back to article Director of nuisance-calls company ordered to cough up £114k after ignoring £40k fine from UK data watchdog

A director of a company fined £40,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office has himself been ordered to pay out more than £100,000 as part of a long-running collection saga. When the ICO handed IT Protect Ltd a "monetary penalty notice" back in 2017 for making nuisance sales phone calls, it appears few were expecting the …

  1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good.

    Hope they collect every last penny.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Good.

      I wish they'd added an extra 0 to the total amount...

  2. DavCrav Silver badge

    "the high cost of pursuing IT Protect may raise eyebrows among fans of strong enforcement."

    It's almost as if having a robust legal system that doesn't just allow the government to crush you into pieces without due process costs time and money.

    Note that if the director had paid the fine properly then no problem. But he didn't, and got apparently really bad (or no) legal advice. "I didn't pay the fine because I didn't like it" isn't going to work.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Sending muggers and burglars to jail also is very expensive, it would be cheaper to give half the money to the naughty people in return for staying at home and behaving themselves, but I expect you can see a big flaw in that plan.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "Sending muggers and burglars to jail also is very expensive, it would be cheaper to give half the money to the naughty people in return for staying at home and behaving themselves"

        I'm confused. Did you think I was against spending money to convict criminals? I'm not, I think more should be spent, particularly by HMRC for tax-dodging (as that's actually a profit, not an expenditure).

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          I think you two are actually agreeing with each other

          1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Yes, are we allowed to do that? ;-)

    2. TimMaher Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Senior Insolvency Partner

      They now typically bang out at several hundred pounds an hour!.

      As I have recently experienced in failed start up that I put some money in.

      1. Blazde

        Re: Senior Insolvency Partner

        Yup. Here are the details of the real scam:

        - Before the winding up Joint Liquidators and their staff fees estimated £30,000 + VAT = £36,000

        - Actual liquidators fees Mazars £40,040.50 (hourly average £315.56), Chiron £45,742.75 (hourly average £347.33) = £85,783.25, so almost 2.4 times over budget

        "Appendix D2 is a narrative summary of Liquidators' time costs .. why the work was necessary and whether the work provided a financial benefit to creditors." Ooh let's look at Appendix D2 then...

        "The majority of this work derived no financial benefit for creditors". This is written no less than six times and there's no identifiable work which did provide benefit to creditors.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bring back publick stocks.

    Let the three be publicly whipped for their refusal to pay the fine and blatant disregard for the law. Set up a booth nearby to sell rotten tomatos, feces, and other sorts of disgusting fodder the public can purchase for a quid (to help pay for all the crap the three have put us through) and then pelt the scumbags with while taunting them mercilously.

    Public stocks, caning, naming and shaming, and if those fail to get folks to behave then ...

    Bring out the COMFY CHAIR!

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Bring back publick stocks.

      I was absolutely on board with you until that last sentence after the ellipsis.

      You monster. (Still upvoted you though.)

    2. TimMaher Bronze badge
      Coat

      Re: Bring back publick stocks.

      No one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition!

      Mine’s the cilice with another cilice in the pocket.

    3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Bring back publick stocks.

      "Sell feces"

      You guys are getting paid??

  4. 0laf Silver badge
    FAIL

    The ICO has a very bad track record for collecting on these fines. At least this shower of shites were pushed out of business but why is the ICO's enforcement so weak?

    BA ain't paid

    Marriot ain't paid

    In fact if you Google around you'll find reports that 42% of fines aren't paid with a total of £7 million.

    And those don't include the BA and Marriot fines.

    So either the ICO ain't doing it's job properly, or the legal framework it operate within doesn't allow it to act properly. Either way there is a problem to solve.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Winding up takes too long, plenty of time to dispose of assets and plead poverty.

      Legal judgement, followed immediately (as in the the following 5 mins) by receivers being appointed, banks notified, directors assets frozen and the company under administration until fines are paid. That'd scare the pants off legit companies enough to make sure they didn't transgress in the first place, scam outfits like this might actually be wound up with cash recovered.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      "BA ain't paid"

      They are appealing the fine.

      "Marriot ain't paid"

      They are appealing the fine.

      If their appeals fail, I guarantee you they will pay the fine.

      1. 0laf Silver badge
        Flame

        Both companies are big enough to keep this in the courts for years, maybe in perpetuity, certainly long enough to deplete the ICO's legal funds until they give in and settle for 5% of the original fine.

        For the companies facing such massive fines it woukd make perfect business sense to pay to kick them down the road forever.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just make it illegal to cold call anybody! and then hand out prison sentences and fines to those that offend. We continue to get plenty of calls no matter what we try to do to mitigate the b*stards from calling.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Good idea. We should make murder illegal too, with stiff prison sentences for those that offend.

      That would stop the murder problem overnight.

      Or rather, the problem is not the penalties, but the enforcement of them, and people's perception of the risk of getting caught.

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      This is an old case. Jail is now an option.

  6. Primus Secundus Tertius

    Attainder

    The answer is a Bill of Attainder. That is a law, passed by parliament, that the life and property of the accused are forfeit to the state. Forbidden by the US constitution, but probably still OK in the UK.

    1. Drew Scriver Silver badge

      Re: Attainder

      It was one of the grievances that resulted in the American colonies declaring independence from the Crown and it is considered relative to involuntary servitude.

      Curious that the UK, Canada, and other still have it.

    2. Blazde

      Re: Attainder

      It would only be 'okay' in the UK in the sense that parliament is sovereign and can do whatever it wants as long as both houses pass a bill which the government has put forward and the Crown then assents. That last step is not a given. I'm not sure the effort to get everyone on the same page would be all that different to amending the US constitution.

      Both countries would also still be in breach of several international treaties, and the ECHR is probably the one which would have the most serious diplomatic consequences in the UK's case. The US executes people all the time so it's hard to imagine too much drama outside the US over skipping the troublesome trial part. I suppose some of the more boisterous States would get quite upset if the Federal government did it without their own representatives' approval though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Attainder

        "Both countries would also still be in breach of several international treaties, and the ECHR is probably the one which would have the most serious diplomatic consequences in the UK's case"

        No, it would be ok because we would only be breaching those treaties in a very specific and limited way.

        (Sarcasm, just in case it's not obvious).

    3. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Attainder

      "Forbidden by the US constitution, but probably still OK in the UK."

      Last used: 1798.

      1. Blazde

        Re: Attainder

        Interesting to note that on two recent attempts to use it in Canada's Parliament it was judged by their Speaker to be obsolete in the UK. Such is the nature of shared parliamentary tradition under the Westminster system that that precedent in turn reinforces the case in the UK that it actually is obsolete, as most practices not used in 200 years are anyway.

        In reality it would be for the Speaker of the day to pull an opinion out of their ass and rationalise it however they can. Not quite as unconstitutional as the US's written protection backed by courts but a significant barrier.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Attainder

          "In reality it would be for the Speaker of the day to pull an opinion out of their ass and rationalise it however they can. Not quite as unconstitutional as the US's written protection backed by courts but a significant barrier."

          I'd be highly surprised if any court in England would accept it. In which case it's essentially as protective as the US's version.

  7. WolfFan Silver badge

    Wrong dog in pic

    Going by its effectiveness, the pic should be of a sleeping Chihuahua. That dog appears to be awake, and might actually do damage if it bit. Though it doesn’t seem interested in doing much of anything.

  8. Rol Silver badge

    Blockchain blocking

    I think I have found a use for blockchain that isn't just some contrived PR crap.

    The problem with many unwanted calls, is that they have hidden their real number, whether that be their mobile, landline or voip address.

    Surely a system can be put in place that allows your telephony provider to interrogate the source of the call, and ascertain the credentials are genuine.

    And perhaps that system could be blockchain, with each onward node adding to it, so an auditable route and it's source be proven.

    Users can then choose to not receive any incoming calls from entities that cannot be verified, which the last leg connector can then divert to a recorded message and thus still get the connection fee.

    The money made from deploying this scheme could be funnelled into training a crack team of knuckle draggers to inflict some serious "fines and penalties" in the absence of any real justice being meted out to scam callers.

  9. Big Softie

    Disqualification?

    Disqualification means nothing. He can just set up again with a new persona at Companies House; maybe spell his name differently or add an extra middle name, change the address etc. The number of people "owning" different Companies House records with multiple personas is unbelievable.

    1. joewilliamsebs

      Re: Disqualification?

      The big deal with being disqualified as that it removes the limitation of liability in a phoenix company.

      That means that a disqualified director can be held personally liable for ALL the debts of any subsequently incorporated company, whether they're a director or shadow director.

      Companies House have just completed a consultation where they have concluded that they need to do more data checking on directors - we'll see what that actually involves at some point!

  10. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  11. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Holmes

    BOFH solution

    I'm sure you could find one or two recipients of robocalls, who could come up with a roll of carpet, a bag of lime and a shovel to solve the problem.

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