Design Information Commissioner's Office

DM Design fined £90,000 by ICO following thousands of complaints over unsolicited marketing calls


By Gillian West, Social media manager

March 20, 2013 | 2 min read

Glasgow-based DM Design has been fined £90,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after racking up nearly 2,000 complaints to the ICO and Telephone Preference Service (TPS) over thousands of unwanted marketing calls.

The kitchen and bedroom fitting company breached the law after consistently failing to check whether individuals had opted out of receiving marketing calls and responding to just a handful of complaints it received. According to reports one employee even refused to remove a complainant’s details from the company’s system and instead threatened to “continue to call at more inconvenient times like Sunday lunchtime”.

“Today’s action sends out a clear message to the marketing industry that this menace will not be tolerated. This company showed a clear disregard for the law and a lamentable attitude toward the people whose day they were disturbing. This is not good enough,” commented information commissioner Christopher Graham.

The penalty is the first issued by the ICO for a serious breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). Two more companies have been informed by the ICO that it intends to issue significant fines over breaches, with a final decision over the amount likely in the coming weeks. Currently a further 10 companies are the subject of ongoing investigations surrounding cold calling and spam text messages.

Graham added: “This fine will not be an isolated penalty. We know other companies are showing a similar disregard for the law and we’ve every intention of taking further enforcement action against companies that continue to bombard people with unlawful marketing texts and calls.”

Of the information commissioner’s action Mike Lordan, chief of operations at the Direct Marketing Association, said: "We're pleased that the ICO has used its power to issue its first fine to a company breaching telemarketing rules. Companies cold calling people registered with Telephone Preference Service are causing serious harm to the reputable telemarketing industry. The ICO must use enforcement action to protect the consumer, as well as the interests of the vast majority of companies that comply with the law and adhere to the highest standards of best practice. We know there are more companies breaking the law, so we look forward to seeing further enforcement action."

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