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Debt collectors fined for data protection offence

Two debt collection agencies have been fined for failing to notify or register with the Information Commissioner’s Office. Corporate & Trade Limited and General & Commercial Guarantee Limited were each fined £5000.14 Oct 2005

Advert: Phishing conference, London, 27th October 2005The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had written to Corporate & Trade Limited on five separate occasions, while General & Commercial Limited received three letters from the data protection watchdog. Despite this, the firms, which trade from the same premises in Preston, still failed to notify the ICO that they processed personal data.

This is a requirement for most businesses in terms of the Data Protection Act, and costs only £35 per year.

Both firms were given the maximum possible fine of £5000, and ordered to pay £300 towards prosecution costs by Manchester City magistrates on Wednesday.

“Businesses that process people’s personal information must notify us at the Information Commissioner’s Office,” said Philip Taylor, solicitor at the ICO.

He warned that the ICO would take action against the small number of firms that flout the Data Protection Act.

“Complying with the Act ensures that individuals’ personal information is secure, accurate, up-to-date and is processed fairly,” said Taylor. “This latest successful prosecution should remind organisations of their responsibilities under the Act.”

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