Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Another Scottish ‘First’ as DM Design earns first fine for cold-calling offences

Angry phoneAnother depressing ‘First’ for Scotland, as  kitchen company DM Design lands the first ever fine issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office ICO.

While I doubt that the £90,000 fine will really hurt the company, it marks the first such fine issued for carrying out cold-calling and sending spam email against the wishes of those who had registered with the Telephone Preference Service TPS, and for ignoring the ICO.

Information commissioner Christopher Graham said: “Today’s action sends out a clear message to the marketing industry that this menace will not be tolerated. This company showed a clear disregard for the law and a lamentable attitude toward the people whose day they were disturbing. This is not good enough.

“This fine will not be an isolated penalty. We know other companies are showing a similar disregard for the law and we’ve every intention of taking further enforcement action against companies that continue to bombard people with unlawful marketing texts and calls.

“All of this work has been made possible thanks to the information we are receiving from the public, which has assisted our investigation team in identifying the companies making these calls.”

Via DM Design fined by Information Commissioner’s Office for marketing calls | News | Glasgow | STV

DM Design’s activities resulted in almost 2,000 complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office ICO and Telephone Preference Service TPS, after the fitted kitchen company consistently failed to check if individuals had opted out of receiving marketing calls.

The fine was the first of its type to be issued in the UK, as well as Scotland.

And the company and its employees were not just making an innocent mistake, but were out to make their mark:

In one instance, an employee refused to remove a complainant’s details from the company’s system and threatened to “continue to call at more inconvenient times like Sunday lunchtime”.

Via DM Design fined £90,000 over cold-calling

So this was not only ignorant, but malicious – the fine should  have been higher.

Executive director of Which? Richard Lloyd added: “We’re pleased to see the Information Commissioner taking more action, but this small fine is far from the sort of deterrent needed to call time on the use of nuisance calls and texts.

“With seven in 10 people receiving an unsolicited call in the last three months, it’s clear that the current approach to enforcement isn’t working and much tougher action is needed.

Two more unnamed companies have been informed by the ICO that they can expect substantial fines for similar breaches, whilst a further ten companies are under investigation for nuisance calling and ‘spam’ text messages.

Via Scots firm DM Design fined £90k over cold calling – Top stories – Scotsman.com

Historically, it is not that long ago that the ICO was being bombarded with criticism for “Doing nothing” to deal with this sort of rogue business. In reality, it could not, as it had only been the given the power to issue advice to offenders.

It then got the power to issue fines of up to £500,00 and still got criticised for “Doing nothing”, but I would suggest that came from people who forgot that to issue such fines, one needs an evidence trail, not just a few irritated individuals. But when exercising its powers, it cannot act on hearsay alone.

However, where there is a trail of evidence, it does look as if the ICO both can, and will, act.

What I am saying here is: Don’t just whine and moan about it if you are pestered by companies like DM Design. Record times, dates, names, calls etc and pass this data on to the ICO.

Otherwise, they can’t actually do anything.

And don’t forget the good old Mail Preference Service (MPS)

This is also slated for “Doing nothing”, but again, I would contend that this is simply down to people not using it properly.

It relies on databased being updated, and this takes time… up to a year in some cases, as companies update them.

Rather than shouting “MPS doesn’t work!” whenever an offending piece of mail arrives, play the game and do as the MPS asks: Stick it in an envelope and send it to them.

Otherwise, since they presumably have not cracked telepathy and kept this a secret, they will not know you received it, and not be able to take action against the offender.

I did this for a year, and now do not receive a single unwanted piece of postal sales mail.

Unfortunately, it does not deal with the contract deliveries which load our poor posties down with scrap paper, addressed anonymously to The Occupier or The Householder, and which therefore circumvent the MPS.

I still have a great pile of this by the end of the year, with endless pleas from companies like Sky and Virgin who try and get me to by their rubbish every month, plus catalogues from the likes of IKEA, which I will never use.

Someone needs to come up with a register where The Occupier or The Householder at an address can instruct their Post Office or whatever not to accept any such items for delivery.

Same goes for all the useless leaflets from the Co-op, Asda, Tesco, builders, decorators, gardeners, taxis, ironers, nurseries, opticians, double glazing companies, plastic soffit sellers, cleaners, tree surgeons… I even had one through the door yesterday that came from builders who said they deserved to get work because they were Polish.

Unimportant call

Lolcats – Lolcats n’ Funny Cat Pictures – funny cat pictures – Cheezburger

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March 21, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , ,

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