Ofcom warns firms over silent calling

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The Independent Online

The communications watchdog Ofcom is set to clamp down harder on "silent calling", warning companies that they will face fines of up to £2m if they break the rules. New regulations come into force today designed to prevent call centre companies from harassing consumers with silent calls.

Ofcom said it had received 9,000 complaints about the practice last year, with more than two-thirds of complainants receiving two or more calls a day from the same company.

Nine companies have already been fined for silent calling, including Abbey National, Barclaycard, Carphone Warehouse and Space Kitchens, but Ofcom has moved to increase the financial penalty. Last September, Parliament backed an increase from £50,000 to £2m.

Ed Richards, Ofcom's chief executive, said it "has given sufficient warnings" and is "ready to take action against those who continue to break the rules".