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Now one of those firms, Data Protection Registration Services of Isleworth, West London, listed by the Commissioner as an organisation to avoid, has raised the stakes by sending out Final Notice letters in an effort to scare businesses into employing their services.

As has been pointed out before, none of these businesses has any official standing for writing but they give the appearance of having Government sanction by adopting official-sounding names.

The commissioner is keen to make clear that there is no connection between his office and these businesses. “He has been disturbed that a number of people have been confused and troubled by the wording and tone of some of the correspondence issued by these businesses,” a statement on his website (www.dpr.gov.uk) explains.

“His office is co-operating with other relevant authorities, who are exploring what action might be taken.”

As we reported before, not all firms have to register under the Data Protection Act, but those businesses who keep records of people and companies must register and can do so directly with the commissioner for £35.

Details of whether or not you are required to register under the Data Protection Act 1998, as well as of how to do so, are available on the commission website listed above, or you can telephone the notification helpline on 01625 545740.

The commissioner advises anyone having problems with companies approaching them with warning letters similar to those reported here to contact their local Trading Standards Office. The commissioner’s blacklist of company’s on the website has virtually doubled in the last few months to 28.