Cold-calling firm Prodial hit with record fine
A Brighton-based firm, Prodial, has been given the largest ever fine for cold calling from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
Prodial Ltd was fined £350,000 and was responsible for making over 46 million automated nuisance calls.
More than 1,000 people complained to the ICO about the relentless calls which played recorded messages relating to PPI claims.
One was a doctor who said he had to answer in case it was an emergency.
There have been other, larger fines for cold calling, but this is the biggest from the Commissioner's Office.
The Claims Management Regulator (CMR), which oversees the compensation claims industry, said the cold-calling was "deliberate and sustained".
Those who complained said that they were called repeatedly and often there was no opt out option.
Prodial was operating out of a residential property.
It was also hiding its identity, which made it harder for people to report the calls.
Firms can use internet phone lines to make enormous numbers of recorded marketing calls cheaply, but businesses can only make calls to people who have specifically consented to being contacted in this way.
Christopher Graham of the ICO said: "This is one of the worst cases of cold calling we have ever come across. The volume of calls made in just a few months was staggering."
The company has since been placed into voluntary liquidation and the ICO is working with liquidators to recover the fine.
Three Manchester based firms have also been told to stop making unsolicited nuisance calls. These firms were responsible for millions of calls which covered mis-sold pensions, PPI and debt management.