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The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined two firms £220,000 for making more than half a million nuisance calls.

On 31 October, the ICO announced its imposition of the fine after two home security firms contacted people registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), a UK register of domestic telephone numbers through which people can opt out of receiving sales and marketing calls.

One of the companies, ACT Response Ltd of Middlesbrough, incurred a penalty of £140,000 for placing 496,455 live marketing calls. The ICO received 128 complaints about the firm between January 2017 and February 2018, including one in which the complainant said the company was “driving [them] mad” by calling “several times a day and seven days a week.” The organization even asked people whether they were registered with the TPS.

The second company, Secure Home Systems (SHS) of Bilston, West Midlands, received a fine of £80,000 for making calls to 84,347 phone numbers registered with the TPS. These calls mainly occurred between September and December 2017. Even so, the ICO received 268 complaints about the firm over a two-year period.

Andy Curry, ICO Group Enforcement Manager, said the penalties reflect the value that people place in the TPS. It also underscores the ICO’s ability to impose fines of up to £500,000 under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). As quoted in a statement published by the ICO:

These fines should set alarm bells ringing and deter marketing companies across all sectors that are contacting people without their consent. It is a company’s responsibility to make sure that it has valid consent to make these calls.

The full penalty notices against the ACT Response Ltd and Secure Home Systems are available here and here, respectively.

News of these penalties comes exactly one week after the Information Commissioner’s Office issued a fine of £500,000 to Facebook for the the data scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.