Glasgow boiler firm in hot water for cold calls, cops £180K fine

Told off by ICO for being a nuisance

Woman angrily hangs up phone. Photo via Shutterstock

A Glasgow-based boiler replacement firm has been fined £180,000 for its prolific and obnoxious nuisance call campaign.

FEP Heatcare made 2.6 million unwanted calls, which played a recorded message promoting the company’s products and services. Its activities made it one of Britain’s most complained about nuisance callers.

Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) investigators said they were were able to trace the calls to the Glasgow-based company even though the phone messages did not identify the caller.

Ken Macdonald, assistant commissioner for Scotland, said: “This company was already on our hit list. FEP Heatcare thought they could avoid detection by hiding their identity, but we tracked them down and have taken action.”

FEP Heatcare’s card was marked after it appeared on a list compiled by the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) of the top 20 most complained about nuisance call companies last year. Despite a warning from the ICO that it must operate within the rules or face action, FEP Heatcare deliberately broke the rules again, this time making marketing calls playing a recorded message.

Calls that play a recorded message must only be made to people who have given the organisation their permission to receive this type of call. FEP Heatcare admitted it did not have that consent.

ICO investigators determined that found FEP instigated 2,692,217 unwanted automated calls between April and July 2015. Many people subsequently complained to the ICO, including people with disabilities.

Thanks in large part to the anti-social marketing activities of the Scottish form, energy services are second only to PPI (payment protection insurance) claims on the ICO's cold call complaint list.

“The kind of calls FEP Heatcare was making – recorded and about energy services – generated the most complaints to the ICO in February this year,” Macdonald said in a statement. “Combined with automated calls about PPI, they made up 66 per cent of our recorded complaints.”

As well as levying a fine, the ICO has obtained an injunction prohibiting FEP Heatcare from making or sponsoring further nuisance automated marketing calls. ®

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