A Hampshire-based company has been fined £270,000 for making 22 million nuisance calls on subjects such as debt management, by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
An ICO investigation traced the automated calls to Basingstoke-based Accident Consult, trading as Media Tactics.
The investigation was sparked by 182 complaints made to the ICO’s online reporting tool.
It found Media Tactics did not have the legal permissions to make the automated marketing calls relating to payment protection insurance, personal injury claims and debt management.
The ICO said Media Tactics told its enforcement team it had bought data from other firms and believed the people on the lists had consented to being contacted.
The phone numbers were sourced from a range of websites including discount and prize draw websites, payday loans and insurance brokers and an electronic cigarette seller.
People agreed to their details being shared with “third parties whose offers we think might interest you”, but the ICO found the privacy notices on the websites were generic and unspecific.
The ICO said the consents obtained were not adequate and has given the company a legal notice to stop making the unlawful calls.
Steve Eckersley, ICO head of enforcement, said: “These 22 million pre-recorded calls will have left many people feeling frustrated.
“But some people found them alarming and distressing – we heard from one complainant who found the calls depressing and another who was too frightened to answer any calls at all.”