Currently only companies can be fined
Scottish National Party MP Patricia Gibson has presented a bill to make company directors accountable for nuisance calls.
The bill entitled Unsolicited Marketing Communications (Company Directors) Bill 2016 was introduced to Parliament on 13 September.
It proposed that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) should be able to take action against company directors for breaches of the EU directive on privacy and electronic communication.
The directive prohibits using automated recorded messages for direct marketing purposes through phone calls or texts without the receiver having agreed to it.
Consumers received over 600 million personal injury-related nuisance calls and 117 million injury-related nuisance text last year, according to research commissioned by Aviva.
But the ICO can only fine companies and not individuals for nuisance calls.
Gibson said that instead of paying the fines, companies close down and set up new ones under different names, a practice known as phoenixing.
She said: “This means that too many companies do not treat compliance with the law around marketing communications as a board level issue.
“If we hold culpable senior executives at board level accountable for the companies’ practices, those individuals would need to ensure that the companies’ practices were in line with the law or face personal action which could lead to disqualification as a company director in some cases.”
Gibson also said that only four out of 22 fines for nuisance calls have been paid in full, and that the proposed new law would be good news for honest businesses.
She said: “This bill would improve the lives for all of us. And I believe it would be welcomed by legitimate businesses who face a real crisis in consumer confidence as rouge businesses undermine the entire relationship between legitimate businesses and consumers.”
The bill is expected to have its second reading debate on Friday 18 November.