of £500,000.

The ICO are now also making applications to prevent voluntary liquidation of Companies to avoid fines AND making sure the Directors are banned from being Directors after prosecution, so they cannot simply close down and start again! The last 16 Directors to be prosecuted have been banned for a total of 100 years between them!

If your business makes outbound marketing calls or you operate in the call centre industry making marketing calls for other businesses, this is a timely reminder of the latest Data Protection rules and the extensive enforcement powers the ICO now possess.

In case anyone thinks these are isolated incidents, the ICO have a systematic operation in place all year long and all enforcement activity is placed on their website where the offenders are ‘Named and Shamed’.

Here are some other examples of fines for unsolicited marketing applied to businesses across the UK, which have all occurred in the last 6 months:

Leave.EU group, Bristol. Fined £45,000

Eldon Insurance Services, Bristol. Fined £60,000

Alistar Green Legal Services, Liverpool. Fined £80,000

Tax Returned Ltd, London. Fined £200,000

Secure Home Systems Wolverhamton. Fined £80,000

ACT Response Middlesborough. Fined £140,000

Oaklands Assist Manchester. Fined £150,000

Any business engaged in outbound marketing and especially outbound marketing for other businesses needs to fully understand the new regulations and ensure they are compliant.

Remember Transition Law S.H.I.E.L.D. operates a free service to all business owners and anyone who needs help to understand the rules can still access our free telephone advisory service on 0330 2233 506.

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