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Firm says it will appeal

Cold calling company hit with £200,000 fine

Call centresA Glasgow marketing firm has received a record fine after bombarding householders with more than six million calls.

Home Energy & Lifestyle Management (HELMS) based in Cambuslang has been fined £200,000 by a Government watchdog for “deliberately and recklessly” breaching marketing regulations.

HELMS – an accredited company in the government’s green deal initiative to help people make energy saving improvements to their homes – admitted it didn’t even know the rules on contacting householders.

The company blamed a third party it hired to make calls and said it was appealing against the ruling.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said that the company conducted a massive automated call marketing campaign offering “free” solar panels. The ICO received 242 complaints from individuals and said an organisation should have people’s permission, which specifically names the company concerned, in order to make automated calls.

Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO, said: “This company’s ignorance of the law is beyond belief. It did not even bother to find out what the rules were and its badly thought out marketing campaign made people’s lives a misery.”

In a statement from its lawyer, the firm said: “HELMS had significant difficulty in fully co-operating with the ICO, owing to the failure of the third party company to give any information to verify and explain the extent of the calls made.”

The ICO said the fine imposed is part of a crackdown on nuisance calls. In the last year it received more than 180,000 complaints on the issue, up from 160,000 two years earlier.

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