Posted on 25 October, 2016The ICO has been granted power to fine company directors of nuisance call firms. We explain why this is such good news for the direct marketing industry
Which? consumer group, has over the weekend, scored a massive victory over nuisance calls. New legislation which comes into force next year will mean that company directors of nuisance call firms will be liable for personal fines of up to half a million pounds. The ICO will also continue to be able to issue a fine to the company meaning sanctions could total a million pounds. The move comes in response to the ineffective current legislation which only allows fines to be issued to the company found in breach of the privacy and electronic bill. Unfortunately many of the firms that have been fined so far have declared bankruptcy to avoid the fine and set up again a few days later under another name.
The direct marketing community should welcome the news since nuisance calls have long blighted the reputation of legitimate direct communications; an industry which contributes over £10 billion to the UK economy each year. Telemarketers have the same problem with nuisance calls that direct mailers have with scam mail – despite the clear difference consumers find it hard to differentiate between the two and we are tarred by the same brush. However, both DM and telemarketing when carried out responsibly is an incredibly effective way for organisations to build strong relationships with their customers; relationships that consumers value and this is particularly important since come Spring 2018 when GDPR comes into force customer acquisition will become much harder and more expensive.
The ICO has issued clear guidelines on responsible direct marketing which includes ensuring that customer data is well maintained meaning obsolete records are removed regularly. For further information on data hygiene read our how to blog here: /news-repository/how-to-buy-a-suppression-file.aspx