/ Technology

Who is really responsible for a company’s nuisance calling?

Nuisance calls

A whopping £350,000 fine has been issued to a Brighton-based company for making over 46 million nuisance calls. But shouldn’t the company’s directors be held accountable too?

According to the regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), millions of automated PPI claims calls were generated from an untraceable residential property in Brighton.

After more than 1,000 complaints, the ICO found that the Prodial Ltd failed to comply with the rules on the use of consumers’ personal data for marketing purposes, and issued its largest ever fine so far.

The company, however, was placed into voluntary liquidation by one of its directors. The ICO is now working with the liquidators to recover the fine; but this again raises the question of whether company executives should be held accountable for nuisance calls.

Nuisance calling firms

Last year our research found that over three quarters of people in the UK think that the director of a company should be held personally accountable if the company makes calls without the necessary permission. And when we asked the same question in Scotland, nine in 10 people want this too.

Now, as Ian pointed out today:

But enforcement action, such as this one, is commonly taken against the company, rather than an individual company director, meaning that some companies don’t treat compliance with the law around marketing communications as a board level issue.

This is why we want nuisance calls to be a higher priority within businesses.

Calling time on nuisance calls

We want a mechanism to ensure senior executives are accountable if their company fails to comply with the rules on unsolicited communications. Those individuals would have to ensure that the company’s practices are above board or face personal action.

In 2014, the UK Government asked Which? to a chair a taskforce on nuisance calls and texts. The taskforce set out a number of recommendations including:

‘The Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and the Ministry of Justice, should review the ability for the ICO to hold board-level executives to account who fail to comply with the rules and guidance on the use of consumers’ personal data for marking purposes, and amend legislation to give the ICO further powers as necessary.’

Now this record fine may bring executive accountability back on to the Government’s agenda again. But, at the very least, it certainly highlights the scale of the problem of nuisance calls.

So, do you think that company directors of nuisance calling firms should be held accountable?


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