Director banned for making cold calls to sell call blocking devices

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This article was originally produced by the Insolvency Service and was published on 9th February 2018. The original version of the article can be found by clicking here.

Leah Kimberley Masters, the sole director of Chichester based Cold Call Elimination Ltd (CCEL), has received a six year ban.

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy accepted a disqualification undertaking from Leah Kimberley Masters, disqualifying her for six years.

The company was telephoning people to sell a call-blocking device to stop unsolicited calls.

They failed to comply with the rules under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, resulted in at least 382 unsolicited marketing calls being made to members of the public who were registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and who had not consented to receive such calls.

In December 2013, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) informed CCEL that it had received complaints from individual subscribers to TPS that they had received unsolicited marketing calls from CCEL. As a result, CCEL were asked about their compliance with the regulations.

In January 2014 the company informed the ICO that it had purchased the data it used to make the calls from a third party and had not itself screened the data against the TPS. The Company suggested that it would put in place further measures to ensure a reduction in complaints regarding unsolicited marketing calls. The ICO placed the company under a 3 month monitoring period, during which time complaints continued.

Following a meeting in August 2014 the company was placed under further monitoring but after an initial improvement complaints continued to be made. Between 14 June 2013 and 31 March 2015 the TPS received 382 complaints. A notice of intent to issue a monetary penalty was issued to CCEL by the ICO in July 2015.

In September 2015 a fine of £75,000 was issued against CCEL for making unsolicited marketing calls to sell cold calling devices.

The fine was not paid by the due date (15 October 2015) and as a result the ICO issued a winding up petition against the company which led to the company entering into voluntary liquidation proceedings on 8 December 2016.

The Insolvency Service is continuing to work very closely with the ICO to take action in cases where these breaches are discovered.

Commenting on the disqualification, David Brooks, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:

This is a serious case where the actions of the director and the company have caused distress to members of the public in contravention of UK and EC regulations.

This ban reflects the seriousness of these actions and the robust stance that the Insolvency Service will take against those whose conduct falls below accepted commercial standards.

Andy Curry, Enforcement Group Manager at the Information Commissioner’s Office, said:

The people behind nuisance calls cause upset and distress and we’re in the business of cracking down on them.

We will pursue all options in the event of unpaid fines, and work closely with other regulators such as the Insolvency Service and Claims Management Regulator. The disqualification of a director behind a nuisance call firm is another welcome step in the fight.