Commissioner names firms over 'nuisance' marketing calls

The Information Commissioner has named companies it says is responsible for unsolicited phone calls
Image caption The Information Commissioner's Office says it is monitoring three more companies

The Information Commissioner's Office has named firms it has concerns over regarding unsolicited marketing calls.

Companies revealed on the ICO website include British Gas, Scottish Power, Talk Talk, Weatherseal Home Improvements, The Claims Guys, We Fight Any Claim and Anglian Windows.

The ICO can issue fines of up to £500,000 for breaches of regulations on unwanted calls, texts and emails.

The companies named said they were working with the ICO.

The list was compiled from complaints to the authority and the Telephone Preference Service. The ICO said it expected to see improvements in their operations in the coming months.

Three more companies, which have not been named, are being investigated by the ICO.

Speaking to Radio 4's You & Yours, Simon Entwistle, the director of operations at the ICO, said that while companies often maintained that they had permission to contact customers directly, separate consent must exist for marketing calls.

He added that there was no action they could take about calls which were made to chase a debt.

"We start off by working with the organisations because some of these big companies like British Gas and Talk Talk want to get this right but clearly there are problems," he said.

"We talk to them about how they can get it right and where we see in their system that something is going wrong.

"There is another category of organisation that only pay lip service to the regulations, what they want to do is to make as many calls as possible and try and get away with it.

"With those we take a very different approach, we have not named those organisations because we are actively gathering evidence in order to fine them for flouting the regulations as opposed to working and helping people who actually want to get it right."

Highest standards

A spokesman for British Gas said: "We uphold the highest standards when contacting people in their homes, and only use contact information if we have express permission to do so."

Scottish Power said it was working with the ICO. Talk Talk said complaints had fallen, it was not facing enforcement action and was working with the ICO.

We Fight Any Claim said its data was provided by an external company and if numbers listed on the Telephone Preference Service slipped through they were immediately blocked.

Anglian Windows said it took complaints seriously.

Weatherseal Home Improvements confirmed it had been contacted by the ICO and was co-operating.

The BBC contacted The Claims Guys but has yet to receive a response.

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