The fine was imposed following over 1,000 complaints from consumers, including one from a doctor whose line was being clogged with automated calls, preventing emergency patient calls from getting through. Complainants reported being dialled at all hours of the day and night by Brighton-based Prodial, which provided no opt out details for those who wanted the calls to stop. The company also operated out of a residential address and masked its identity, making it even harder for consumers to take action to prevent the calls.
Prodial is also said to have used the details of consumers who had not ‘opted-in’ to receive marketing calls, a practice which is against the law. The marketing ‘leads’ generated by its calls were sold on to claims management companies.
According to Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, who handed down the record fine, the company’s owner closed it down on hearing that the ICO was investigating its practices.
Mr Graham 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. This was a company that knew it was breaking the law."
"We want to send a clear message to other firms that this type of law-breaking will not pay. That is why we have handed out our highest ever fine.”