PECR amendments making telemarketing directors liable come into force on 17 December
03 Dec 2018
After extensive consultation starting in 2016, the ICO announced measures to make directors personally liable for breaches in telemarketing laws. As of the 17th December 2018, this law will come into force.
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.
Earlier this year, 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 £500,000.
The DMA’s Director of Policy, 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.”
An explanatory note to the legislation explains "The effect of the amendments made … is to enable the [information] commissioner to impose such a penalty on an officer of a body corporate or Scottish partnership in addition to the body itself, where such a breach occurs as a result of action, or inaction, by that officer."
The DMA runs the Telephone Preference Service, which blocks nuisance calls. Any nuisance calls received while you are registered on the TPS are illegal. You can register with the TPS here.