Silent callers could be fined £2m

Companies found guilty of nuisance “silent calling” could be fined up to £2m after the Government handed Ofcom more power to crackdown on persistent offenders.

Silent calls happen when a company’s automated calling systems dials more numbers than there is staff available to answer the phone.

Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom says: “The increase reflects the potential seriousness of the harm caused to consumers by the unsolicited and intrusive nature of silent and abandoned calls and enables Ofcom to effectively regulate these activities.”

The regulator has been left frustrated in the past that it could only issue a maximum fine of £50,000.

It handed Barclaycard the maximum fine in 2008 and has issued 22 penalties since.

The fine can only be applied if is proven that the company has abandoned more than 3% of the calls it made over a 24-hour period.

The new penalty will be applicable from later this month.

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