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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Banned: property boss responsible for over 100,000 nuisance phone calls

A property company chief has been banned from being involved in any company for five years following a case involving over 100,000 nuisance telephone calls.

Jonathon De Sousa, from Northwich, formed Xternal Property Renovations Ltd, a property repairs and maintenance company, in August 2015 and from the outset it relied heavily on cold-calling the public.

But while it should have used the Telephone Preference Service list to screen out individuals who had elected not to receive cold calls, it ignored the list and within three months made a remarkable 110,000 calls to people registered with the TPS, who should not have received them.

The Information Commissioners Office received 133 complaints and concluded the company was in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications regulations.

As the firm also failed to provide the ICO with evidence that it had tacted correctly, the regulator in January 2017 told the firm it would be fined £80,000.

Before the penalty could be levied, however, De Sousa placed the company into Creditors Voluntary Liquidation in March 2017.

An Insolvency Service investigation into De Sousa’s conduct following the liquidation revealed that Xternal Property Renovations had also not paid £250,000 worth of taxes.

Now on July 30 this year the government has accepted a five-year disqualification undertaking from Jonathon De Sousa after he did not dispute that he had caused his company to fail to comply with Privacy and Electronic Communications regulations and failed to pay the appropriate levels of tax.

Effective from yesterday, he is now prohibited from being involved in the formation, management, or promotion of a company without permission from a court.

"By working closely with the Insolvency Service we have been successful in stopping the illegal activities of company directors like Jonathon De Sousa who cause upset and distress to millions of people who are on the receiving end of nuisance marketing calls” says David Clancy, the ICO’s investigations group manager.

"Our powers to protect the public from companies like his making nuisance calls have recently been made stronger than ever, as we can now make directors and managers of the companies personally liable for fines of up to £500,000. This will help stop them closing down one rogue company and setting up another business again."

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