Is this the beginning of the end for nuisance phone calls?

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has launched a consultation seeking consumer and industry views on whether the directors of companies responsible for making nuisance phone calls and texts should be held personally liable.

Since April 2015, the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) has had the power to fine companies up to £500,000 for unsolicited electronic marketing calls and texts. Under the current rules, the directors of any company found to be at fault may be disqualified from acting as a director but there is no provision for personal liability. Under the new proposals, the ICO would have the power to impose penalties of up to £500,000 on each and every director of a company found to be in breach of the Privacy and Electronic (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/2426) (“PECR”).

The proposal is the latest of several measures designed to tackle the problem of nuisance calls. The government has already passed legislation requiring the ICO to issue a statutory code of practice on direct marketing and has removed the previous requirement for the ICO to establish that a nuisance call caused ‘substantial damage’ or ‘substantial distress’ before being able to impose a fine on organisations in breach.

Rebecca Gardner, Corporate & Commercial Partner at Howat Avraam Solicitors comments: The current measures to deter nuisance calls simply aren’t working. A particular problem seems to be that businesses are avoiding fines by dissolving the company at the point the fine is issued, only to re-emerge under a new name a short while later. According to the ICO, of the 27 fines issued between April 2015 and the end of 2017, only nine have been paid in full. It’s clear that something needs to be done to ensure that these businesses are held to account.


Howat Avraam Solicitors provide Corporate, Commercial, Employment, Real Estate and Contract Dispute advice to companies, business owners and individuals. As business owners ourselves, we have a pragmatic in-house approach to resolving issues before they arise, by working alongside our clients as part of their team. We are commercial, practical and entrepreneurial in our approach to legal services.

To discuss any Corporate or Commercial matter with us on a no obligation basis, please contact Rebecca Gardner on 020 3735 6700 or email Rebecca at Alternatively, visit our website at for more information.

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