TPS complaints hold steady despite GDPR and data regulation focus
Has your company’s attitude to data privacy and regulatory compliance changed in the past year?
Following the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018, surely the majority of companies are taking regulatory compliance far more seriously – especially given the potential fines?
Companies caught blatantly breaching data regulations are paying an increasingly heavy price – such as the two firms recently fined a total of £250,000 by the Information Commission’s Office (ICO).
Their offence? Making nearly 1.73 million nuisance calls to people registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) in a bid to sell their products and services.
Worryingly, these companies are not alone: despite growing awareness of new data regulation requirements, complaints to the TPS show no sign of abating. According to the ICO, the number of nuisance phone calls being made to businesses has held steady since the enforcement of GDPR.
Individuals register with the TPS – and its business arm, Corporate TPS (CTPS) – for a reason: to prevent a flood of cold calls. The fact that firms continue to contact both businesses and individuals on the register post GDPR is a concern.
Whether companies are blatantly ignoring current data regulations or simply failing to understand the new privacy requirements, fines of this scale should be a serious wake up call.
As Andy Curry, ICO Group Enforcement Manager said, these fines should “set alarm bells ringing” for companies thinking about contacting people without their permission. He added, “It is a company’s responsibility to make sure that it has valid consent to make these calls.”
Compliant Direct Telemarketing
So, what can be done to ensure telemarketing campaigns are compliant with current data regulations?
- Understand restrictions: TPS makes it illegal for a business to make “direct marketing telephone calls” to individuals (classed as consumers, sole traders and partnerships). CTPS extends the rules to include corporate bodies such as limited companies or limited liability partnerships.
- Avoid TPS/CTPS registered numbers: Check your own lists and information or ensure your data provider is regularly updating their lists. The ICO recommends that data should be cleansed every 28 days, but the best suppliers will carry out this task on a much more regular basis, preferably every 24 hours.
- Create a compliant telemarketing model: The process for cleansing data is not complex. There are a number of products available from TPS approved suppliers, which can check entire databases or single telephone numbers. There is also plenty of information available on the TPS site about legal obligations, which should help every company create a robust and compliant telemarketing campaign.
- Confidently improve campaign performance: With access to regular feeds of legally compliant data, companies can relax about data quality and focus on improving targeting and messaging to deliver far more successful telemarketing campaigns.
The TPS has been in force since 1999. Post GDPR, however, the ICO has confirmed that companies failing to take the essential step of checking TPS and CTPS can expect robust enforcement. It is not that complicated, or onerous, to ensure data lists are compliant with current data regulations – so why risk it?