Firms behind 'abandoned calls' fined £40k
Two companies have been fined a total of £40,000 for making abandoned calls, regulator Ofcom has announced.
Investigations into Green Deal Savings Limited and MYIML Limited found "persistent misuse" of telephone services by both companies and comes after Ofcom and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) offered 15 recommendations to the government about how to crackdown on the millions of nuisance calls that take place in the UK each year.
An abandoned call is when a consumer picks up their receiver only to find no one on the other end. This happens when automated calling systems - which are used by companies to maximise the time sales agents spend talking to potential customers - dial too many numbers without sufficient staff to handle the calls.
Ofcom rules set a limit on the number of abandoned calls a company can make and states that all calls must include a recorded message with information on what organisation was calling and why and how the customer can opt out.
The regulator found that MYIML Limited, a lead generation company, made an estimated 30,296 abandoned calls between December 2013 an February 2014 and failed to leave a suitable phone number for people to call in the message.
Meanwhile, Green Deal Savings Limited made 12,703 'silent' calls – where no message was played at all - between October and December 2013.
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's consumer and content group director, said: "We know that silent and abandoned calls can cause consumers annoyance, nuisance and distress. These latest fines help demonstrate to organisations that there are consequences for operating outside of the law.
"We're committed to making full use of our powers to tackle this issue and reduce consumer harm from nuisance calls."
Among the recommendations given to the government to reduce nuisance calls this week included raising the amount companies who bombard people with nuisance calls can be fined to £50,000 and making their board of directors accountable for the distress caused.