ICO fines companies for nuisance calls targeting vulnerable

17 March 2022, 15:45   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Five companies have been fined a total of £405,000 for making predatory calls to vulnerable and elderly people.

The five firms were responsible for making over 750,000 unwanted calls, with the biggest offender making more than 410,000 over an eight-month period in 2020.

Customers received calls selling insurance products or services for home appliances such as washing machines and fridges.

After investigating, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found the companies were deliberately targeting older people and were either working from the same list or working together.

cordless home phone


Five firms were handed fines ranging from £80,000 to £110,000 and ordered to immediately stop making predatory calls to customers:

  • UK Platinum Home Care Services Ltd were fined £110,000 for making 412,556 unwanted calls between March and October 2020.
  • Home Sure Solutions Ltd (HSSL) were fined £100,000 for making 229,483 unwanted calls between March and September 2020
  • Domestic Support Ltd (DSL) were fined £80,000 for making 69,133 unwanted calls between January and July 2020, with the company unlawfully providing different trading names during the calls.
  • UK Appliance Cover Ltd were fined £100,000 for making 39,167 unwanted calls between June and December, with complainants saying the callers were aggressive and threatening.
  • Seaview Brokers Ltd were fined £15,000 for making 4,737 unwanted calls in June 2020 after purchasing the data book from another company and failing to check consent.

The ICO say there are ongoing investigations into other companies alongside these five and there is evidence to suggest they are operating in the same unlawful manner.


Following complaints from landline customers and several organisations including Action Fraud and Trading Standards, the ICO conducted a series of investigations into companies thought to be flouting the law.

Companies are not allowed to call customers who have opted out using the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), but these firms disregarded these rules and made predatory calls to households anyway.

The offences were compounded by the aggressive sales techniques of some operatives and the fact that there seemed to be a deliberate attempt to target the most vulnerable customers.

The ICO found evidence to suggest marketing lists were purchased from third parties with requests for customers who were over 60, homeowners and had landline numbers.

It's clear the firms were attempting to pressure the most vulnerable into making poor decisions, with the ICO pointing out that, in the case of UK Appliance Cover Ltd, there was no evidence the service they were purporting to offer was ever provided.

Nuisance calls

Choose has been reporting on nuisance call complaints for many years, including the fine issued to XS Remarketing Ltd in 2015 for £150,000 for making repeated silent calls the previous year.

New powers were introduced in 2018 that saw the ICO given the option to impose fines of up to £500,000 to organisations based on the seriousness and length of the offences

We haven't seen fines of that magnitude imposed here, yet all five firms have been issued with enforcement notices and warned to comply.

In 2015, 73% of landline users had received a nuisance call on their landline, although the figure fell to 49% in 2019 and fell again in 2020.

However, the methods used by unscrupulous firms to target vulnerable and elderly people mean the likelihood of harm is high, with some complainants on this occasion saying they felt threatened and coerced.

It's positive that the ICO is using their powers of enforcement, but it's important for customers, family members and friends to raise issues using the authority's reporting tool or via Action Fraud to ensure that offending companies are rooted out and dealt with.


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