Feeds

Ofcom cracks down on menacing 'silent calls'

No Hallowe'en caper

High performance access to file storage

Companies that breach new "silent calls" guidelines could be fined up to £50,000 for each offence, under tougher new measures introduced by Ofcom today.

The communications regulator has called on firms that use automated calling systems to generate sales or marketing calls to smarten up their act.

BT, for example, receives more than 112,000 complaints a month from people worried that they've received a "silent" call.

In many cases, though, when people pick up the phone - the line is silent and no-one's there. That's because call centres often generate more calls than they can handle on the basis that some people won't be in to answer the call.

But for people who receive these calls, being met with silence can be menacing and frightening.

From now on, any calls that are abandoned must carry a recorded message telling punters who has just called and giving them the chance not to be bugged again. Call centres must also not hide their number when calling people so that their calling line identification (CLI) is available on all outbound calls.

And the industry must ensure that fewer than 3 per cent of calls end in "silent calls" as opposed to the current industry standard of 5 per cent.

Ofcom hopes that these measures - including asking the Government to increase the maximum fines for offenders from £5,000 to £50,000 - will help combat the problem.

Said Ofcom chief exec Stephen Carter said: "Excessive abandoned calls have become a real problem. We believe new fines and new rules, backed by firm enforcement action, are appropriate and necessary."

Earlier this year MPs called for tougher rules to crack down on unscrupulous callers. Labour MP Kevin Brennan said that elderly people in particular are "unduly inconvenienced by these calls and often believe that they are receiving malicious calls" and that those who find it difficult to get to the phone are "also seriously inconvenienced". ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nokia offers 'voluntary retirement' to 6,000+ Indian employees
India's 'predictability and stability' cited as mobe-maker's tax payment deadline nears
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.