75,000 telemarketing calls land solar panel directors with bans

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Solartech North East Ltd was incorporated in July 2010 with Christopher Snaith (51), from Stockton-on-Tees, appointed as director. He was followed by Jeffrey Allan Hall (40), also from Stockton-on-Tees, who was appointed in February 2012.

The company originally operated as a renewable energy company, selling and installing high-quality solar panels to the domestic market in the UK.

Initially, the company was successful but due to legislative changes in 2016, it became less cost-effective for the homeowner to install solar panels.

This impacted on Solartech North East’s success and in response, they diversified into installing boilers and other home improvement services before succumbing to economic pressures and entering into Creditors Voluntary Liquidation in February 2019.

The liquidation triggered an Insolvency Service investigation into the company’s activities.

During 2017, Solartech North East had been investigated by Trading Standards and the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) following complaints made by customers and other individuals.

Investigations by the ICO found that between 1 January 2017 and 30 June 2017, Solartech North East made 74,902 unsolicited calls for direct marketing purposes to subscribers whose numbers were registered with the Telephone Preference Service.

The ICO issued Solartech with a £90,000 fine for serious breaches of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, which remained outstanding as of the date of liquidation in February 2019.

On 4 September 2019 the Secretary of State accepted disqualification undertakings from Christopher Snaith and Jeffrey Hall after they did not dispute that they had failed to ensure that Solartech North East complied with Regulation 21 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

Effective from 25 September 2019, the pair cannot, without the permission of the court, be involved in the formation, promotion or management of a company, directly or indirectly, for 6-years.

Jane Knight, Deputy Head of Insolvent Investigations from the Insolvency Service, said:

Making tens of thousands of unsolicited marketing calls to people who had specifically opted out from receiving them is unacceptable trading practice.

The disqualifications mean Christopher Snaith and Jeffrey Hall will not be able to run a limited company for 6 years and will protect the public from unwanted sales calls.

David Clancy, ICO Enforcement Group Manager, said:

By partnering with the Insolvency Service in cases like this we are disrupting the ruthless operations of directors of companies plaguing the public with illegal nuisance calls.

Notes to editors

Christopher Snaith is of Stockton-on-Tees and his date of birth is April 1968

Jeffrey Hall is of Stockton-on-Tees and his date of birth is June 1979.

Solartech North East Ltd (Company no. 07327707).

Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings. Persons subject to a disqualification order are bound by a range of restrictions.

Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct.

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