Ofcom sets out proposals to tackle repeat silent calls

Ofcom has today set out proposals to help prevent consumers being harassed by repeated silent calls.

Seventy per cent of the complaints Ofcom receives about silent calls are from consumers receiving two or more silent calls a day from the same company, often over a period of days or weeks.

The vast majority of these calls are caused by automated calling systems used by call centres to contact large numbers of people in one go. These systems can be beneficial to both companies and consumers, for example when a bank needs to quickly alert thousands of customers about a potential fraud. But sometimes technology used by call centres to detect answer machines will mistake a live consumer for an answering machine and cut off the call without the person hearing anything, resulting in a silent call.

Ofcom is proposing a new rule to prevent a company calling an answer phone more than once in any 24 hour period, unless a call centre agent is on hand to answer the call. This would mean that consumers currently worst affected would no longer receive repeat silent calls over the course of a day.

David Orrell