The Government has revealed that the long-awaited legislation which will outlaw pensions cold calling will be introduced this autumn, nearly two years after it was first proposed.
The move follows yet another consultation on the ban, published this week, which confirmed that once draft regulations are published in the coming weeks, the ban will be brought into force after 21 days.
The Government also said that once the ban comes into force, “financial advisors that use lead generation firms will need to stop using the services of these firms”.
The new regulations will be included in an amendment to the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations and will also cover text and email. They will be enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office, with a current maximum fine of £500,000.
In its report on the consultation the Treasury said: “Pension scams can have devastating consequences, such as the loss of an entire pension fund. On top of this, the chances of recovering these savings are very low, leaving most victims without the means to fund their retirement.
“Cold calling is the most common method used to initiate pension fraud. The serious consumer detriment caused by pensions scams means that the Government has chosen to intervene directly to implement a pensions cold calling ban.”
However, David Hickson of the Fair Telecoms Campaign said: “Despite noble efforts and many meaningless tweaks to the regime over recent years, the problem of nuisance calls and scams has only got worse over the 15 years that this regime has been in place.”
Others have long pointed out that the ban could result in more cold calls – not less – as it would move compliant users of outbound calling out of the way to leave the field clear for rogues to expand activity into.
At the time the ban was first proposed, the Telephone Compliance Council said: “Fraudsters are not going to be hindered by telemarketing regulation, and rogue companies fold and start under a new name, or if they are based overseas cannot be touched by UK authorities.”
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