back to article That'll learn ya! Data watchdog spanks two Brit phone botherers

Two nuisance callers were today named and shamed – only one was fined – by the UK's data watchdog for illegal marketing activities. Our Vault Ltd in Chorley, Lancashire, was hit with a £70,000 penalty by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for making more than 55,000 unsolicited calls to householders that had …

  1. tmTM

    annnnnnnd..........

    they've suddenly folded

    1. Naselus

      Re: annnnnnnd..........

      Only for the premises to be occupied by a new company called Our Valut Ltd, with all the same directors, staff, and equipment, as of Monday Morning.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: annnnnnnd..........

      To their credit, the ICO have been managing to prevent phoenixing to avoid fines recently.

  2. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    If they withhold their number, then you have to listen to the scum to find out who they are so you can then complain to the ICO. Surely in this day and age, there must be a better way of complaining?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Even then the ICO seem to take no action. I still get the same "international" recorded message on my landline that I have been complaining about for nearly a year. I even instigated a follow-up in order to get the company details of "Green Deal" for the ICO.

    2. Peter2 Silver badge

      If they withhold their number, then you have to listen to the scum to find out who they are so you can then complain to the ICO. Surely in this day and age, there must be a better way of complaining?

      Well, the thing is that withholding the CLI data only withholds it from the end user. It's still held by the telephone network, as they keep that for billing and anti abuse purposes so it's possible to deal with this, the network operator just can't be assed to do it.

      A cynic would think that this has something to do with the fact that BT/Openreach/Whoever is quite happy to provide services to a company that makes tens or hundreds of thousands of calls because they are a "better" (paying) customer than the home user that wants them blocked.

  3. adam payne Silver badge

    Our Vault Ltd in Chorley, Lancashire, was hit with a £70,000 penalty by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for making more than 55,000 unsolicited calls to householders that had registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).

    Our Vault Ltd goes under without paying the fine and a new business called Our Vaults Ltd is setup.

    Rinse and repeat.

  4. MrKrotos

    Good place to work not...

    https://www.indeed.co.uk/cmp/Our-Insurance-Vault/reviews All the info you need to know is right there lol

  5. JakeMS

    Honestly..

    You're better off just hanging up on any marketing bod. You don't even have to say bye, just hang up as soon as you figure out what they are.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Honestly..

      Personally, I like to waste their time for a bit, if I've got nothing else to do. It can be quite entertaining and/or theraputic, and they're picking up the phone bill.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Honestly..

      Or take the middle approach, and just leave them on the line. Let the keep talking to thin air and keep wasting their time and hopefully money.

  6. nuked

    I pretend to be incredibly interested and put them on hold permanently whilst I "go get my bank details". Longest I think someone ever held on for is around 30 minutes.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm confused are they

    OUR VAULT LTD (08142575)

    or the dissolved on the 6th May 2014 (actually wound up by their creditor Paymentshield)

    OUR INSURANCE VAULT LTD (07925716)?

    Which is strange because there are reviews from people working there from last year as someone has already pointed out.

    Ain't no one getting that money.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The insurance biz claimed its personal data was verified against the TPS register. However, an ICO probe found this was not the case and no licence was held.

    So they not only ignored the rules, they deliberately lied about it so clearly know what they were doing? Never mind the £70K they'll have to fork out from petty cash, why isn't some director heading to jail for a few months for corporate malpractice (and banned from ever being a director again)?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ICO action

    About as terrifying as the old one about former tory cabinet minister Kenneth Baker; “Like being savaged by a dead sheep”.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: ICO action

      The dead sheep comment was aimed at Geoffrey Howe (by Eyebrows Healey)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "we can't crack down on these organisations without the public's help"

    They'd get more help if you actually did anything meaningful. Headline grabbing fine is no good if the offender folds, rebrands, ignores or worst still, offer to settle early and that's before taking into account the bizarre fine stucture and going easy on chairities.

  11. GIRZiM Bronze badge

    They shouldn't be fined.

    Instead, the directors should be locked in solitary with a phone that only stops ringing when they answer it and respond to a lot of impertinent questions about being in solitary confinement and/or take up opportunities to spend money on things that won't really help but sound like they might (ill-fitting ear muffs that don't cover both ears simultaneously, for instance).

    I'm working on the idea but, so far, I see potential in there being some sort of reward system (the more questions they answer, the less frequently the phone rings afterwards) but randomised such that they never know if:

    1. answering questions for thirty minutes will mean the phone stays silent for three minutes or three seconds afterwards

    2. the silent time will occur immediately afterwards or at some future time (possibly even a different day/week/month/year)

    3. the silent time might be fixed and, therefore, wasted if they choose to answer the phone and questions at the same time (choices, choices, decisions, decisions)

    4. there is a right answer that will earn them the silent time and a wrong one the won't.

    5. a wrong answer won't reduce the accrued silent time

    It's not that I'm a sadist, just a highly creative thinker with a deep-seated antipathy towards cold-callers (some might even call me disturbingly vengeful, but I couldn't possibly comment myself).

    1. low_resolution_foxxes

      Re: They shouldn't be fined.

      Given their company name it is easy enough to find the business name and Directors names

      This is possibly the right culprits, worth a phone call? https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/08142575/officers

      1. GIRZiM Bronze badge
        Devil

        Re: They shouldn't be fined.

        Interesting.

        Could call them at unfortunate hours of the night.

        I wonder where I can get an autodialler

  12. Carl D

    I have the Telstra Call Guardian 301 cordless phone/answering machine here in Australia. Don't know if anything similar is available in the UK?

    Never get any telemarketer/scammer phone calls because once you have the names and numbers of all family and friends, etc. programmed into the phone (they get straight through without being "screened") all other callers get a recorded message saying they must say their name after the beep then press the # key. When they do this the phone rings and tells you who is calling and you can then choose to accept or refuse/block the call before you talk to the caller.

    The telemarketers and scammers with their robodiallers can't/won't announce themselves and press # so they get disconnected without you even knowing they've tried to call unless you check the missed calls log later. If you want to go "full nuclear" with blocking you can select the option to totally block all calls from anyone not on the phone's contact list. In this case the blocked callers get a recorded message saying their call is not being accepted.

    Perfect for elderly friends and relatives who are the ones most vulnerable to phone call scammers (I have an 88 year old relative living with me).

    My previous phone had the option to block calls showing as Private or Unavailable which would only work for Unavailable calls with no caller ID but these days the scammers are all using "fake" caller ID's which show up as Unavailable so the phone would still ring and you had to manually block the number (which was practically useless because the scammers would just change to another fake caller ID so you would be manually blocking numbers for eternity).

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      A lot of people in the UK don't have landlines these days. Although the people that do tend to be older, and as you point out, they're often the most at risk from scams.

      I should probably look at getting one of those phones for my folks...

    2. Saruman the White

      We actually a phone which basically has the same function - a BT 8600 (yes, BT actually sells something that is both useful and works). Has basically eliminated the cold callers on our landline. Wish it would do the same for the mobile, but I've found that putting them on "hold" sooner or later results in them hanging up (having wasted a load of dosh on a useless call).

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "I have the Telstra Call Guardian 301 cordless phone/answering machine here in Australia. Don't know if anything similar is available in the UK?"

      Yes, and also central switch based services (refuse anon calls, block specific numbers, only allow whitelisted numbers)

  13. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    If it is not a Criminal Offence Make it a Criminal Offence.

    Don't bother fining the companies involved. The Tea and Muffin ICO stick the Directors in front of a Judge. The Judge ticks the Criminal Offence box. The Chocolate Tea Pot Companies House disqualifies the Directors and they are unable to set up another company. Did I miss anything?

    1. GIRZiM Bronze badge

      Re: Did I miss anything?

      Yes: this.

  14. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    £70,000??? That's it?

    Both of these firms have shown disrespect for the law and people's privacy

    ROFL! With a fine like £70,000, I'd do it all over again.

    Another thing, don't tell me how much fine was issued. What I'd really like to know is how much was actually collected.

  15. spold Bronze badge
    Meh

    I believe they are trying to reverse the charges...

  16. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Law and enforcement

    Err. The current UK govt. don't seem too keen on doing anything that may hurt a business, however rotten or corrupt ( the business, that is).

    1. davenewman

      Re: Law and enforcement

      Except for disrupting supply chains and swearing at businesses.

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