Feeds

Carphone Warehouse rapped over 'silent' calls

Is there anybody out there?

Boost IT visibility and business value

The British mobile retailer Carphone Warehouse Group plc could be hit with a penalty of up to £50,000 for making "silent" calls to its customers, communications regulator Ofcom has said.

Ofcom explains the silent call menace thus: "Silent calls can occur when automated calling systems used by call centres generate more calls than the available call centre agents can manage. When the person called answers the telephone and there is no agent available, the automated calling system abandons the call. This can result in the person called experiencing silence on the line when they answer the telephone."

Ofcom has confirmed that Carphone Warehouse had regularly exceeded the limit of three per cent of silent calls in any 24-hour period.

A raft of requirements for all outbound calls had not been put in place by the Carphone Warehouse, despite Ofcom's revised guidelines which were issued to call centres in March this year.

Rules breached included failing to providing caller line ID and full records of dialler usage as well as a recorded message to tell the customer that the lines were busy.

Three other companies' (Brakenbay Kitchens Ltd, Space Kitchens and IDT Direct) call centres have also exceeded the limit of silent calls to unacceptable levels - some persistently higher than 20 per cent, according to an Ofcom statement Ofcom released last Friday.

"There are reasonable grounds to believe that each of these four companies have engaged in persistent misuse of an electronic communications network or electronic communication services in a way that causes annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety to consumers," said Ofcom.

As a result, the regulator could impose financial penalties to a maximum of £50,000 on each firm. It added that the companies have until 6 December to present their cases.

Ofcom was unable to provide a detailed breakdown of how many complaints the regulator had received from Carphone Warehouse customers.

But there had typically been a total of 270 silent or abandoned calls per month since the guidelines were issued, which is "a measure of the level of concern" regarding the four companies' misuse of communications, an Ofcom spokesperson told The Register.

Responding to the action taken by Ofcom, the Carphone Warehouse said in a statement: "We are and have been actively working both internally and with our third party agencies to ensure that, at the least, recorded messages are heard by the individual being dialled and that the proportion of abandoned calls falls below the threshold." ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.