The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Halifax-based Parkin Beacher Ltd (PBL) £ 50,000 for making illegal marketing calls to people regarding their pensions.
The company, which goes by the trade name “Your Pension Options,” called people about their pensions when they weren’t entitled to.
This violates the law of the 2019 ban on cold calling of pensions.
That made it illegal for companies to harass people about their pension systems, except in the following cases:
- the caller is authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority or the trustee or manager of a corporate or private pension scheme, and
- the recipient of the call agrees to calls or has an existing relationship with the caller
ICO Investigator Andy Curry said, “Cold calls are a common way of scamming people out of their pensions and we will be tough when we find companies that do this type of marketing. The law has been updated specifically to protect these often vulnerable individuals and their retirement funds.
“Businesses have a responsibility to know and obey the law. We have a number of powers and enforcement actions that we can and will use on behalf of the public to stop the activities of unscrupulous companies. “
The ICO’s investigation found that PBL called people related to possible pension reviews to arrange an appearance with a counselor.
The company admitted to making 96,817 calls and the ICO received 16 complaints from people about the company’s activities.
The ICO’s investigation revealed that PBL obtained the data for its calls from an external data provider who obtained the data from various websites.
These websites required those who signed up with them to consent to possible marketing through long lists of sectors and organizations.
People didn’t seem able to choose who to share their data with or who to get marketing material from.
PBL therefore did not have a declaration of consent from the people called.
The ICO has also issued an enforcement notice to PBL asking them not to make any further calls.
According to the notice of the fine, the fine must be paid to the ICO by September 16, 2021 at the latest by BACS transfer or check.
If the ICO receives full payment by September 15, 2021, the fine will be reduced by 20% to £ 40,000.
If the right of objection is exercised, the discount expires.
Any complaint should be received within 28 days of the date on which the fine was imposed.