Direct marketing: fine for marketing calls upheld
A decision in the First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber: Information Rights) provides a reminder to businesses that they are legally obliged to check the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) before calling individuals, without their consent, for direct marketing purposes. The tribunal upheld a monetary penalty notice for £50,000 made against a UPVC window company for failure to comply with the rules on unsolicited direct marketing calls. The Information Commissioner (ICO) relied on 524 unsolicited marketing calls, many of these were made to individuals who had registered their telephone number with the TPS.
Businesses that carry out direct marketing campaigns should keep records of consumer consents and suppression lists. This decision demonstrates that the ICO will be able to cast its net wider than to just the number, content and tenor of the calls and can consider a broader course of conduct, including business practices. Businesses should, therefore, take seriously the need to keep up-to-date and accurate records, evidence of staff training and overall compliance in relation to direct marketing, in case of a complaint or an ICO investigation.
If you would like a checklist highlighting the key data protection issues a business should consider when carrying out direct marketing, please get in touch.