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Thursday, 15 July 2010

10 days left to support Ofcom's formal acceptance of Silent Calls

From: David Hickson - campaigner

Ofcom is currently consulting on proposals to permit Silent Calls to be made no more than once a day to any particular victim.

The consultation (published at http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/silent-calls/) ends on 27 July.

There may be some who think that it would be a good thing if Silent Calls were limited in this way - I do not. Ofcom’s duty is to eradicate Silent Calls, insofar as it can, not tolerate them.

Ofcom is still awaiting parliamentary approval for an increase to the maximum penalty that it may impose for those misusing the telephone network, e.g. by making Silent Calls.

Last time parliament granted such an increase it came with the following proviso, as stated by the then Minister:

"We expect you to use your powers to eradicate the nuisance of Silent Calls". (Listen and see links here.)

Four years later, Ofcom is now considering trying to impose a limitation simply on the frequency with which such calls can be made to any particular person. I would say "THIS IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH", but such a statement would itself be hopelessly inadequate to reflect the extent to which Ofcom is flouting the expressed will of parliament.

For the sake of the reputation of the Call Centre industry and for the good of citizens, the wholly unnecessary and unacceptable practice of hanging up in silence when a telephone call is answered must be totally prohibited. (That was Ofcom's policy at the time when I started campaigning for it to be implemented, in 2003.)

The proposal out to consultation must therefore be rejected. Parliamentary approval of the increased penalty cannot be granted until it is seen to be used to give effect to a proper policy that fails to tolerate any Silent Calls and applies proportionate and appropriate penalties against those who breach enforceable requirements to cease the practice.

(Online responses to the consultation can be made at the following link - https://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/silent-calls/howtorespond/form. The detailed questions reflect Ofcom tinkering with wholly unnecessary complex, over-technical pseudo-regulations, which miss the essential point that no one should ever hang up in silence.)

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