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Solartech North East Ltd fined £90,000 by the ICO

 Article added: 23/11/2018

Trading under the brand name Hometech Home Improvements, Middlesbrough based Solartech North East Ltd have been fined £90,000 by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) for calling numbers registered on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) register.

Solartech first came to the attention of the ICO whilst advertising itself as a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), but its main activity now is windows, doors and roofing.

The ICO became aware of Solartech as far back as 2014 and during the last four years has been back and forth with them over calling people registered on the TPS. It’s amazing it took this long to get a fine, but they must have been doing something right to avoid not getting fined much earlier.

Whilst Solartech seemed to get away with several warnings, they still seemed unable to get their systems in order to prevent calling numbers registered on the TPS.

For those of you familiar with our news pages it won’t come as a surprise to hear that the company relied on the assurances of their data supplier that the data was TPS checked. In any event, that would only have lasted for 28 days and no details on what ongoing TPS screening facilities were in place were given in the notice.

Solartech even attended a compliance meeting with the ICO on 19th September 2016 where the company agreed to carry out a number of changes.

After everything that had transpired and the leniency the ICO had clearly shown the company, Solartech still got 39 TPS complaints during the six month period from 1st January 2017 to 30th June 2017.

Another repeat point about Solartech’s fine is that the ICO went to the company’s network provider to get information about call volumes, numbers dialled and CLI’s used by the business in order to analyse the company’s call activities. They of course obliged.

Key Fact

When the ICO starts to dig into your call logs, your problems cease to be solely about TPS complaints, but additionally about numbers you’ve called that were registered with the TPS even though those people did not complain.

TPS Services Richard Kane said:

“Solartech should never have gotten themselves into this position. TPS screening is pretty simple to implement and can be done easily whether you’re a one-man band or a multinational company.

They had chance after chance from the ICO and whilst I’m not exactly the ICO’s greatest fan when it comes to fair and equitable regulation, it seems like they played pretty fair with Solartech and the company simply didn’t do enough on this occasion.

A tip of the hat to the ICO on this one. ”

Solartech North East Ltd - ICO Enforcement Notice

Companies associated with Solartech North East Ltd

If your business purchases or sells data then you should read the latest Direct Marketing Guidance issued by the ICO for a complete explanation of what the ICO expects from companies involved in or buying from the direct marketing industry.
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