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Carphone, Pipex slapped for silent calls

UK communications regulator Ofcom rapped the knuckles of Carphone Warehouse and Pipex on Friday, for causing annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety through ‘silent calling’.

Silent calls occur when the automated calling systems typically used by call centres for telemarketing, market research and debt collection, generate more calls than the available call centre agents can manage. So when the phone is answered by the consumer, the auto-dialler disconnects, leaving the consumer hanging on the telephone.

Ofcom policy states that abandoned calls should be accompanied by a recorded message explaining why the call has occurred, thereby avoiding silence on the line. The regulator found this did not happen in a number of cases.

Ofcom has completed it investigation and has since issued notifications to UK phone retailer and broadband provider Carphone Warehouse and alternative telco Toucan, owned by Pipex.

The two companies have repeatedly exceeded the 3 per cent limit for abandoned calls, Ofcom said, with cases on occasion going higher than 20 per cent.

The offenders have until December 6 to make representations to Ofcom, before the regulator decides on further action.

The maximum penalty that may be imposed is £50,000 per contravention.

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