On november 21 2019, the French Data Protection Authority (the CNIL) issued a €500,000 fine against FUTURA INTERNATIONALE, for various breaches of the GDPR and, in particular, for breaching the individuals’ right to opt-out of marketing calls.

The CNIL justified the amount of the penalty by the company’s lack of cooperation and the number, duration and gravity of the breaches.

FUTURA INTERNATIONALE, a French company specialising in thermal insulation, uses the services of several call centres, some of which are located outside the European Union, to carry out marketing calls campaigns.

The CNIL decided to carry out an onsite audit following a complaint from an individual explaining that he was still being solicited by this company despite having exercised his right to opt-out of marketing calls both orally and by mail. The audit revealed, among other things, that the company had received other similar complaints from various individuals.

As the company did not provide a satisfactory response to the formal notice that the CNIL had issued in October 2018, the French Authority imposed a penalty of €500,000 on the basis of the following five GDPR breaches:

  • failure to take into account the individuals’ right to opt-out of marketing calls (e.g. The CNIL noticed that no procedure was in place to handle properly such requests);
  • processing of excessive data (i.e. presence of abusive comments or comments related to people’s health);
  • insufficient information of individuals on the processing of their personal data and rights;
  • lack of cooperation with the CNIL;
  • insufficient guarantees regarding the transfers of personal data to service providers located outside the European Union.

The penalty represents approximately 2.5% of the company’s annual turnover, which amounts to around €27 million and whose net profit exceeds €500,000.

The CNIL justified the amount of the sanction on the basis of the number of breaches, their persistence and their seriousness. In particular, the CNIL insisted on the fact that the company’s lack of cooperation was an aggravating factor.

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France: €500,000 fine for illegal marketing calls
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