TPS chief warns telemarketers of increased risk of fines as trading standards enforces TPS laws for first time | DMA

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TPS chief warns telemarketers of increased risk of fines as trading standards enforces TPS laws for first time

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) has warned businesses conducting sales and marketing calls of an increased risk of fines after a local trading standards authority made a legal first by prosecuting a company for calling people registered on the TPS's 'do not call' list.

In February, Dorset County Council Trading Standards Service issued a first-of-its-kind fine to a home improvements company, Apple Group Holdings Limited, for making unwanted sales and marketing calls to residents registered on the TPS. The company was fined £36,000 for causing ‘persistent nuisance’ to elderly and vulnerable people. This action has set a legal precedent, paving the way for companies operating nationally to be fined for TPS breaches in every county it operates.

During the past year the issue of nuisance calls has attracted widespread media and political attention as complaints have soared to an all-time high. The TPS has been calling on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the organisation responsible for enforcement, to prosecute rogue operators in breach of TPS legislation. The ICO started to issue penalties to companies for nuisance calls over the past 18 months, but their efforts have been hampered by the need to prove significant damage or distress was caused. Dorset Trading Standards is the first regulator other than the ICO to have fined a company using the Consumer protection from unfair trading regulations 2008.

John Mitchison, head of the TPS, said:

“Companies breaching TPS laws are now face a far greater risk of being prosecuted compared to this time last year, with over 200 Local Authority Trading Standards Services in the UK.

“Businesses using telemarketing as a part of their marketing mix need to be cautious when conducting the right checks on the data they use or buy. Screening against the TPS is an essential part of data compliance and companies need to take all complaints seriously.”

Chris Combemale, executive director of the DMA, said that businesses must plan their telemarketing around the expectations of consumers:

“No company should ever want to be known for making nuisance calls. Doing so will damage their reputation, lose them customers and attract the attention of a growing number of regulators with the powers to issue steep financial penalties.”

The TPS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the DMA and has been working together with the government, consumer groups and telecoms providers to address the issue of nuisance calls.

Nearly 20 million private landline and mobile numbers on the TPS and it is a legal requirement for telemarketers to screen their contact data against the TPS. Companies can access the TPS registers by applying for a licence.

-Ends-

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the Telephone Preference Service

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is the UK’s official opt out system covering live sales and marketing calls. It’s regulated by Ofcom, and run under licence by the Direct Marketing Association and enables individuals to opt out of live unsolicited sales and marketing calls by adding their number to a 'do not call' list. The TPS is not a call blocking or barring service. Organisations are required by law to screen their list of telephone numbers against the TPS and not make live unsolicited sales and marketing calls to any number on the TPS register. The relevant legislation is PECR 2008 and it’s enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

For further information contact the DMA Press Office:

Contact

Ed Owen, Head of PR
Tel. 020 7291 3324
Email ed.owen@dma.org.uk

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