A UK company behind almost 100 million cold calls has been hit with a record fine

Blackberry smashed broken smartphone phoneBen Carleton/Flickr (CC)Automated marketing call? No thank you.

Automated cold calls are one of the banes of modern life — and they can also be illegal.

A UK regulator has hit a company responsible for almost 100 million “nuisance calls” with a record fine of £400,000.

The Information Commissioner’s Office announced on Wednesday that it was handing down the fine to a firm called Keurboom Communications, which made 99.5 million calls over an 18 month period on everything from PPI compensation to road traffic accidents.

“Keurboom showed scant regard for the rules, causing upset and distress to people unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of one its 100 million calls,” the ICO’s head of enforcement Steve Eckerlsey said in a statement.

“The unprecedented scale of its campaign and Keurboom’s failure to co-operate with our investigation has resulted in the largest fine issued by the Information Commissioner for nuisance calls.”

If you haven’t consented to receive marketing cold calls, the caller is technically breaking the law, and they can be prosecuted.

In April, Keurboom and its director pleaded guilty to “failing to comply with an information notice,” the ICO says. The firm was also hit with a £1,500 fine, £435.95 costs, and a £120 victim surchage. The director faces a £1,000 fine, £435.95 costs, and a £100 victim surcharge.

The fine is a joint record, with the ICO hitting a company with a £400,000 bill once before. That was UK telecoms company TalkTalk, which was fined for security failings over a hack that stole tens of thousands of customers’ details.

The previous largest fine for nusciance calls was to Prodial in February 2016, for £350,000. Prodial was responsible for less than half as many calls as Keurboom — just 46 million.

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