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True Telecom in Dartford fined £85,000 for making nuisance calls over two years

By Chris Price

A broadband and telephone services company has been fined £85,000 for making nuisance calls.

True Telecom, based in Dartford, prompted more than 201 complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for ringing people illegally.

Over two years, it called people registered on the Telephone Preference Service and people who had specifically asked the firm not to contact them.

True Telecom is based in Crossways Business Park, Dartford

True Telecom is based in Crossways Business Park, Dartford

Many complaints said the calls were misleading because callers gave the impression they were from BT Openreach and the number was withheld.

The company continued to make calls despite a warning from the ICO.

It is against the law to call telephone numbers registered on the TPS unless an individual has given specific consent.

After an investigation, the ICO found True Telecom was unable to prove it had been given consent.

True Telecom is based in Crossways Business Park in Dartford

True Telecom is based in Crossways Business Park in Dartford

It was found to be in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

The ICO’s head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “The rules around nuisance calls are clear.

“There’s no excuse for making marketing calls to people who have explicitly asked not to receive them.

“These calls are at best annoying and at worst downright distressing, and companies who pester the public in this way must understand they won’t get away with it. The ICO will take action.”

True Telecom sales directors Mark Baines, left, and chief executive Stuart Griffiths

True Telecom sales directors Mark Baines, left, and chief executive Stuart Griffiths

True Telecom, which sells packages for broadband and line rental, was launched in Maidstone in 2013 by friends Stuart Griffiths and Mark Baines.

It moved to Crossways Business Park in Dartford a year later.

By 2016, the firm had accumulated a customer base of nearly 8,000 small to medium-sized businesses and employed more than 100 staff.

A spokesperson at True Telecom said the company takes TPS screening and data management "extremely seriously".

A statement read: "It was identified that we suffered a technical issue within our TPS screening process which led to these unfortunate events occurring.  

"We are extremely disappointed this system error led to the 201 businesses slipping through the net during the two-year period..." - True Telecom

"We are extremely disappointed this system error led to the 201 businesses slipping through the net during the two-year period. 

"We would like to formally apologise to each of the 201 business that were affected by this system error and  reconfirm that no intentional deviation from regulation has ever been intended.  

"We continually assess our processes and have heavily invested in a more robust solution which has completely eliminated the possibility of these types of issue reoccurring again in the future.  

"To add some context, our outbound sales teams contacted over five million businesses during this period.   

"We also note that in comparison to other cases of this nature, we feel the fine stated is somewhat disproportionate when considering other companies have been fined a lesser amount for over 100,000 individual cases vs 201 True Telecom cases.

 "True Telecom welcomes any and all guidance from ICO moving forwards and have been working very closely with them to ensure no more issues are experienced in the future." 

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