Keurboom Communications has been issued the Information Commissioner’s Office’s highest ever nuisance calls fine of £400,000 after more than 1,000 people complained about recorded – also known as automated – calls.
The calls, made over an 18 month period, related to a wide range of subjects including road traffic accident claims and PPI compensation. Some people received repeat calls, sometimes on the same day and during unsociable hours. The company also hid its identity, making it harder for people to complain.
The firm, which was only incorporated with Companies House in 2014, has been placed in voluntary liquidation since the ICO’s investigation.
Steve Eckersley, 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 100 million 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.”
He added: “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.”
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) called for custodial sentences to be introduced as a punishment for the worst offenders found to be in breach of nuisance call laws.
Mike Lordan, director of external affairs at the 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.”
The ICO is working to recover the fine by working with the liquidator and insolvency practitioners. Keurboom, which lists Gregory Francis Rudd, from Cambridge, as its sole director, is exempt from filing full accounts under section 44 of the Companies Act relating to small companies. Its abbreviated accounts show that it had £10,199 in cash reserves when it last filed accounts in February last year.
The ICO had its busiest year for nuisance calls last year,issuing 23 companies a total of £1.923 million for nuisance marketing. The previous record nuisance call fine was in February 2016, when the ICO fined Prodial, a lead generation company, £350,000 for making 46 million nuisance calls.
In March, Glasgow-based Xternal Property Renovations was fined £80,000 for making nuisance phone calls.