Increased risk of fines for nuisance direct marketing calls

In an unusual step, a local trading standards authority has successfully prosecuted a company for breaching consumer rights legislation by making direct marketing calls to people who have registered on the Telephone Preference Services’ (TPS’s) ‘do not call’ list. Actions for nuisance marketing calls are usually pursued by the Information Commissioner under separate data protection laws, namely the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PECR). The company, Apple Group Holdings, was fined more than £36,000 at Weymouth Magistrates Court following an investigation by Dorset County Council Trading Standards Service.

In February, Dorset County Council Trading Standards Service prosecuted the company for subjecting Dorset residents to cold calls by telephone and at their doorstep. The company has a number of different trading names and owns several companies that sell windows, doors, conservatories and solar panels across 12 offices in the region. The company ultimately pleaded guilty to 11 offences of engaging in unfair commercial practices, contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, including five offences of persistently making unwanted telephone sales calls to consumers. The other six offences related to making sales visits to people’s houses, having been asked not to do so; such practice is not, however, covered by the PECR. The company was reported to have caused persistent nuisance to elderly and vulnerable people…

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