Crackdown on nuisance calls targets bosses of rogue firms

A crackdown on bosses whose firms pester people with unsolicited calls will leave them “nowhere to hide”, the Government has insisted.

New rules coming into force on Monday mean directors of such companies will be personally liable if their business breaks the law, and could face fines of up to £500,000.

Under the new regime, the UK data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), is able to hold bosses directly responsible.

Previously, only the business itself was liable for fines.

Some directors escaped penalties by declaring bankruptcy and then setting up again under a different name.

Ofcom estimates British consumers were on the receiving end of 3.9 billion nuisance phone calls and texts last year.

Digital Minister Margot James said: “There is now no hiding place for the small minority of rogue directors who have previously tried to escape justice.

“We are determined to stamp this menace out and this new law is the latest in a series of measures to rid society of the plague of nuisance calls.”

Andy Curry, head of the ICO’s nuisance call enforcement team, said: “We welcome this amendment to the law, which will increase the tools we have to protect the public.

“It will mean we can recover the fine more easily and also make it much harder for unscrupulous operators to set up in business again.”

The ICO issued fines totalling £1.9 million to 23 companies for nuisance marketing in 2016-2017.