Bognor company that phoned people with call-blockers to sell call-blockers is fined

A Bognor Regis firm which made nuisance calls to the elderly has been fined thousands by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

Thursday, 19th January 2017, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:45 pm
News. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150807-174836001

A Bognor Regis firm which made nuisance calls to the elderly has been fined thousands by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

IT Protect Ltd has been fined £40,000 because it broke the law by calling people with the call-blocker the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), the ICO said.

It is the first fine for nuisance calls issued by the ICO since it took over management of the TPS.

Steve Eckersley, ICO head of enforcement, said: “Ironically, this firm was making nuisance calls to people to sell them a call blocking device.

“But by phoning people registered with the TPS it broke the law and that’s why we’ve issued this fine.

“Our investigation was aided by members of the public reporting the nuisance calls they’d received from IT Protect to us. “They told us the firm had preyed on the elderly and misled people by giving the impression they were working with BT.”

IT Protect told the ICO it had purchased a list of people and phone numbers from another firm.

The ICO’s investigation, which involved support from West Sussex Trading Standards, found IT Protect had not carried out sufficient checks to ensure that the people on the list had given consent to receive the calls.

One person complaining about IT Protect, according to the ICO, said: “He claimed to be working with BT...they seemed devoid of any sense of irony in ringing a number registered with the TPS to sell a nuisance call blocker.”

According to the ICO another victim said: “I answered the call on behalf of my elderly father. She asked for my deceased mother and then my father.

“She then asked if he was registered with the TPS. I confirmed he was.

“I was then asked for £1.80 a month to stop phone calls. My father has dementia and would probably have followed their instructions.”

Mr Eckersley said IT Protect’s illegal actions ‘resulted in distress for people receiving the calls’ which prompted the large fine.

The law around electronic marketing says that calls should not be made to anyone who has registered with the TPS unless they have told the caller that they wish to receive such calls from them.

Companies failing to screen against the TPS, who then call people without consent, can expect enforcement action, the ICO warned.