2m Pounds silent calls fine in force tomorrow
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Issued by the BIS on 24 September 2010
Firms which pester consumers with silent and abandoned calls will be fined up
to £2million from tomorrow under new Government legislation.
fine is 40 times larger than the previous maximum limit of £50,000. The
intention of the penalty is to send a clear message that businesses must
abide by the rules or face serious consequences.
Silent calls are generated when call centres use predictive dialling
systems to call more numbers than there is staff available to speak to the
person who answers.
Ofcom will now have the power to use the fine to penalise and deter firms
from persistently making these calls.
Minister for Communications, Ed Vaizey, said:
“Silent calls are incredibly unnerving, particularly for the elderly and
those who live alone. Government will not stand by and let firms plague
consumers without consequence which is why we have made the maximum penalty
for silent calls 40 times larger to reflect the seriousness of the issue.
“Ofcom can now put this fine into action in the most serious of cases and
they will also work with us to ensure consumers know where to get help if
they are a victim of persistent silent and abandoned calls.”
The penalty has been applied through an amendment to the Communication
Act 2003 and will also be applicable to cases including for example:
number scanning withholding calling line identification facilitiesabusing
systems for dishonest gainmisusing allocated telephone numbers
1. The amendment to introduce the new penalty was passed in the Houses of
Parliament on Thursday, 16 September 2010.
2. Ofcom research into the issue, carried out between October and
December 2009, found that 47% of adults felt ‘very inconvenienced’ by silent
calls and 32% were ‘very concerned’. During the same period, 3,500 consumers
contacted BT’s Nuisance Calls Bureau and in February 2010, over 14,000
callers to the Bureau listened to recorded advice on silent calls. Ofcom
received over 6,500 complaints about silent calls in 2009.
3. The current framework for regulating silent and abandoned calls is set
out in the Communications Act 2003. The Act provides powers to Ofcom to take
action against those who persistently misuse networks or services in a way
that causes, or is likely to cause, unnecessary annoyance, inconvenience or
anxiety, but which falls short of a criminal offence.
4. On 10 September 2008, Ofcom published a revised statement of policy on
the persistent misuse of an electronic communications network or service,
which tightened up the rules concerning the usage of ACS. The previous
penalty of £5,000 was increased to £50,000 in April 2006. Ofcom has since
then successfully pursued 9 cases against companies which were found to have
generated unacceptably high levels of silent and or abandoned calls. It has
issued financial penalties in each case and also has an ongoing enforcement
5. Ofcom’s guidelines on persistent misuse of ACS can be found at:
6. Consumer helplines and website info:
BT’s (Easiserve) line where they speak to an advisor about silent calls
Ofcom’s complaints line0300 123 3333http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/tell-us/telecoms/privacy/silent-call/
Telephone Preference System (TPS) registration - where individuals can
register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone
calls.0845 070 0707http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/what/
About the Author
© Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BIS Department
for Business, Innovation and Skills. Reproduced under the terms and conditions
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-09-28 15:01:59 in Computer Articles