ICO fines Parkin Beacher £50,000 over pension cold calling

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Halifax-based Parkin Beacher Ltd (PBL), which also operates under the trading name Your Pension Options, £50,000 for making illegal marketing calls to people about their pensions.

The ICO stated that the business had called people about a possible pension review, with a view to arrange an introduction to an advisor, when they are not authorised to do so given the introduction of the pensions cold calling ban in 2019.

This ban made it illegal for companies to make nuisance calls to people about their pension schemes, except where the caller is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or is the trustee or manager of an occupational or personal pension scheme, and the recipient of the call consents 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 sourced the data for its calls from a third-party data supplier that obtained the data from various websites, which required those signing up to them to agree to possible marketing from long lists of sectors and organisations.

However, people appeared unable to select which, if any, they were happy to have their details passed on to, or receive marketing material from, with ICO therefore concluding that PBL therefore did not have informed consent from the people it called.

In light of this, the ICO has also issued PBL with an Enforcement Notice ordering them to stop making further calls.

ICO head of investigations, Andy Curry, commented: ”Cold calls are a common way of attempting to defraud people out of their pensions and we will take tough action where we find companies carrying out this kind of marketing.

“The law was updated specifically to protect these often vulnerable people and their retirement funds.

“Companies are responsible for knowing the law and following it. We have a range of powers and enforcement action which we can and will take on behalf of the public to put a stop to the activities of unscrupulous companies.”

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