Government introduces consultation on measures to beat nuisance calls

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Government introduces consultation on new measures to beat nuisance calls


On Wednesday, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport announced a consultation on the introduction of measures to tackle the omnipresent problem of illegal nuisance calls. The new measures would hold company directors directly accountable for the foul-play of their companies.

Having campaigned for greater punishment for those who make illegal nuisance calls, the DMA enthusiastically welcomes this proposal.

Previously when companies have been caught, the business entity is issues with fines and penalties rather than any individual. To get around these fines, the companies can declare bankruptcy and avoid the fine. Last year, just over half of the total fines for nuisance calls were recovered.

Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, Margot James noted that “for too long a minority of company directors have escaped justice by liquidating their firms and opening up again under a different name. We want to make sure the Information Commissioner has the powers she needs to hold rogue bosses to account and put an end to these unwanted calls.“

Now, when careless cold-callers are caught, owners and directors could face fines of up to £1m.

The DMA’s Director of Policy and Compliance, John Mitchison said “It should come as no surprise that individuals willing to skirt the law when it suits them are also ready to do the same to avoid paying their debts. That’s why we wholeheartedly support the extension of fines to the individuals that are behind these rogue businesses. The introduction of these new laws would target the individuals profiting from these rogue businesses, making them think twice about breaking the law if there is a real threat that they may be personally liable.”

The consultation questions are as follows:

● Do you think that the current legislative framework regarding the Insolvency Service’s powers of disqualification in regards to PECR breaches are sufficient?
● If no, do you think that the government should amend PECR to give the Information Commissioner a power to impose fines on company directors and those in similar positions who are responsible for breaches of direct marketing rules?
● What impact would fining directors for breaches of electronic marketing have on you/your organisation?
● Are there any other costs or benefits that may be associated with this proposal that you think the Government should consider before taking a final decision?
● Are there any impacts, including equality impacts, we have not considered?
● Do you have any additional comments?

Members should feel free to contact Zach or Michael with any concerns or comments. The full report can be accessed here.

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