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Company bosses face fines in crackdown on nuisance calls

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Company directors whose firms make nuisance calls will now be directly liable and could face fines of up to £500,000.

New rules mean the UK’s data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), can target the company director and not just fine the firm.

It is hoped it will stop company bosses declaring bankruptcy and setting up again under a different name when they are caught for nuisance calls.

Ofcom estimates British consumers received 3.9bn nuisance phone calls and texts last year.

Digital minister Margot James said: “There is now no hiding place for the small minority of rogue directors who have previously tried to escape justice.

“We are determined to stamp this menace out and this new law is the latest in a series of measures to rid society of the plague of nuisance calls.”

Andy Curry, head of the ICO’s nuisance call enforcement team, said: “We welcome this amendment to the law, which will increase the tools we have to protect the public.

“It will mean we can recover the fine more easily and also make it much harder for unscrupulous operators to set up in business again.”

The ICO issued fines of £1.9m to 23 firms in 2016-17 for nuisance marketing.

According to The Register, the ICO only took £9.7m of the £17.8m fines it has dished out to firms between 2010 and April 2018, in part because companies would liquidate instead of pay up.

A Which? survey of 2000 UK households found 71% had received at least one nuisance a month.

The change in the law was laid in parliament in mid-November after a consultation period earlier this year.

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