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Thursday, 26 August 2010

32% of consumers receive Silent Calls - Ofcom takes no action

A recent Which? survey has found 32% of consumers receiving at least one Silent Call in a two week period.

Whilst householders can prevent marketing calls from compliant companies by registering with the Telephone Preference Service,
only Ofcom has powers to take action against callers who hang up in silence.

Ofcom holds the power to issue a “Notification of Misuse”, to use to stop Silent Calls, but has not used it since October 2008.

Ofcom itself reports that it received evidence of 100,000 Silent Calls from identified callers in 2009.

Ofcom can follow such a Notification with an enforceable demand to cease the practice, which can lead to a penalty of up to £50,000 whenever it is breached.

Ofcom has never used this power. Ofcom has instead sought for the maximum penalty to be increased to £2 Million, so that it may never be used.

Ofcom has a policy of tolerating Silent Calls, based on the total number of calls made each day, so no consumer complaint could ever lead to action.

Ofcom has recently consulted on a further weakening of its policy, to explicitly allow one Silent Call to be made by any single caller to any single recipient each day, regardless of the total number made.

This is a grave misuse of Ofcom's powers and a direct refusal to follow the directions of parliament, which stated in 2006,
"We expect you to use your powers to eradicate the nuisance of Silent Calls".

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