The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined a company selling funeral plans £80,000 for making unlawful marketing calls to people registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
The investigation was instigated after a newspaper had reported allegations of illegal practices at a call centre in North West England, run by a company which at the time was called Plan My Funeral Avalon Ltd.
The company subsequently changed its name to Avalon Direct Limited. It had made almost 52,000 calls to people who were registered with the TPS between 1 March and 20 November 2017.
As you may well know, it is against the law to call people registered with the TPS, unless you have their specific consent. In defence Avalon said it had purchased numbers from a third-party lead provider, but could not prove that it had specific consent to call people registered on the TPS. The investigation found it had failed to carry out proper due diligence or check the numbers against the TPS register.
In addition, the ICO’s investigation into Avalon found two of the company’s directors at the time of the contravention, were also the directors of the lead generator company used by Avalon for the data collection in this current case. Those same directors had previously been involved in an unconnected ICO investigation and the company involved in that case had been fined in January 2018 for carrying out unsolicited direct marketing.
As a result they would have been fully aware of their legal obligations surrounding direct marketing, consent and the TPS register. The ICO has stated that the directors concerned are no longer associated with Avalon.
In addition to the £80k fine, Avalon has also been served with an Enforcement Notice ordering it to improve its practices.
As always, if you have a legal query please get in touch with the FSB Legal Helpline on 0345 0727727 and we'll be happy to assist you.