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BBC-featured call centre slapped with hefty fine for unwanted calls

PPI pests: Swansea-based firm stung for £225k by ICO

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A company that is currently featuring on the BBC3 television programme The Call Centre has been fined £225,000 for making nuisance calls to Brits, the Information Commissioner's Office said today.

The penalty - the first ever awarded to a cold-calling firm offering payment protection insurance refunds - was slapped on two outfits that operate under Swansea-based Save Britain Money Ltd.

Nearly 3,000 people complained to the watchdog about receiving unsolicited payment protection insurance calls.

The ICO's fine is the first monetary penalty to be issued against a company for making nuisance phone calls relating to PPI, the regulator said.

It said Nationwide Energy Services and We Claim You Gain – which are both part of Save Britain Money – had failed to carry out adequate checks to see whether the people they were calling had registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).

The company - billed on BBC3 as "Swansea's third largest call centre" - is run by David Brent-like CEO Nev Wilshire, whose witticisms include: "There's winners and there's losers and that's it."

But between late May 2011 and the end of December 2012, the ICO racked up 2,700 complaints from peeved Brits who had been pestered by Wilshire's firm.

"The public have told us that they are fed up with the constant bombardment of nuisance calls," said ICO director of operation Simon Entwisle.

"While the activities of Nev and his call centre employees have provided entertainment for many, they hide a bigger problem within the cold calling industry. People have the legal right not to receive marketing calls and these companies have paid the price for failing to respect people’s wishes.”

Under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations that govern electronic marketing, companies are required to check that the people they are contacting are registered with the TPS. ®

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