Ofcom has slapped TalkTalk with a whopping £750,000 bill for making excessive number of silent calls to potential customers in 2011.
Over 9,000 silent and abandoned calls to consumers between February and March 2011.
Silent and abandoned calls are usually generated by call centre software such as answer machine detection (AMD), something which Ofcom regulates the use of.
Even though its TalkTalk who have been fined, it wasn’t TalkTalk who was directly responsible for these calls. Employees of Teleperformance and McAlpine Marketing, two call centre operators employed on behalf of TalkTalk, made the calls over two years ago.
TalkTalk told us that it’ll be sending these companies the bill and that their working relationship is over. A spokesperson said:
“In February and March 2011, two of TalkTalk’s suppliers, Teleperformance and McAlpine Marketing, made a number of silent and abandoned marketing calls. TalkTalk demands high standards from the companies it works with and as a result TalkTalk immediately stopped using these suppliers. Both suppliers addressed the root cause of the problem and TalkTalk will fully recover the financial penalty imposed by Ofcom from these companies. TalkTalk works with all its partners to ensure that regulations are adhered to and that customers continue to get good service and best value.”
Ofcom and the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) reported a record high number of complaints this year, which have been attributed to silent calls and aggressive marketing. Silent calls in particular can cause distress as they can often be mistaken for threatening calls, though the TPS puts much of this activity down to marketing calls.
Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, Claudio Pollack, said: “Silent and abandoned calls can cause annoyance and distress to consumers. Companies must abide by the law and Ofcom’s policies. If they fail to do so then Ofcom will take firm action. Today’s penalty sends out a strong message to organisations using call centres that they must comply or face the consequences.”
Such is the annoyance with spam calls that an e-Petition has been launched with the aim of giving customers the power to sting junk callers with a £50 court claim. Right now only 150-odd have signed up but e-Petitions have up to a year to gather steam, so who knows how far this will go.
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