A Withheld Number Could Cost Millions
A new law which is set to pass today will have the ability to fine ‘cold callers’ over £2 million. A ‘cold caller’ is a person or persons who call with withheld phone numbers.
From 16th May all UK companies will need to display their phone numbers on unsolicited calls. This law will even be effective on UK companies with call centres abroad.
They can be fined by both Ofcom and ICO.
Ofcom can fine them £2 million, while ICO can fine them £500,000.
The fines will be for continuously harassing existing and potential customers with unwanted phone calls. This is a problem because one in five call sales calls have withheld numbers
The benefits of the companies displaying their number is so you can decide if you want to answer the call or not. This is because some people don’t like to answer calls for people with withheld numbers. Another benefit is that if the companies continue to make an unreasonable amount of calls it will be easier make a formal complaint and it helps the ICO to investigate those who continue to make too many calls.
Withholding their number when making a nuisance call makes it harder for the ICO to find the companies. So, when the are obligated to show their numbers ICO will be enforcing their laws more. Seeing the number makes people more likely to complain as well, with more complaints, more companies will be fined for harassing people.
Ofcom have stated that they have estimated that UK residents get 4.8 billion harassing call, 1.7 billion live sales calls, 1.5 billion silent calls, 940 million recorded sales calls, 200 million abandoned calls per year collectively.
The ICO head of enforcement, Steven Eckersley, has been quoted in saying “Any change that makes it easier for us to track down companies making nuisance calls is a change that will reduce the annoyance these calls cause.”
Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the minister responsible for data protection says that “The Government is committed to tackling this problem” due to the problems it can cause for the elderly and vulnerable people. This is why they have made it easier for people to make complaints. He also stated that they “are sending a clear message to rogue direct marketing companies. Nuisance calls are unacceptable and we will not hesitate to take action against the companies behind them.”