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Friday, 24 September 2010

Most Silent Callers will NOT be fined £2M from tomorrow

I refer to a BIS Department news release stating – “Firms which pester consumers with silent and abandoned calls will be fined up to £2million from tomorrow under new Government legislation".

This is untrue. Ofcom only takes action against those who breach its "rules". These rules allow up to 3% of all calls made to be Silent. Anyone making enough calls in total can cause as much of this type of nuisance as they wish.

For example, the Conservative Party made "over a million" calls in the run up to the General Election. Over 30,000 of these could have been abandoned in silence with no fear of action from Ofcom. Ed Vaizey has told parliament that he is "happy to accept" this.

Despite receiving many thousands of complaints since 2007, Ofcom has not found one company to have broken its rules since then. All of this nuisance must therefore have Ofcom's approval. 22 unnamed companies have been secretly investigated, but not one has even received a Notification of Persistent Misuse - the first stage of Ofcom's powers, which must precede imposition of a financial penalty.

I ask: "What difference will a greater penalty make, when the power to "name and shame" has always existed, but not been used in respect of any Silent Call made since 2007?"

Most, if not all, of those who make Silent Calls will continue to enjoy Ofcom's approval. They will not even be named and shamed, let alone subjected to any penalty."

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