The Information Commissioner’s Officer (“ICO”) has issued a fine of £200,000, its largest ever penalty for nuisance calls, to Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd. (“HELM”), a green energy company. HELM was investigated after the ICO received hundreds of complaints from consumers concerning automated marketing calls received from HELM.
The ICO discovered that HELM had made over 6 million automated calls as part of its ‘free solar panels’ marketing campaign without the consent of the consumers, in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003. ICO’s Head of Enforcement Steve Eckersley has been quoted as saying that:
This company’s ignorance of the law is beyond belief. It didn’t even bother to find out what the rules were and its badly thought out marketing campaign made people’s lives a misery. 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. … It should be a warning to other companies to think before they launch into a campaign. Direct marketing campaigns can be run within the law with a little thought and there’s plenty of advice available to companies in the ICO’s website.