Firm bosses ought to be held personally liable for nuisance calls, the buyer group Which? says.
A regulation change final yr made it simpler to prosecute companies that ignore guidelines on chilly-calling individuals – however solely 4 of the 22 fines issued have been paid.
The group advised some bosses have been closing companies solely to open new ones as a approach of escaping penalties.
The federal government stated it was taking a look at how additional to strengthen the Info Commissioner’s powers.
The commissioner’s workplace (ICO) stated it had issued £1.5m of fines to date in 2016 – up from £300,000 in 2014 – after the change to the law made it easier to penalise firms.
The ICO now solely has to show calls and messages are a “nuisance” fairly than the reason for “critical injury and misery”. Companies should additionally show their quantity when calling or face being fined as much as £500,000.
However Which? stated making additional modifications to the regulation so particular person administrators could possibly be held to account would assist to deliver “rogues” to justice.
“Hundreds of thousands of individuals are nonetheless being pestered by nuisance calls and it is time for harder motion that holds firm administrators personally accountable for the illegal actions of their corporations,” Alex Neill, director of campaigns and coverage for Which?, stated.
The ICO confirmed that simply 4 of the 22 fines levied towards companies because the regulation modified in April 2015 had been paid in full, with two partly paid.
Within the remaining instances, the fines had not been paid in any respect or the companies had gone into liquidation, it stated.
Which? prompt some corporations have been utilizing this tactic as a means of escaping penalties.
Mike Lordan, from the Direct Advertising Affiliation which represents corporations who need to contact shoppers immediately, stated there ought to be stiffer penalties for these behind companies behaving on this means – with firm administrators being made personally liable.
“We want to see custodial sentences introduced in when these corporations which might be fined then go into liquidation,” he advised the BBC.
Final yr, one claims administration firm in south Wales made 40 million nuisance calls about PPI claims, and had its licence suspended.
Andy Curry, head of the ICO group investigating nuisance calls and texts, stated the issue tended to be “small advertising corporations that pay little heed to the principles”.
“Establishing an operation that may make hundreds of thousands of calls is sadly surprisingly straightforward, with little outlay required on gear, premises or employees. It could actually be a cottage business, and as these corporations are sometimes restricted corporations, administrators may be fast to look to liquidation as a method out of paying fines.
“The UK does have a robust insolvency regime and the ICO is dedicated to pursuing cash owed on behalf of taxpayers and people hundreds of thousands of people that have been bothered by undesirable calls.
“Unpaid fines mark a irritating finish to our investigations, nevertheless it’s value noting that when nuisance name corporations exit of enterprise, they cease making calls – and that is a profitable end result.”
A spokesman for the Division for Tradition, Media and Sport stated: “The federal government is exploring measures to strengthen the powers of the Info Commissioner.
“This consists of, amongst different issues, holding to account board-degree executives who fail to adjust to guidelines and steerage.”
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