A firm promising to generate leads for businesses has been fined £70,000 for making more than 100,000 nuisance calls – although it has denied using automatic dialling. The UK Information Commissioner's Office investigated (PDF) Liverpool-based firm The Lead Experts following a series of complaints from people who had not …
I don't know. I wouldn't mind 70p for each spam call I received.
In fact, if you're a spammer, my number is 0151 HOT CASH and I'm interested in offers and deals including but not restricted to, free central heating boilers, government sponsored energy efficient replacement windows, fitted kitchens, PPI claims, accidents I may have forgotten about (well how should I know? I've forgotten!), deafness caused at work (why are you phoning deaf people?) and any sort of internet/Microsoft help you can easily proffer.
Please have your credit card details ready when you call as I'm sure you don't want to waste your valuable time faffing about trying to find your wallet. Better yet why not email me your card number and that little 3 digit one off the back and I'll set you up with an account in advance.
They already have
Mr Aaron Federick Stalberg is listed as a director and the Person with Significant Control of The Lead Experts Limited.
It filed for voluntary strike-off on 8th August 2017. On 18th August 2017, he set up a new company called The Money Saving Monkey Ltd, at the same forwarding address.
Interesting that The Lead Experts was originally incorporated with a service address of a Student Hostel (https://www.facebook.com/oliverhouseliverpool/) then changed to a residential apartment address (http://listings.thekeel-liverpool.co.uk/) and finally to a (illegal?) dropbox: http://www.completeformations.co.uk/company-shop/regent-street.html
It looks like Samantha Dorman (also mentioned as director) might be the wee tyke's mummy.
They must take responsibility and, ultimately accept the consequences if they break the law."
As far as I can see, winding up a company, declaring it insolvent, or having it struck off are business as usual for criminals, yet I see no evidence that the ICO, Companies House, or the Insolvency Service do anything about this. All they do is mumble that it isn't their job. But I spot an inefficiency here - there's lots of different mumblers, duplication, gaps in provision, and a lack of equality amongst the mumblers. So, I propose Mumbled Apologies As A Shared Service (MAaaSS). I'd be willing to join the Civil Service as a Director General of Mumbled Excuses and CEO of MAaaSS). It'd pay well, great pension, no responsibility. And I'd put my heart and soul into it - I'd mumble my excuses with a pitiful tone, and even wring my hands as I mumbled. On camera or in public I'd adopt a pained, regretful expression, along with a nodding dog sympathy gesture. What could be better?
It's been absolute bliss. Not a single unsolicited call for 3 years.
Add that to TrueCaller (*not* "TrueCall" which would be redundant without a landline) and we also seem to have good SMS spam protection too.
Final push was the "Another Call Recorder" app which automatically records all calls and stores them off-phone for whatever purposes you need.
It's because my good lady wife and I are both rocking ACR our mobiles that we have a recording of one Capita employee telling me one thing, while another flatly contradicted (i.e. lied) to my wife on a separate call at the same time. Fortunately they did their job, so we never had to go as far as court to test their managers assertion that "Capita are exempt from the law".
TrueCaller should be banned by the ICO. It rifles through your contacts list, stealing the names of people without their knowledge or consent and then disclosing this personal information to people that they call.
But the ICO is totally useless, along with all the other so-called watchdogs, so absolutely nothing will happen.
I have resolved the issue to my satisfaction by making the "default" ringtone a single "ding". Any caller not in my Contacts list rings with this easy-to-ignore tone. Callers in my contacts list ring with a "normal" ring, though I did have to laboriously change their ringtones one at a time (as the ringtone defaults to...well, "default")
These wankers have been trying to keep up with technology, first, by spoofing the caller ID so you can't block them, and then by using "neighbour" prefixes, so you think they're someone local and are therefore more likely to answer.
The USA authorities seem unable to deal with them either, except for the occasional high profile news item explaining how they caught someone and fined them some number of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Which is probably built into their business plan by now.
I do notice that, from the heavily-accented speech, most of the call centers appear to be offshore, which again makes complete sense. I get the occasional "AI" call, and they're really easily spotted. I always answer their first question with a non-sequitur:
"Hello, how are you today?"
"My hovercraft is full of eels!"
"I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that"
"I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that"
One of the last calls I remember getting before I left the UK for good, was from a company offering unsecured loans. My response was, in my Sarf London accent; great! I only got out of the nick last week an' I haven't sorted anything out yet, how quick ca.........?
For some reason the line went dead.
I used the phrase "my bathtub is filled with brightly coloured machine tools". Actually I also use that phrase whenever I ring an automated service like BT Fault Reporting and it asks me to describe the problem in my own words. That phrase is remarkably good when it comes to BT actually, invariably it elicits the response from the automated voice thing: "So, you have a broadband problem?" - and most of the time, that is a correct assessment.
I can think of several who presumably have given their utter support of the usefulness and economic value of commercial stalking^Wmarketing by consenting to automated calls:
1. Nick Stringer - IAB
2. Ed Vaizey - Former Minister of Culture, Communications and Creative Industries
3. Lord West - because there must be a surveillance angle there somewhere
4. Kent Ertugrul - CEO of the late Phorm
5. City of London Police - They love all businesses especially when they buy them nice lunches.
My local hospital withholds their number when robo-calling to remind of appointments, which means that an increasing number of these calls will be automatically blocked by BT Call Protect and suchlike.
They think they can't change it without having a new phone system, which they can't afford...
"They think they can't change it without having a new phone system, which they can't afford..."
All they need to do is prefix all contact numbers with 1471
My GP had the same problem and the same excuse. Suggesting they tried the above resulted in them not having any more problems.
My local hospital uses automated calls as appointment reminders. They ring about a week in advance and you get to do a few "1" button pushes if you will still be attending.
Your local hospital reveals the fact that people have appointments with them to unverified third parties? Someone's going to have their arse handed to them on a DPA plate ...
Interestingly, there are numerous legitimate uses for automated calling. I myself am signed up to the Environment Agency's automated flood warning service for the local river. Also, burglar alarm systems use it and automated fault warning systems for 24 hour on call maintenance engineers comes to mind too.
"Companies cannot hide behind paying another firm to make the calls for them. They must take responsibility and, ultimately accept the consequences if they break the law."
How exactly do you plan to do that Steve when they personally take no "responsibility"? The only "responsibility" these sorts of organisations seem to have is to make as much money as possible, through as nefarious means as possible. This as a business plan and/or modus operandi.
And what consequenses? And if they exist, why aren't you able to actually prosecute the directors?
Don't worry, the question is rhetorical. We all know the answer.
"And what consequenses?"
Company law does not protect directors from the liabilities of illegal activities - especially when the directors knowingly engaged in it.
"And if they exist, why aren't you able to actually prosecute the directors?"
That's the department of not my job mate, up the hall and to the left, after the doorway for the department of fruitless arguements and before the one of pointless abuse.
I don't understand why the ICO don't object to any companies making themselves insolvent or striking themselves off the register.
Companies Act 2006 section 1006
The failure to provide you with a copy of the application to strike off is a criminal offence.s.1006(4)
If it was done with the intention of concealing the striking off from you then that is an aggravated offence s1006(5)
These pricks knew full well what they were doing was illegal and took steps to try and prevent being traced:
In the PDF, Page 10. para 47, aggravating features: (Regarding CLI presentation of 0844337 and 08454290 numbers)
"Whilst the CLI's(sic) used were legitimate, they did not identify the company making the call. The CLI's were routed through Buenos Aires making it difficult to trace the company"
It's interesting that the ICO managed to stop the liquidation of the company. This means they must now be paying attention to Companies House activities.
It's _illegal_ to use numbers for contact (including CLI) on marketing calls that incur added fees to call back.
Apart from the issue of The Lead Experts using them, there's the issue of the provisioning outfit (DXI) accepting them. As the outfit who actually initiated the calls, they should be heavily penalised by Ofcom and OfT for facilitating activity which was obviously illegal from the outset.
Perhaps someone from El Reg should be getting comments from DXI and the above regulators about how automated calls with an 084* prefix were allowed to be made in the first place.
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