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ICO raids Manchester call centre suspected of making nuisance calls

Friday, June 26th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A business believed to be behind millions of nuisance calls has been raided by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Staff from the ICO – the independent body that upholds information rights in the UK – searched a south Manchester call centre and office thought to contain an automatic dialler suspected of making 100,000 calls a day.

It is thought the business made automated calls playing a recorded message.

People who responded to the calls by pressing a number on their phone keypads were put through to staff working at the call centre.

The ICO has received more than 7,000 complaints about calls thought to have been made by the business, which is not being named while investigations are ongoing.

The majority of the calls were about so-called mis-sold pensions or pension reviews, while some covered PPI, debt management and delayed flight compensation.

Complaints from two phone network providers were also received by the ICO.

The phone providers claimed their services had been disrupted by the large number of calls being made by the business.

'People are sick of them'

The law on making automated calls playing recorded messages is stricter than on other marketing calls.

Organisations can only make automated marketing calls to people who have specifically consented to receiving automated calls from that organisation.

Andy Curry, enforcement group manager, said: “Companies know what the rules are on these types of calls. They need to know too that people are sick of them, and when people complain to us, we will act.

“Today’s searches are no one-off. We’ve got around 60 active investigations into organisations we believe are breaking the rules around nuisance calls and texts.

“Those investigations will result in fines and other enforcement action, and will cause some disruption to the companies who appear intent on causing it themselves.”

Cable.co.uk reported earlier this year that more than four in five UK adults with a landline received nuisance calls.

Research by telecoms regulator Ofcom found that 86% of participants in a four-week study received at least one nuisance call.

More than half of those taking part (52%) received a recorded sales call – up from 37% in 2014 and 38% in 2013.

Anyone who wants to report a nuisance call or text can do so on the ICO website.

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