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ICO Fines UK ISP Ice Comms £80k for Making Illegal SPAM Calls

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023 (3:07 pm) - Score 1,264
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Crewe-based broadband and phone provider Ice Telecommunications Ltd (Ice Comms) has been fined £80,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after they were found to have made 72,682 unsolicited marketing (SPAM) calls to businesses registered with the CTPS or TPS between 13th Sept 2021 and 31st Jan 2022.

The ICO said they received 30 complaints about Ice, and the TPS advised it had written to the company on 19 occasions outlining complaint details, without response. The ICO’s investigation found that Ice was not able to provide copies of contracts with third party suppliers of marketing lists showing CTPS and TPS numbers suppressed. Furthermore, they even “continued to make illegal calls whilst under investigation” (oops).

Some of the complaints noted that they had received multiple calls from Ice Comms, often over a period of several months, and that the company had refused to take them off their mailing list or disclose where they got the details from. In response, the ICO hit the operator with a £80k fine and issued an enforcement notice ordering the company to stop making calls to CTPS and TPS registered numbers.

Andy Curry, ICO Head of Investigations, said:

“We are here to protect UK businesses, as well as the public, from unwanted marketing communications. It’s not acceptable that people in their place of work were made to feel uncomfortable all because they simply answered their phone.

The fact that a number is in the public domain does not give free rein to marketers to make calls to businesses. The law is clear. Before any marketing calls are made, numbers must be screened against the do not call register.

These fines are another clear message to companies flouting the law – we will take action to ensure the public and UK businesses are protected, and legitimate businesses complying with the law do not lose out.”

In its response, Ice Comms claimed to have conducted a “thorough investigation” and regrettably found that a “minority of staff” had breached the rules by extracting data from sites such as Yell.com. The provider added that they have since taken measures to prevent a reoccurrence.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
8 Responses
  1. Avatar photo AndyK says:

    Only about £1 per illegal call…really doesn’t seem like much of a penalty…

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Still a lot of money for a smaller player like Ice.

    2. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

      Really? Prior years accounts showed revenue of around £18.5m and net profit in the half to 1m range. £80k isn’t going to bother them too much.

    3. Avatar photo 10BaseT says:

      exactly, £8m would make a sense, £80k is a joke.

    4. Avatar photo 4chAnon says:

      £8m would put them into liquidation, killing off 80k/500k-1m profit is a pretty reasonable (12.5% of profit on 1m total (net))sum. DEFINITELY enough to deter them from doing it in the future.

    5. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

      4chAnon: I disagree. GDPR is very clear, so they knew it was illegal in the first place, they have been doing this for three to four years (read the ICO monetary penalty notice), they ignored 19 letters from TPS, they continued to do it whilst under investigation, they refused to deal with complaints direct to the company. Don’t forget as well that if they pay promptly the penalty is reduced to an even more measily £64k. Unfortunately although the ICO quotes a complaint that states this has been going on for three-four years, the ICO case based the penalty only on the period mid Sept 2021 to end January 2022.

      The penalty should have been substantially higher, and if it were sufficient to force Ice Telecoms into administration then that would have been an excellent outcome. Along with a subsequent barring of the directors, I’d hope. As it stands, how much of a deterrent is this penalty? Not much I’d say for cynical law breakers.

  2. Avatar photo Jonathan says:

    £80K fine is an insult to all those who got scammed. It’s fraud , put them in prison , set an example.

  3. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

    So ICO is basically telling spam call centres that they’ve got free reign to scam as many people as they can with little financial implication. No wonder they didn’t respond. An £8m fine and its execs jailed would have sent a far clearer message.

Comments are closed

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