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Claims firm fined £70k after hundreds of unsolicited calls

Claims management firm EMCAS has been fined £70,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office after hundreds of consumers complained about unsolicited marketing calls.

The ICO says there were “serious” breaches of the privacy and electronic communications regulations, including repeated invasions of privacy and distress for consumers.

EMCAS failed to ensure that third party introducers calling on its behalf were checking consumers’ numbers against a list held by Ofcom of those who have said they do not wish to receive direct marketing calls.

Between 1 March 2013 and 28 February 2014, The Telephone Preference Service – the firm set up by Ofcom to manage the list – received 562 complaints from customers registered with them who had received calls from EMCAS.

During the same period, the ICO also received 68 complaints from individuals who had received unsolicited direct marketing calls from EMCAS.

Around half of these complainants described the calls as ‘repeat’, saying they had previously asked EMCAS not to call them again.

Some consumers described the calls as “distressing” and complained of feeling “hounded”.

EMCAS is also under investigation by the Ministry of Justice, the claims management regulator.

A spokesman for EMCAS says: “We aim to ensure that we only contact people who have given their permission for us to do so. However, between March 2013 and February 2014, this aim was not met for a small percentage of our customers, and we failed to prevent some unwanted calls from being made; for this, we offer our sincerest apologies.

“Following the ICO fine, we have been anticipating notification from the claims management regulator that they would be following up with their own investigation. This is standard practice and is designed to ensure that our regulator is satisfied that we are now fully compliant.

“Since the ICO findings were first brought to our attention in February, we have made significant changes to our business to ensure that we only contact people who have explicitly consented to receive such communication.”

In February, Money Marketing reported EMCAS had been forced to change a misleading newspaper advert by the Advertising Standards Authority.

West Riding Personal Financial Solutions managing director Neil Liversidge complained the advert was misleading.


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There are 10 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. About time too. I wonder who gets the fines?

  2. I think they sound like a very ethical and law abiding firm

  3. I am sure the company will have made a lot more than £70k profit, just another expense. These companies know they are acting wrongly and every time I have asked a member of staff why they are making unsolicited calls, I have received verbal abuse from “get a life sad case” to “go fuck yourself”. Nothing misleading about that at least and I must admit a certain antagonistic pleasure in informing invariably young staff of the law.

  4. £70,000 is an absolute joke. Reports from a “who called me” site suggests they charge 55% of compensation won. According to their website they’ve won £450 million. You don’t even need a fag packet to do the maths. £70,000 will just be absorbed as a tiny overhead.

    This is money that they generated by flouting the rules and trawling customers who had asked not to be called, looking for the few who bite; morally it is no different from the proceeds of theft.

    To be an effective deterrent, the fine for this kind of behaviour should start at 100% of all revenue collected while this behaviour was going on.

  5. Come off it, I suspect they knew exactly what they were doing! If not, then every other layer of their business’s integrity should be called into question, not least the need to better substantiate claims which are put forward on behalf of their ‘clients,’ and many of us know what I am saying there!

  6. Turnover £22 million, post tax profit £2.8 million. Of course they will not be bothered.

    I suggest that every time you get one of those standard letters making statements that are misleading or untrue you report EMC Advisory Services and its direcors Dabvid Gasparro, Ross Arthur Finegan, David Ian White, James Elliot Scarth and Calum Geoffrey Cusiter to ActionFraud.

  7. Having had a very bad experience with a claims firm I contacted the Ministry of Justice complaints line and was informed that in the event of the said firm making a complete mess of my claim there was no redress via the “professional indemnity” route as it is not a requirement of them being licensed to rip people off.
    Any thoughts folks ??????

  8. good day for golf 5th November 2014 at 10:45 am

    I dealt with them but was told to back off by sesame
    no surprise as an ex sesame, sesame told me “it was none of my business” sesame lost -surprise surprise and they deducted it all from my old account
    i made a lot of pretty abusive calls to emc directors and staff though 🙂
    my old cold calling came in handy- they were quite distressed at emc

  9. I raised a formal complaint with them and they found in my favour – no financial recompense however, just an acknowledgement they had done wrong. Also flagged with the TPS every time they called.

    My formal complaint was after they had called for a 3rd time – on on this 3rd time I was told that firms like EMCAS wouldn’t exsist had it not been for people like me (i.e. an IFA) leaving victims to my advice.

    Before I told them I was an IFA, they told me I HAD been missold – I quesitoned how they could ever no this.

    I also questioned where they got my details from and I was told as a result of completing ‘a lifestyle survey’ – something I’ve never done. They also put the blame at the door of the data providers – to which I pointed out it wasn’t the data providers who were making the calls.

    It’s an absolute shambles, a firm we’ve received questionable compensation claims for (I choose my words carefully!) and a firm who have scant regard to the TPS and ‘rules’.

  10. I imagine that EMCAS carried on with these activities for as long as it did because, until quite recently, the MoJ’s enforcement of its regulations was totally ineffectual and, even now, as others have pointed out, a fine of £70,000 is a mere fleabite.

    What’s really needed are some properly punitive fines that will inflict some real discomfort.

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