The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Halifax-based Parkin Beacher Ltd (PBL), also trading under the trade name Your Pension Options, £ 50,000 for making illegal marketing calls to people regarding their pensions.
The ICO stated that the company has called people about a possible pension review to arrange an induction to an advisor if they are not eligible to do so due to the introduction of the annuity cold calling ban in 2019.
That ban made it illegal for companies to harass people through their pension schemes unless the caller has been authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or is 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.
The ICO received 16 complaints from people about the company’s activities, although the company has since admitted to making 96,817 calls.
According to ICO’s investigation, PBL obtained the data for its calls from an outside data provider who obtained the data from various websites, which required signatories to agree to possible commercialization from long lists of sectors and organizations.
However, people did not seem to be able to choose who they would like to share their data with, if any, or whom they would receive marketing material from, and ICO therefore concluded that PBL therefore did not have a consent form from the people being called.
With this in mind, the ICO PBL has also issued an enforcement notice asking them not to make any further calls.
ICO Investigator Andy Curry commented, “Cold calls are a common way to scam 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 people 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. “