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September 16, 2010

“Silent calls” penalty upped to £2m

by Gill Montia

Story link: “Silent calls” penalty upped to £2m

Financial firms that fall foul of Ofcom regulations by generating too many “silent calls” will shortly be facing a maximum fine of £2 million.

MPs agreed to increase the penalty from £50,000 earlier this week, effective later this month.

The vast majority of the calls are caused by automated calling systems used by call centres to contact large numbers of people in one go.

Around 70% of the complaints Ofcom receives about silent calls are from consumers receiving two or more a day from the same company, often over a period of days or even weeks.

However, Ofcom points out that the system can be beneficial to both companies and consumers, for example when a bank needs to quickly alert thousands of customers about a potential fraud.

The regulator will only excuse 3% of silent in any 24 hour period and when Barclays failed the test in 2008, the bank had to pay the then maximum penalty of £50,000.

 

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