Green Deal Firm Handed £45,000 ‘Nuisance’ Fine

11 July 2013

A marketing company promoting the Government’s Green Deal scheme has been served a £45,000 fine for “blighting the public” with nuisance calls, it has been revealed.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) handed down the fine to Manchester-based Tameside Energy Services Limited after more than 1,000 complaints were received about the company.

The company claims to be a Green Deal Provider and offers a range of energy improvement measures, including Cavity Wall Insulation, Loft Insulation, boiler replacement, and glazing.

The Green Deal is a Government initiative that allows UK households to make energy efficient home improvements by taking out a loan that is repayable against the property’s electric bill. The scheme is proving popular thanks to its “golden rule” which decrees that the cost of repayment must not exceed the financial sum conserved by making the improvements, effectively meaning that those taking up the scheme will not be out of pocket.

Complaints about Tameside Energy Services, made between 26 May 2011 and 31 January 2013, were received by the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and the ICO.

The ICO cited one example of an 80-year-old woman who continued to receive calls from the company despite asking to be removed from their lists more than 20 times.

The severity of the case prompted the ICO to initially propose a £90,000 fine, but the company’s “poor financial position” saw the fine reduced.

“This is not the first and will not be the last monetary penalty issued by the ICO for unwanted marketing calls,” explained Simon Entwisle, Director of Operations at the ICO.

In June, Nationwide Energy Services Limited was fined £125,000 for similar offenses. Like Tameside Energy Services, Nationwide also offered home improvement measures such as Cavity Wall Insulation and Loft Insulation under the Green Deal banner.

The ICO revealed that 1,601 complaints were made about the Swansea-based firm between 26 May 2011 and 31 December 2012, 550 of which were received after the company had been made aware it was being investigated.

“These companies need to listen,” Entwisle continued. “Bombarding the public with cold calls will not be tolerated. We are continuing our work with the industry, government and other regulators, including OFCOM, to co-ordinate our efforts to tackle this problem.

“We would like to see the law changed to make it simpler for us to punish companies responsible for repeated and continuous breaches of the law.”

That sentiment is expected to be shared by the Government. Just a few months ago, Minister for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker proclaimed: “I want to be completely clear; cowboys will not be tolerated in any part of the Green Deal.”

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