DM Design Bedrooms

Breach details

What Serious breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
A high volume of unsolicited marketing calls to consumers that had registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) that continued despite customer complaints and requests to unsubscribe.
How much An unknown number of direct marketing calls resulting in 1,945 TPS complaints and an unspecified number of complaints directly to the ICO.
When June 2011 to November 2012
Why Ignored requirement to screen call lists against the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or maintain an opt-out register.

BW Comments

After initial contact from the ICO, the unsolicited calls continued and some reported to the Commissioner were described as aggressive.

Regulatory action

Regulator ICO
Action Monetary penalty of £90,000
When 20 March 2013

Why the regulator acted

Breach of act Breach of Regulation 21: repeatedly ignored provisions that marketing calls should not be made to individuals who had registered with TPS.
Known or should have known Concerns over PECR obligations were first raised by the Commissioner in 2004. The volume of complaints made before and after the Commissioner’s letter of May 2012 would have made the company aware that they were continually breaching regulations.
Likely to cause damage or distress The overall level of distress was assessed as substantial due to the very large numbers of individuals affected. A small number of individuals also personally suffered substantial levels of distress.

BW Observations

That DM Design breached the PECR by not screening against the the TPS register and maintaining their own opt-out list is not debatable. The volume of calls and complaints are significant (although we are not told what the average or maximum level of complaints are to the TPS in respect of a company other than “they [DM Design] were one of the organisations about which the most complaints were received”). What’s interesting is the ICO again used the same justification as the Tetrus Telecommunications MPN to determine the s55A(1)(b) ‘substantial damage or distress test’ – that although the distress in each individual case was not considerable, the cumulative effect of the distress caused by the totality of all calls made in contravention of PECR met the Commissioner’s threshold of substantial distress.