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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 16 January 2021

Ireland's crackdown on pesky marketers is keeping cold calls at bay

The Data Protection Commissioner received just a dozen complaints about unsolicited calls in 2016.

Image: man angry at phone via Shutterstock

THE OFFICE Of the Data Protection Commissioner received just 12 complaints about unsolicited marketing calls in the last year and has said its prosecution strategy is deterring offenders.

In response to a query from TheJournal.ie, the office said six of these complaints were investigated and the entities which made the calls in four of the cases were issued with warnings. In one case, the commissioner found there had been a breach of marketing regulations and in the final case, no breach was found.

Four complaints are still under investigation and two of the total dozen were withdrawn.

Over the course of the year, two organisations were prosecuted by the Data Protection Commissioner in relation to cold calls – Yourtel Limited in the Dublin District Court and The Energy Centre in Drogheda District Court. Both had previously received warnings.

One company which was the subject of two complaints about unsolicited marketing telephone calls has also been audited this year. The office said it provides guidance material to all entities it investigates in relation to marketing activities and the four companies issued with warnings in 2016 were put on notice that the commissioner generally prosecutes where there is a repeat offence.

In a statement, the office said its strict policy had helped to drive down this activity.

“The level of complaints to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in relation to all forms of unsolicited marketing activity has fallen in recent years due to a greater awareness amongst marketers of the data protection rules in relation to marketing, coupled with a robust prosecution strategy by the Data Protection Commissioner to prosecute all entities without exception, that continue to breach the regulations after having been warned following an earlier investigation.”

Reputable companies should respect the wishes of customers who indicate they do not wish to be called, but if marketers persist, a complaint can be made to the Data Protection Commissioner.

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