The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) may not be the most topical piece of data protection legislation at the moment, as everyone is focussed on achieving compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) before 25th May, but you ignore it at your peril, as two Yorkshire companies have found out to their considerable cost.
Cries of "chuffing 'ell" could be heard across the West Riding of God's Own County as the Information Commissioner's Office slapped Energy Savings Centre Ltd (ESC) of Bradford and Approved Green Energy Solutions (AGES) of Brighouse with six-figure fines for breaches of PECR.
ESC sell replacement windows, doors and guttering and in the course of 7 months made more than 7 million out-bound sales calls without screening them against the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) register. Of these calls, at least 34,000 were made to TPS subscribers, who did not take kindly to this mithering, prompting the ICO to impose a fine of £250,000.
For their part, AGS had made 300,000 calls over the 3 months from April to July 2017 to people registered with the TPS, without their consent, thereby breaching PECR. This left many people reet narked off. So much so that they complained to the ICO, who imposed a fine of £150,000.
ESC was also issued with an enforcement notice to stop illegal marketing.
It seems both companies had relied on lists that they bought it from other companies and without then checking them against the TPS.
The moral of this story would seem to be that all businesses, big and small, are going to have get their house in order before GDPR comes into force. The ICO is not afraid to exert its authority and ignorance of the law is no defence.
“People register with the TPS for a clear reason – to stop unwanted marketing calls and protect their privacy. It is the first thing any responsible business should check when making live marketing calls. We are committed to taking strong action against firms calling people registered with the TPS, as these fines show.”