£150,000 fine for claims firm that made “abusive” calls


Calls: People had not given consent

A Manchester firm has been fined £150,000 for making thousands of nuisance direct marketing phone calls for personal injury claims that some complainants described as abusive.

The Information Commissioner has also had to intervene to stop Oaklands Assist UK Ltd being struck off the Companies House register in bid to enforce the sanction.

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Oaklands Assist made 63,724 calls over a two-month period from May to July 2017 to people who were registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).

The law states that live calls must not be made to any number registered with the TPS unless they have specifically consented to the call. This was not done here.

The company first came to the ICO’s attention in June 2017 when it was identified as one of its most complained about organisations during that month.

There were 59 complaints. One said: “Caller was extremely abusive when asked how they got our details. Used profane language when hanging up. The same number had also called on numerous other occasions, sometimes just a silent call, and then ring back within half an hour.”

Another consumer reported that the caller gave them three options: “Say I’ve hurt myself and use their service to stop getting calls”, change their business telephone number, or continue to be harassed.

The ICO found that Oaklands Assist deliberately broke the rules and was “thoroughly uncooperative” with its investigation.

Its decision notice added: “The commissioner has had to object to Oaklands Assist being struck off the register with Companies House following their apparent cessation of business in light of the commissioner’s investigation, thus demonstrating Oakland Assist’s efforts to escape regulatory action.”

ICO director of investigations Steve Eckersley said: Companies that operate in this way are causing distress and offence to huge numbers of people who just don’t want these calls.

“Our advice for organisations is quite clear: they must not call people registered on the TPS and, where we see this happening, we will investigate and take enforcement action where necessary.”

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