Significant rise in number of data breach complaints as result of GDPR

Research carried out by commercial law firm EMW has revealed that the number of data breach complaints made to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has risen by 160% since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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The GDPR came into effect on 25 May 2018, and UK businesses were required to be compliant by this time. Under the Regulation, businesses that deal with individuals living in an EU member state must protect the personal information belonging to those individuals, and must have verified proof of such protection.

EMW’s research revealed that, between 25 May 2018 and 3 July 2018, 6,281 data protection complaints were made to the ICO. This represents a rise of 160% when compared to the same period in 2017, when 2,417 complaints were made.

According to the law firm, ‘increasing numbers’ of consumers are making complaints in regard to data breaches. EMW also suggested that a ‘heightened awareness of individuals’ new data rights’ now exists, partly due to ‘greater media publicity’ given to the GDPR, alongside considerable government advertising.

‘A huge increase in complaints is very worrying for many businesses, considering the scale of the fines that can now be imposed,’ said James Geary, Principal of EMW’s Commercial Contracts team.

‘The more data a business has, the harder it is to respond quickly and in the correct, compliant manner.’


Energy price complaints reach all-time high

15 Jul 2014

Independent ombudsmen have reported a massive increase in the number of people making complaints about energy bills this year.

In the first six months of 2014, the number of official complaints was greater than the whole of the previous year, reaching 22,671. Figures for 2013 showed the number of official complaints was 17,960 in total.

Lewis Shand Smith, chief energy ombudsman, said: ‘The spike in complaints is in part a result of the rising cost of living, but also as a result of consumers becoming more aware of their rights and feeling more empowered to act and fight for a fair deal. Addressing these concerns is crucial to restoring consumer confidence in this sector’.

Energy bill concerns formed 84% of all complaints received by the ombudsmen in the first six months of this year.

An Energy UK spokesman said: ‘The energy industry works hard to provide the best service for its customers but in an industry serving 27 million households sometimes things go wrong’.

Payday lender complaints double

08 Jul 2014

According to a recent document published by the Financial Ombudsman, complaints about payday loans have more than doubled in the past two years.

The number of such complaints increased from 296 in 2012 to 794 in April 2014, although it is also suspected that many more people would have made complaints but felt powerless to act. The total number of inquiries made in that period was 5,395.

Each year an estimated £8 million short-term loans are taken out. The Financial Ombudsman said that many people struggle with repayments on these loans without speaking up because they are unaware that the ombudsman service exists.

Recently, the payday lender Wonga was ordered to pay over £2.6 million in compensation after sending threatening letters from non-existent law firms.

Principal ombudsman Caroline Wayman said: ‘We often hear from people who took out a payday loan as a desperate last resort and blame themselves when the debt starts to spiral out of control. It’s important that people don’t feel trapped with nowhere to turn because of the stigma associated with short-term lending’.