back to article ICO whacks Welsh biz with £350k fine for 150 million nuisance calls

A Welsh firm responsible for 146 million nuisance PPI calls has been slapped with a £350,000 fine by the Information Commissioner’s Office - not that the data watchdog is confident that penalty will be paid. Your Money Rights (YMR) - which had its authorisation as a claims management company cancelled in May - instigated 146, …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    This is the problem

    with Limited Companies.

    The law needs to change so they can't just dissolve when it suits them and also the directors should be personally made responsible for CCJs and fines.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: This is the problem

      FFS. Does anyone read the full article these days?

      "In an effort to stop businesses dodging the financial bullet in this way, the government last year announced that it would introduce a new law to allow the ICO to penalise a company’s directors for their firm’s nuisance calls."

      1. Cynical Observer
        Pint

        Re: This is the problem

        It's Friday - it's time to chill. Would this help ----------------->

      2. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: This is the problem

        FFS. Does anyone read the full article these days?

        @ Lost all faith...

        Do you really believe the pathetic, beleaguered, out-of-their-depth wankers of the current government will draft and pass such a law? It certainly wasn't in the Queen's Speech, I doubt there's time in the parliamentary calendar, I sense no political enthusiasm, and I can see nothing in the draft of the UK Data Protection Bill that covers the situation where a penalty against a company cannot be recovered due to insolvency or winding up.

        I'd like to be mistaken, but I believe this is just another shitty, insincere promise by politicians that they never intended to honour.

      3. Aqua Marina Silver badge

        @FFS. Does anyone read the full article these days?

        People read the article, but you don't read the comments.

        The article simply says "introduce a new law to allow the ICO to penalise a company’s directors for their firm’s nuisance calls". Notice the phrase "ICO to penalise a company's directors".

        The commentard stated "The law needs to change so they can't just dissolve when it suits them and also the directors should be personally made responsible for CCJs and fines." The commentard is asking that directors are made responsible for ALL fines and CCJs. Not just the ones from the ICO.

        1. Jason 24

          Give them an inch...

          Forget all that, this is much simpler to resolve, from the article;

          "Companies can only make automated marketing calls to people that have previously consented to such communications from them."

          I can give you the complete list of people who want to receive such automated calls.

          ...

          Now if no one wants these, then surely they are illegal? The above line merely gives them an inch and they taking a fecking light years worth of the piss.

  2. WibbleMe

    350K into 150mil goes £0.002 per call way cheaper than adwords.

    We need a minimum fine act such as £1 per phone call.

    1. Mark 110 Silver badge

      Thats no good if the company can just wind up to avoid the fine.

      There needs to be liability on company directors for all manner of criminal and civil behaviour made by comapnies. IIRC theres liability on Directors for a few things (H&S breaches I think). There should be liability on Directors for all kinds of company behaviour, particularly where its premeditated as in this case.

      1. Mark 110 Silver badge

        Decent list of Director personal liabilities here:

        https://united-kingdom.taylorwessing.com/synapse/duties_personal_liabilities.html

        We should just have a blanket statute that says that any outstanding company liabilities for breach of statutes transfer to the directors if the company is wound up. (Needs a better legal mind than mine to word that properly)

      2. Cynical Observer
        Stop

        Isn't this alluded to in the article - that the change in the law would allow the ICO to pursue the directors for payment of the fine

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          would, the key word. Would, as in... "at some vague point in the future, in the galaxy far, far away"

      3. Phil Endecott Silver badge

        > Thats no good if the company can just wind up to avoid the fine.

        They should pay the fine in advance.

        Seriously. If you want to send bulk text messages or make automated phone calls you should pay a deposit before you can send them, which is returned to you in the unlikely event that the recipients actually did opt in to receive them.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Fine if you go through an aggregator, but what if you send your messages using a GSM modem? You can send 1 message per second per modem on a 3G modem.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            "what if you send your messages using a GSM modem? "

            All the companies have terms in the T&C against that and they all shut down bulk senders pretty quickly.

            You'd need thousands of sims, not just hundreds - and that means you start being traceable.

            Spammy outfits like M-Blox got chased through various telcos inside the UK, then to the Channel Islands and then off to India before resorting to using forged message centre data - which is obvious enough now that the telcos can filter it.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "Seriously. If you want to send bulk text messages or make automated phone calls you should pay a deposit before you can send them, which is returned to you in the unlikely event that the recipients actually did opt in to receive them."

          Take it a step further. The recipient dials a code, say 147x where x is any digit not currently assigned, and their account is credited with £1 (or some larger fee), twice that if the number is TPS registered. The recipient's telco adds on a fee for the service and then puts the charge on the caller's bill - or, if the call arrived from another network, transfer-charges that network.

          It would, of course, be up to the originating network to decide whether they require an advance payment - why dictate their credit control policies, just put them on the hook for letting their customers behave that way.

    2. PeterM42
      Flame

      How about....

      £1000 per call and 10 years in jail?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After the horse has bolted laws get passed...

    This is the Government Oversight we get for paying taxes...

    Basically they respond last as per usual... For Fuck Sake!

  4. adam payne Silver badge

    "The ICO said that it was “committed to recovering the fine” and that it would work with the liquidators if the company, whose latest accounts are almost two months overdue, does move into insolvency."

    Shut it down, start up under another name and so the merry go round continues.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Shut it down, start up under another name and so the merry go round continues."

    All the more reason to pursue the directors for liabilities, if tehy're stripped of any profits then they wouldn't be able to afford to start up again (that is if the law does it properly and strips them bare...).

    Unfortunately this is unlikely to happen since if they pay any tax then they'll be protected by the inland revenue as a source of income.

    (Anon since Idon't want my tax bill going up this year)

    1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      Re: "Shut it down, start up under another name and so the merry go round continues."

      "All the more reason to pursue the directors for liabilities, if they're stripped of any profits then they wouldn't be able to afford to start up again"

      There is provision somewhere in the law to bar them from being company directors, though I have no idea what specific offences can trigger this.

  6. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just run a company check dude - or search on the company name in your fave search engine. The bit you want is the 'Directors & Secretaries' section for the names and addresses. As of five minutes ago the company was still active.

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        C'mon, lets not take the law into our own hands, please?

        The bit you want is the 'Directors & Secretaries' section for the names and addresses.

        Usually (but not always) these are document service addresses, not the home addresses. And the reason directors can use these semi-anonymous addresses is specifically because directors used to have to give their home addresses, but then the twats from the animal rights lobby took to going round and attacking and abusing the directors and their families.

        In this case, for a low value of non-violent nuisance retaliation, I think some of us can accept that they'd deserve that. But anything beyond that, and you're taking it upon yourself to enforce a form of "justice" outside the court system. Who will be deemed guilty by you? What will be their punishment? And where will all that end? I suspect that anything they'd call the police over would see people on a harassment or stalking charge, and rightly so.

        We have criminal and civil justice systems that are the envy of most of the world. Sometimes they don't deliver the result many people want, but that's not the fault of the courts, but usually of careless civil servants and lackadaisical politicians. Rather than forming a lynch mob for each instance, how about using the energy campaigning to get director's personal liability added as a clause to the draft data protection bill?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £350k fine for 150M

    £350k fine for 150 M, not bad for a roi

    its directors are currently seeking to dissolve the company

    yawn

    government last year announced that it would introduce a new law

    yawnyawn

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If a firm goes out of business to try and duck an ICO fine then they’re no longer making troublesome nuisance calls."

    That doesn't stop them being resurrected like a phoenix the next day under a new name. Probably after selling their used phone kit at a bargain price to the new company - directly or indirectly.

  9. Andy Non
    Devil

    Proper punishment

    would be to lock the directors up in solitary confinement for a year and play PPI adverts to them very loudly 24/7. "Not checked to see if you've got PPI? What's going on and on and on and on..."

    Release them when they are babbling idiots.

    1. Rol Silver badge

      Re: Proper punishment

      They each throw a twelve sided die and shout out a number from 1-4. The die would relate to the month and the number roughly transcribe to the week where a BOFH article appeared.

      Their punishment would be to share the fate of whoever it was that foolishly tangled with our hero in that article.

      Perhaps an eight yard skip carefully positioned under THE window would help with clearing away most of the mess.

  10. Richard Jukes

    Only sensible way forward it to bar directors a dissolved/bankrupt companies from running another company for 2 years or so.

    Doesnt stop them changing directors before going bump off course.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This:

    "If a firm goes out of business to try and duck an ICO fine then they’re no longer making troublesome nuisance calls. But the new law will increase the tools we have to go after them and hold them fully accountable for the harassment, annoyance and disruption they’ve caused."

    Said a Lip Service drone.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wondered why that nice Welsh lady who kept asking me about double glazed solar panels and credit cards stopped calling. I was getting quite good at the accent, shame really.

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