The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has imposed a £160,000 fine on boiler replacement firm, Making it Easy, following a spate of spam phone calls the company sent out to push its services.
The ICO deemed that the British firm was in violation of marketing activity standards for hitting over 1 million households with marketing calls between May 2018 and December 2018.
Some 853,769 of the calls made were to individuals registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS); unless people have given their express consent, it is unlawful to send marketing calls to those who have been registered with the TPS for over 28 days.
Around 200 complaints were made with the ICO and the TPS regarding the behaviour of Making it Easy. Most of the complainants said that they had not been able to identify the firm, despite being able to see the number of the caller.
One victim said:
”I cannot find any company details for this number. They claim to be National Heating Advisory Service.”
”They call themselves the Heating Advice Centre and all speak with Scottish accent despite the [number] being a Swansea STD code.”
While the complainers submitted a number of company names associated with the numbers that had shown up on their handsets, none of these companies was listed as a trading name of Making it Easy Ltd. The firm was only identified as the main culprit after the ICO conducted a trace of the identifying phone numbers.
Making It Easy say they bought the data to make the phone calls from a third party, adding that no contracts were in place for this service.
Speaking on behalf of the ICO, the regulator’s director of investigations, Stephen Eckersley said:
“Making it Easy Ltd made a substantial number of marketing calls to people who had made clear that they did not want to receive them. They also deliberately gave vague and misleading information to people they called, and failed to take basic steps to ensure it had valid consent to make these calls. This is unacceptable, it is against the law and we will continue to hold firms to account and issue fines if necessary.”
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