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AMS Marketing Ltd fined £100,000

 Article added: 27/07/2018

East Sussex based AMS Marketing Ltd has been fined by the ICO £100,000 for calling numbers registered on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) register.

AMS Marketing Ltd first came to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) attention when the number of consumer complaints associated with one of their telephone numbers put them on the ICO’s Monthly Threat Assessment list.

The ICO approached the telecoms provider Hostcomm Ltd for information about the number which in turn led them to AMS Marketing Ltd.

1 Strike 1

Some organisations are somewhat naive when it comes to dealing with an enquiry from the ICO. In the case of AMS Marketing, they initially denied that the numbers used to make the calls (the CLI’s) were theirs and ergo none of the complaints were theirs.

The problem for AMS Marketing though was that the ICO just went back to Hostcomm Ltd who provided the ICO with a copy of the Service Agreement together with all the invoices and payment details. Upon providing these to AMS Marketing they conceded that the phone numbers relating to the complaints were in fact theirs

2 Strike 2

AMS Marketing then claimed that they were no longer cold calling and had ceased doing so before the ICO contacted them on 15th November 2017, but the information Hostcomm Ltd had supplied the ICO contradicted this. In February 2018, AMS’s response was to say that the business had ’dramatically reduced’ in size and no further cold calls had been made from 21st December 2017.

3 Strike 3

Although AMS probably thought that the main issue they had with the ICO was the cold calling, they had failed to provide the additional information the ICO had requested which included call scripts, due diligence procedures, the proof of consent on the data they were using and more. It’s easy to lose focus when the ICO asks you for a list of 10 things, but in your mind one of things clearly stands out. Don’t spend all your time on the one thing you think is the key issue because the ICO will still ask you for the other 9 things at some point.

If all that was not bad enough, when the ICO compared the call information supplied by Hostcomm Ltd, they were able to ascertain that AMS Marketing had called 75,649 people registered on the TPS between 1st October 2016 and 31st December 2017 (a period of 15 months). There were also a 103 of TPS complaints in that same period.

AMS Marketing Ltd fined £100,000

TPS Services Richard Kane said:

“An inherent problem with organisations that are used to policing anything is that they tend to look at situations as if everyone is already guilty. Whilst that’s frustrating, consider that and look at how AMS Marketing Ltd handled the situation.

Claiming one thing and then changing their minds once they’d been found out is seriously going to affect the outcome.

On another note, remember at least that the ICO can and will get information from other organisations so if you’re minded to try and attempt to mis-lead them, don’t.

Get it right and your life will be a lot easier and your business might have some longevity in it. Get it wrong, and the ICO will likely saddle you with a fine large enough to finish your business off!”

Companies associated with Elia Bols

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.
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