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Company hit with record fine after making 100m nuisance calls

Thursday, May 11th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A company that made nearly 100m nuisance calls has been fined a record £400,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Keurboom Communications Ltd was hit with the ICO’s highest ever nuisance calls fine after more than 1,000 people complained about automated calls.

The 99.5m calls, made between October 2014 and March 2016, related to a range of subjects including PPI compensation and accident claims.

Some people received multiple calls, sometimes on the same day and during unsociable hours.

Companies should only make automated marketing calls to people if they have their specific consent – Keurboom did not and so was breaking the law.

Following an investigation, Keurboom has been placed in voluntary liquidation but the ICO said it is committed to recovering the fine.

Keurboom and its director Gregory Rudd were also prosecuted and fined at Luton Magistrates Court in April 2016 after failing to comply with seven information notices issued by the ICO.

Keurboom was fined £1,500 and told to pay £435.95 costs and a victim surcharge of £120. Rudd was fined £1,000 with costs of £435.95 and a £100 victim surcharge.

Steve Eckerlsey, head of enforcement at the ICO said: “Keurboom showed scant regard for the rules, causing upset and distress to people unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of one its 100m calls.

“The unprecedented scale of its campaign and Keurboom’s failure to co-operate with our investigation has resulted in the largest fine issued by the Information Commissioner for nuisance calls.

'Blight people's lives'

“These calls have now stopped – as has Keurboom – but our work has not. We’ll continue to track down companies that blight people’s lives with nuisance calls, texts and emails.”

Mike Lordan, director of external affairs at the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), said: “We applaud the work of the Information Commissioner's Office in their work against rogue marketers who do nothing for consumers and give the legitimate industry a bad name.

“We hope that in the future rogue marketers will face the real threat of prison when abusing consumers in this way, which will be an effective deterrent.”

New rules coming into force this year will allow the ICO to hold the directors of companies breaking the law directly responsible and fine them up to £500,000 each.

In 2016/17, the ICO fined 23 companies a total of £1.923m for nuisance marketing.

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