Published: 17:30, 11 September 2017 |
Updated: 10:11, 12 September 2017
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.
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.
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, 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."
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
Your No1 guide to getting married in Kent. From dresses to discos and venues to veils, we've got everything you could possibly need for your big day
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating!
PLUS, register for free!.
Read our pick of the best holiday destinations. Whether its a weekend break, or something a little bit longer, we have reviewed a wide range of holidays.