Avalon Direct Ltd fined £80,000 by the ICO
Article added: 16/04/2019
Another Consent issue results in another fine from the ICO.
For those of you who’ve been living under a rock for the last 12 months or so, this case is primarily about Consent (or lack thereof).
Avalon Direct Ltd (previously Plan my Funeral Avalon Ltd) first came to the attention of the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) as a result of an article in the Mail on Sunday dated 19th November 2017.
The very next day, on 20th November 2017, the ICO wrote to the company about its compliance with the Privacy Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) in light of the Daily Mail Article and also in light of a separate investigation where the directors of Avalon Direct Ltd were previously investigated by the ICO.
Avalon made 5,413,396 calls between 1st March 2017 and 20th November 2017 from leads supplied by its lead provider.
Contained within this data were numbers registered on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) register. It is illegal to make calls to persons registered on the TPS without their consent.
After analysing the call logs the ICO established that Avalon had contacted 53,447 numbers that were registered on the TPS of which 51,917 had been registered on the TPS for more than 28 days which is the cut-off point at which it becomes illegal to call them without consent.
The ICO did not deem the website(s) from which the data used by the company was sourced from to be adequate to contact people registered on the TPS.
A couple of additional factors in this particular case were that a previous, but separate, investigation by the ICO involving the directors of Avalon should have meant that PECR was clearly understood. Another factor taken into consideration was the fact that the directors of the lead suppliers in question who supplied leads to Avalon were in fact the same directors as Avalon itself.
TPS Services Richard Kane said:
“Whilst the ICO has issued guidance on consent, it’s clearly not working and it’s clearly ineffective. They need to do more to educate business owners about consent.
That said, many business owners who have read the guidance, cannot make comprehensive sense out of it and that’s worrying and probably explains why the ICO seem to have such an easy time issuing fines like this.
A lot of business owners we speak to are certainly still very confused.
Perhaps the ICO should put on a touring free seminar, that might help? Or if they simply went out to market for examples of real scenarios from real business people and used those to produce a more useful guide? “
Companies associated with Avalon Direct Ltd
If your business purchases or sells data then you should read the latest Direct Marketing Guidance
issued by the ICO for a complete explanation of what the ICO expects from companies involved in or buying from the direct marketing industry.