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Company bosses to be held responsible for nuisance calls with £500,000 fines

'We are determined to stamp this menace out,' says minister 

Monday 17 December 2018 01:18 GMT
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Repeated cold calls can leave people stressed and angry
Repeated cold calls can leave people stressed and angry (Getty/iStock)

Company bosses whose firms pester people with nuisance calls will be held personally liable and can be fined up to £500,000 under laws that take effect today.

Business directors will have “nowhere to hide” if their firm breaks the law, the government says.

Under the crackdown, data-protection watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) may hold bosses directly responsible. Previously, only the business itself was liable for fines.

Some companies escaped paying large penalties by declaring bankruptcy, only to open again under a different name, officials say.

Ofcom estimates consumers were bombarded with 3.9 billion nuisance phone calls and texts last year.

Minister for digital and creative industries Margot James said: “We are determined to stamp this menace out and this new law is the latest in a series of measures to rid society of the plague of nuisance calls.”

Andy Curry, of the ICO, said: “We welcome this amendment to the law, which will increase the tools we have to protect the public.

“It will mean we can recover the fine more easily and also make it much harder for unscrupulous operators to set up in business again.”

The ICO issued fines totalling £1.9m to 23 companies for nuisance marketing in the year 2016-2017.

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