Two marketing companies have each been fined £20,000 for making tens of thousands of silent calls, as the net closes in on businesses flouting telemarketing laws.
Green Deal Savings and MYIML – which are both on the Information Commissioner’s Office “watchlist” – have been found in breach of legislation on “persistent misuse” of a telephone network or service, which is governed by Ofcom.
They could also face action by the ICO.
Abandoned calls occur when automated calling systems dial too many numbers and there are not enough call centre agents to handle them.
Ofcom estimates that lead generation company MYIML made 30,296 abandoned calls between 16 December 16 2013 and February 3 2014. It also failed to include a suitable phone number in the recorded message that would allow consumers to return the call.
Meanwhile Green Deal Savings, a company offering home energy efficiency services, made an estimated 12,703 silent calls between October 27 2013 and December 14 2013. It also made over 420 abandoned calls in one 24 hour period on 27 October 2013.
“We know that silent and abandoned calls can cause consumers annoyance, nuisance and distress,” said Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s consumer and content group director. “These latest fines help demonstrate to organisations that there are consequences for operating outside of the law.”
To date, Ofcom has fined 15 companies, including home insurance and repairs company HomeServe, which was slapped with a record £750,000 penalty in 2012. Since March 2014, Ofcom has opened four formal enforcement cases; three of these have concluded, resulting in fines totalling £50,000. The final case, involving Sambora Communications, is likely to be concluded in the New Year.
Earlier this week, the Government’s Nuisance Call Task Force outlined 15 recommendations to tackle what it described as a “modern-day menace”.
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