Solar firm record fine for nuisance calls
Posted by NEF Gabby on 30 September 2015 at 9:52 am
Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) has been fined £200,000 for making nuisance calls. The firm, based in Glasgow, hired another company (which it now blames for the issue) to conduct its marketing campaign. This company then undertook a comprehensive cold calling campaign which generated over 6 million automated calls. We reported back in March that the law would be tightened to make it easier for the Information Commissioner to hold these firms to account.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said that the company conducted a massive automated call marketing campaign offering "free" solar panels.
Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, explained that "The bottom line is companies trying to sell a product have got to stick to the rules. Nuisance phone calls are a modern pest."
HELMS, which sells solar PV with back up batteries, is going to appeal the decision and take action against the third party. Clearly they feel that they have been badly treated by this ruling, but many feel it is just one more example of how companies need to understand the rules and take more care of their customers and potential customers.
HELMS is a Green Deal Provider and as such should have a good understanding of all the relevant laws, regulations and codes of conduct around ‘selling’ in this market. The Information Commissioner also noted that the company was misleading people in the calls as the Photovoltaics weren’t actually free.
Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO, said: "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.” He continued that "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."
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