A Glasgow-based company that was fined £150,000 in September for cold calling and making nuisance calls is now insolvent and has appointed a liquidator.
Dial a Deal Scotland Ltd, run by Yvonne McCuaig, 43, made over half a million calls including to those who were users of the Telephone Preference Scheme and so had opted out. The calls offered people non-existent government grants and used false trading names.
The business was investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office and this found that Dial a Deal was using spoof numbers so that calls could not be returned. Critics of the business claim the business, which McCuaig runs with Calum Fitzpatrick, 27, is a means of avoiding the ICO fine.
However, a spokeswoman for the ICO said: “Where directors seek to avoid payment via insolvency, we actively exercise our full rights as a creditor, including nominating Insolvency Practitioners whose investigations can result in personal claims against directors”.
The ICO found the firm, which has a registered address at an industrial estate in Glasgow’s Strathclyde Street, set up a series of “fake” trading names including First Home Improvements, Green Alliance, Green Allowance Team, Green Allowance Scheme, Green Funding Team and Boiler Funding Solutions. It added the business “engaged in the direct marketing of ‘government’ green schemes which do not appear to exist”. They also used “spoof” numbers so they could not be called back or properly traced.
Their investigation found that over a seven-month period Dial A Deal made 558,250 “unsolicited direct marketing calls” to those “who had not provided valid consent”.
Ken Macdonald, head of ICO regions, said: “Dial A Deal were breaking the law on a number of fronts, not only were they making calls to people without their permission, but they were also hiding their identity using false names and spoof numbers.
“Calls about green deal schemes can be a real problem as people often believe they are legitimate but, thanks to the -complaints made by the public, we’ve been able to take action. Companies making similar -nuisance calls should take note – we use our powers where we see serious breaches of the law.”
It was reported that McCuaig and Kirkpatick also tried to have their company struck off the Companies House register, but that action was stopped seven days later by the ICO. Further, it was reported that McCuaig and Kirkpatrick set up a new company in June called Simple Lead Ltd, which is based at the same Glasgow address as Dial A Deal.
McCuaig had developed a profile, particularly in the Scottish media, and also built a profile on Instagram where she had 87,000 followers. She claimed she was making an “amazing income” from the social media platform, as a ‘fashion influencer’; and showing her luxury lifestyle.