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Ministers plan penalties for telemarketing pests

Large fines considered for worst-offending companies

Ministers are drawing up plans to make it easier to penalise telemarketing companies that plague members of the public with unwanted calls, the government announced yesterday.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller is to launch a consultation this year on lowering the threshold for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to take action against offending companies.

The Ministry of Justice is also consulting on hefty fines for claims management companies that exploit information from unsolicited calls and texts.

Currently the calls must cause “substantial stress” or “substantial damage” for the ICO to impose sanctions, but Ms Miller said the consultation will consider whether there should be a lower threshold.

The ICO received 120,310 complaints relating to unsolicited marketing calls made between April and November last year.

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