SCOTTISH kitchen and bedroom company DM Design has been fined £90,000 for plaguing the public with thousands of unwanted marketing phone calls.
The Cumbernauld firm were the subject of nearly 2,000 complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Telephone Preference Service.
It was revealed that DM Design had repeatedly failed to check if customers had opted out of receiving marketing calls, and had responded to a small number of the complaints it received.
One employee was found to have refused to remove a customer’s details from the company’s records, instead threatening to call at ‘more inconvenient times like Sunday lunchtime.’
Information Commissioner Christopher Graham criticised the firm’s ‘lamentable attitude’ towards its customers, adding: “Today’s action sends out a clear message to the marketing industry that this menace will not be tolerated.
“This fine will not be an isolated penalty. Other companies are showing a similar disregard for the law and we have every intention of taking further enforcement action against those that continue to bombard people with unlawful marketing texts and calls.”
Commenting on the £90,000 fine handed out, the first such fine to be imposed in the UK, Mr Graham said that it would not be an ‘isolated penalty,’ and that he was aware of other companies breaching similar laws.
He said: “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.”
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.