OFT tackles data scams

Related tags Data protection Data protection act 1998 Oft

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has been taking action against a raft of data protection companies.Companies that are threatening businesses,...

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has been taking action against a raft of data protection companies.

Companies that are threatening businesses, including pubs, with fines of up to £5,000 if they fail to sign up for a place on the data protection register, have been taken to court for misleading advertising.

Last month thePublican.com was inundated with calls from concerned licensees who received bogus letters from a company calling itself Data Protection Agency Services based in Smallthorne, Stoke-on-Trent.

The letter threatened licensees with a fine if they failed to pay £95 for a place on the Data Protection Register.

The OFT has confirmed that although it is not illegal for these companies to offer a registration service, it considers the advertising misleading.

It is concerned because the letters give the impression it comes from an official body and that the businesses were under some sort of legal obligation to pay.

The OFT can only act if a complaint has been made against a specific company.

It is currently investigating complaints made against the company in Stoke-on-Trent.

The OFT has taken action against:

  • May 2002:​ Data Protection Agency Services Ltd (also trading as Data Collection Enforcement Agency) of Southport and its director Michael Sullivan
  • November 2002:​ OFT gets assurances from two sole traders that they will no longer issue misleading advertisements - Chris Yewdall of Baguley, Manchester, and Finbar Fox of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire (both trading as Data Protection Agency)
  • November 2002:​ DPARS of Manchester and Gary McNeish (also trading as Data Protection Act Registration Service).

Related articles:

Publican poll reveals two-thirds targeted by scams (1 May 2003)

Publicans alerted over cash scam (24 April 2003)

Important scam warning for licensees (23 April 2003)

Related topics Legislation

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