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PPI Mis-selling-targeting Cold Calling Firm Hit Staggering 40 Million Nuisance Calls

Wednesday 9th of March 2016 17:50

First appearances can be deceptive as we all know, as personified by the recent case of Louis Kidd the tech geek who according to his dating profile is a ‘hopeless romantic’ who enjoys nothing better than innocently wiling away the hours strumming his guitar and playing computer games and the odd tennis match. What’s more, he still resides at his family home with his mother despite being 27-years of age. Although there’s absolutely no harm in that on the surface, Kidd has made everyday life a misery at (regular) times for thousands of UK residents who found themselves targeted by his company’s unsolicited phone calls during a four month reign of nuisance calling terror, during which time the telemarketing company which Kidd founded conducted some 40 million nuisance calls. Which belies his otherwise innocent and harmless public persona, best illustrated by his dating website profile.

However 27-year old Kidd has officially being identified as the UK’s most prolific phone pest, with his Prodial Ltd firm recently slapped with the largest fine ever metered out to a company found guilty of making relentless nuisance calls as part and parcel of its telemarketing operations. According to the Information Commissioners Office, Prodial was ordered to stump up £350,000 after it was found to be responsible for making a staggering 40 million cold calls in the space of just four months between April and August 2015, with the ICO describing it as “one of the worst cases of cold calling” it’s ever proven previously; adding that Prodial was “A company that knew it was breaking the law.” The maths behind the unprecedented volume of nuisance calling is mind-bending in as much as in the region of 330,000 householders were being targeted each day at the height of Prodial’s unethical telemarketing practices, with a South-east-based mainframe computer server apparently triggering close to 6 million automatically-dialled calls to homes located across Britain every day.

Despite the figures, this isn’t the most unbelievable aspect of this particular story of extreme cold calling though, as that comes when you discover that Kidd – and his business partner, Phil Carrington – are set to seemingly get away with canvassing vast swathes of homeowners during their calculated campaign due to the underlying fact that their company, Prodial Ltd was placed into liquidation at the precise juncture it discovered the ICO was on its tail in November 2015. Which essentially transpires as Kidd and co likely to escape any punishment due to its nefarious operations ceasing to exist the moment the net started to close in, so effectively there being no company to be brought to task over the deeds which have gone before.

Sadly Prodial isn’t the first – nor certainly not the last we would have imagined – to wind up operations as industry investigator’s end games hotted up, as ICO cite 14 out of 20 firms they’d been monitoring in relation to nuisance calls had either gone bust or alternatively declared themselves insolvent so as to side-step impending fines and prosecutions. And even more frustrating is that having no liabilities in a professional capacity, the prosecution-avoiding directors of such outfits are free to set-up similar companies undertaking exactly the same sort of work when they so choose in the future.

In terms of the working relationship forged between Kidd and Carrington, it’s understood that the accused had been co-workers at another telecommunications firm, namely Italk Affiliate, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, is itself subject to on-going investigations by the ICO with reference to the making of 4 to 6 million unsolicited calls per day utilising, arguably the same technology facilitated by Prodial at a later date. This admittedly worrying revelation points toward the hard and software used by both business concerns being freely in circulation amongst a small group of exponents, determined to take up where others have possibly left off; meaning tracing the movements of those involved becoming increasingly more difficult to manage. A source close to the investigation emphasised the fears expressed by those charged with bringing the perpetuators of such crimes to justice by recently saying; “There is a group of people who know how to abuse the system and some have got away with it for longer than others,” going on to add; “We believe they have taken significant amounts of money out of the company. Between the two of them they had written this computer programme that could make these calls and that is the genius of it.”

It’s emerged that Kidd provided the programming element, whilst Carrington was the corporate face of Prodial, a company which went after the lucrative payment protection insurance mis-selling market which continues to gather momentum a number of years after the scandal first hit the headlines; and has since proved happy hunting ground for numerous unscrupulous firms keen to cash in on the seemingly never-ending financially-rewarding gravy train. With regards to where the phone number were originally sourced, and evidence suggests that Prodial purchased UK landline and mobile numbers from a company located in South Africa, while any leads made by Prodial were quickly sold on to third parties. The ICO confirmed that it had received in excess of 1,100 complaints regarding recurrent and systematic nuisance calls, which were of a typically intrusive nature and would occur at all times of day and night. At the peak of its earning powers it’s believed that Prodial was generating as much as £100,000 a month in revenue, as liquidators continue to track down the ill-gotten gains since last November’s declaration of insolvency.

 

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