Ofcom the UK’s communications regulator has sent out a letter to call centre operators outlining new rules that came into force on February 1st 2011 which are designed to prevent consumers from being harrassed by repeated silent calls from the same company.
Parliament has set the maximum fine for companies that don’t comply at £2m (which increases from the current maximum fine of £50,000).
Silent calls usually stem from automated calling systems (ACS) which are then meant to pass the call to an operator, but for whatever reason don’t and the call is then dropped. This can be distressing to consumers, especially those that live alone or are old.
Last year Ofcom received over 9,000 complaints about silent calls and as a result Abbey National, Equidebt, Barclaycard, Space Kitchens, Bracken Bay Kitchens, Toucan, Carphone Warehouse, Ultimate Credit Services, Complete Credit Management were all fined. Barclarycard was fined £50,000, the then maximum allowable amount at that time.
Ofcom will continue to monitor complaints and will actively take action against companies that are in breach of the new rules.