The owner of a company behind 100m nuisance calls, which was fined a record £400,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), has been disqualified as a director.
Gregory Francis Rudd, 53, was the sole director of Keurboom Communications, which supplied wholesale, self-managed telecom solutions to the call centre market.
Between April 2015 and June 2016, however, the ICO received over 1,000 complaints from members of the public about nuisance calls. Its investigations showed that, between October 2014 and March 2016, nearly 100m automated marketing calls were made, through Keurboom’s lines, to people who had not provided their consent.
The calls related to a wide range of subjects but mainly 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.
Some calls were also misleading by giving the impression that they were urgent and related to a recent road traffic accident or an ongoing PPI claim.
Companies can only make automated marketing calls to people if they have their specific consent. Keurboom did not have consent and so was in breach of the law. In 2017, the ICO issued Keurboom a then-record £400,000 fine.
Keurboom then entered creditors voluntary liquidation, and the ICO referred Mr Rudd’s conduct as a director to the Insolvency Service.
The most recent report from the company’s liquidator indicated that the fine was unlikely to be paid.
Last month, Mr Rudd provided a disqualification undertaking after he did not dispute that he failed to ensure Keurboom complied with its responsibilities under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
He can now not be involved in the formation, promotion or management of a company, directly or indirectly, for six years without court approval.
Mark Bruce, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “This ban is a warning to other directors, who contribute to the scourge that is nuisance calls, that there are severe repercussions for such behaviour.”
This ban follows two other recent disqualifications secured for breaches of PECR.
In late September, Charlotte McKeever of Advanced VOIP Solutions received a seven-year ban – the company facilitated unsolicited marketing calls by supplying telephone numbers and a call-back service to marketing companies.
The call-back service in particular allowed people, once they received a marketing call, to either request further information or opt out of further marketing calls; but many were charged for calling back to opt out, which is against telecommunications regulations.
In December, Jason Gambling of The Legend Alliance Ltd also began a seven-year disqualification after it made more than 21m unsolicited marketing calls without the caller’s consent in just four months.