Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

19/03/09 ROSIE COOPER MP CALLS ON COMPANIES TO END PRACTICE OF S

Rosie Cooper MP for West Lancashire today joined with cosumer groups to highlight the problem of silent telephone calls, which cause misery for thousands of consumers.

The MP welcomed the campaign from communications regulator Ofcom and regulator champions Consumer Focus and Age Concern to raise awareness of silent calls and how to avoid them.

MP Rosie said:

“Although silent calls can seem intimidating they are usually just marketing calls and not malicious. However, they can be a cause of great anxiety."

"Knowing how to avoid them is one way consumers can take control. Consumers can take steps to avoid these calls by registering for the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which makes it illegal for companies to call them for marketing reasons."

"A guide with details of how to register for the TPS and complain about silent calls is available on the web sites of Ofcom, Age Concern and Consumer Focus.”

Silent calls are caused by automated calling systems known as diallers which are often used in call centres to generate and attempt to connect calls. If there are not enough call centre agents to handle the number of calls the dialler makes it may result in a silent call.

Ofcom guidelines state that call centres using diallers should play an information message if a call is abandoned to prevent the call being silent. In many cases this is not happening, and results in consumers receiving silent calls.

Ofcom receives over 1,000 complaints a month from consumers worried and frustrated about this issue.

Audrey Gallacher from consumer champion Consumer Focus said:

“While companies continue causing distress by making silent calls, consumers should report them to Ofcom so they can investigate and take enforcement action if necessary.”

Gordon Lishman, chief executive of Age Concern England, said:

“Silent calls cause anxiety and distress to those on the receiving end. We are very pleased that Ofcom has taken action to reduce the incidence of these calls and has produced an informative guide telling people how they complain.”

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