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Welsh home improvement biz fined £200,000 over campaign of 675,478 nuisance calls

Home2Sense Ltd, a home improvement biz, is nursing a £200,000 financial penalty from the UK’s data watchdog for making well over half a million marketing calls to people that registered to opt out of such botheration.

The company, based in Lampeter, Wales, was behind 675,478 nuisance calls between June 2020 and March 2021, punting insulation services to people signed up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).

As Reg readers know, it is illegal to dial up someone that has registered with the TPS for more than 28 days, unless that person has given the marketeer specific consent to contact them.

During the course of its investigation, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) was told by Home2Sense that the customer data it had bought was from an “unknown source”, pointing the finger of blame at its own staff for not checking the numbers they called against the TPS database.

Some 60 customers had complained to the regulator, and the ICO found Home2Sense (company number 12219714) was using different names when making these unsolicited calls, including Cozy Lift, Warner Homes, and Comfier Homes – another practice that is illegal.

The complaints included pushy salespeople not taking no for an answer; one who claimed the caller said they were a local surveyor and another saying Home2Sense reps kept calling to ask to speak to their late mother who had died a decade earlier.

The ICO found Home2Sense broke regulation 21 and 24 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation and fined the business £200,000. It said there was “almost a complete failure” by Home2Sense to “engage” with the investigation or to provide evidence of steps it had taken to consider individuals’ privacy. As such it is “satisfied that this breach was deliberate.”

The fine will be cut to £160,000 – a 20 per cent reduction – if it is paid by 2 March.

Home2Sense was incorporated in September 2019 and has only filed micro accounts.

“Home2Sense’s dismissive attitude, coupled with attempts to deflect responsibility for compliance with the law onto its staff, shows a complete disregard for people’s privacy,” said Ken Macdonald, head of ICO Regions.

“Business owners operating in this field have a duty to have robust procedures and training in place so the law is followed.”

Macdonald added: “Attempts to rely on ignorance of the law, or trying to pass the buck onto members of staff or external suppliers, will not be tolerated.” ®