Solar company gets record fine for automated nuisance calls
Have you heard of a company called Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd (Helms for short)? If you have, chances are they've been pestering your phone so frequently, that you ended up throwing your handset into the sky, just for some respite.
The solar energy company has been plaguing consumers with millions of nuisance calls, which offered 'free' solar panels. As a result, they've been hit with a massive fine from the Government for "deliberately and recklessly" breaching marketing regulations.
The £200,000 fine is actually record from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), after their mithering was referred to as being on an "industrial scale".
The ICO investigation found that Helms had made over six million automated calls, which is eye-watering. It gets better though - the ICO said an organisation should have individuals’ permission, which wasn't the case. This saw Helms admitting that they didn't even know what the rules were.
In little over two months (from October to December 2014), there were 242 complaints made against Helms, with one person saying that they felt "powerless" against the barrage of automated calls.
The ICO’s head of enforcement, Steve Eckersley, said: "This company’s ignorance of the law is beyond belief. It didn't even bother to find out what the rules were and its badly thought out marketing campaign made people’s lives a misery. The monetary penalty is for a significant amount because of the clear failings of the company, and the number of people affected by its deliberate and unlawful campaign. It should be a warning to other companies to think before they launch into a campaign."
Of course, to top it all off, the free solar panels they were offering weren't necessarily free at all.