On March 20, 2012, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office announced that it has issued a monetary penalty of £90,000 against DM Design Bedrooms Ltd. (“DM Design”) for making thousands of unwanted marketing calls.
Under applicable UK electronic direct marketing rules, marketers are prohibited from making unsolicited telephone calls without checking whether individuals have registered with the Telephone Preference Service (“TPS”). If an individual has registered with the TPS the marketer may only call with the individual’s consent.
DM Design consistently failed to check whether individuals had opted out of receiving marketing calls and only responded to a handful of the complaints it received. The ICO and the TPS received nearly 2,000 complaints about unwanted calls from DM Design. In one instance, an employee of DM Design refused to remove a complainant’s details from the company’s system and instead threatened to “continue to call at more inconvenient times like Sunday lunchtime.”
UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham warned, “this fine will not be an isolated penalty. We know other companies are showing a similar disregard for the law and we’ve every intention of taking further enforcement action against companies that continue to bombard people with unlawful marketing texts and calls.” The ICO has informed two more companies that it intends to impose significant penalties for violations, with a final decision likely in the coming weeks. Ten other companies are the subjects of ongoing investigations for cold-calling and sending spam text messages.
In November 2012, the ICO issued monetary penalties totaling £440,000 to two owners of a marketing company that sent millions of unlawful spam SMS text messages over a period of three years.