Solar energy company handed record fine for nuisance calls

The ICO said it had received 242 complaints about calls offering ‘free’ solar panels between October and December 2014

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The Independent Online

A green energy company has been handed a record fine for making people’s lives a misery with six million nuisance calls.

Home Energy and Lifestyle Management (Helms), based in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, was issued with a £200,000 fine by watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office for breaking marketing call regulations. 

The ICO said it had received 242 complaints about calls offering ‘free’ solar panels between October and December 2014.

One complainant said they were hit with the calls while waiting for news of a terminally ill family member, while another said it brought back memories of receiving a phone call one morning to say a grandchild had died.

Helms blamed the calls, which gave a misleading offer of free solar panels, on another company that it had hired to make them. They were often repeated and offered no way of connecting to a person or opting out. Under the law, companies must have people’s permission to make automated calls.

Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO, said the company’s ignorance of the law was “beyond belief”. 

“The monetary penalty is for a significant amount because of the clear failings of the company, and the number of people affected by its deliberate and unlawful campaign,” Eckersley said.

Helms is seeking legal action against the company it claims is responsible for the calls.

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