The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued another large monetary penalty to a nuisance call company, for what it described as a “sustained and exploitative campaign.”
The firm in question, It’s OK Ltd, made nearly 1.8 million calls over an 11-month period, which works out at over three per minute, between July 1 2019 and June 1 2020.
The victims were all registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), a register used by legitimate marketing companies to identify people who have opted out of receiving marketing calls.
Even worse, the firm tried to mislead individuals into paying for services they may not have needed, according to complaints made to the ICO.
The regulator claimed there’s evidence to suggest that the firm deliberately targeted the elderly.
“I have been mis-sold a service plan total cost of £194.40 for my washing machine. I was informed that my current service plan was due to expire and it needed to be renewed,” read one complaint received by the ICO.
“I renewed it and I have been told that I am not eligible to receive an engineer visit for a service. It’s OK Ltd has received £194.40 from me a pensioner and will not provide a service. I think many people are scammed [sic].”
Another claimed the caller had tried to impersonate their insurance provider, telling them their policy needed renewing and asking to check their bank details. They reportedly hung up when the victim asked them their name.
“The actions of this company represented a sustained and exploitative campaign potentially targeting the most vulnerable. Pressure tactics, misleading statements and contacting individuals who are registered on the TPS is shameful behavior,” argued ICO head of investigations, Andy Curry.
“In taking this action, we say to the public that we will continue to be on your side and protect you, and we say to any other organization operating outside of the law that we will pursue every case like this brought to us to the fullest extent.”
In fact, four companies were fined a total of £370,000 last October for making “predatory” marketing calls to TPS-registered individuals.
The ICO’s hard line approach to these companies is in contrast to its lighter touch with government departments that suffer preventable data breaches.