If you work in an environment that involves cold calling you could be forgiven for thinking that the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is not a reasonable regulator. However, this case is a testimony to just how reasonable the ICO can actually be.
As far back as June 2014 Direct Choice Home Improvements Ltd were given notice that complaints had been received, but no further action would be taken. However, one year later in May 2015 the company was in the Telephone Preference Services (TPS) top 20 of complaints and then again in July, September and November 2015.
The company claimed that it had not received the ICO’s letters. Take it from us, if you get a letter from the ICO or the TPS, don’t ignore them or try making up excuses. You should respond. They really don’t like being messed around.
Direct Choice Home Improvements Ltd tried blaming their supplier for the TPS complaints. Again, another bad move. Your business cannot expect to pass blame to a supplier. You should always have access to TPS screening to either check your suppliers TPS screening or to undertake it yourself.
Ask your supplier for a TPS Screening Certificate as proof of screening.
By now, the ICO started to request copies of the correspondence between the company and the supplier. The workload will undoubtedly have begun to take its toll on the company’s resources.
Between 29 April 2015 and 29 September 2015 the TPS and ICO received a total of 167 TPS complaints. The company said a third party was to blame; telling the ICO it had been assured its list of people to call was screened against the TPS register.
Vince Costa-Barnett, TPS Services Director said:
“Those 167 complaints cost Direct Choice Home Improvements Ltd £50,000 or £299 per complaint. If you fail to TPS screen it’s an easy win for the ICO. You can try and argue about data, your supplier or how there are circumstances you feel should be taken into consideration, but if the numbers are registered on the TPS then the ICO are likely to see things very black and white and the complaints will most likely stand.”
Although not the main focus of the fine, Direct Choice Home Improvements Ltd also failed to operate a proper Do not Call (DNC) list and continued to call people who had previously asked not to be called again.
Direct Choice Home Improvements Ltd Monetary Penalty Notice as issued by the ICO
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Direct Choice Home Improvements Ltd Enforcement Notice
Download the Notice