ICO imposed fines totalling £2million for nuisance calls in 2015/16

In 2015/16, a clampdown on nuisance callers led to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) imposing penalties of almost £2 million for unsolicited marketing call offences, with the largest fine being £350,000 for automated calls without individuals’ prior consent. The ICO also imposed a penalty of £130,000 for a breach of the first data protection principle, the first penalty of its kind, for the sale of customer details (without their informed consent) to third parties.

The ICO has maintained its focus on nuisance marketing practices and in particular nuisance callers, as they are considered to be the most distressing form of direct marketing,. Changes in the rules on nuisance marketing have given the ICO greater scope to levy fines. It recently imposed a monetary penalty notice of £180,000 on a company for jointly instigating automated marketing calls without prior consent, failing to both identify the sender or instigator of the calls and failing to provide the address of a person or a telephone number on which they could be reached free of charge.