Carphone Warehouse facing 'silent calls' fineIt broke new guidelines about abandoned calls

03 November 2006

 

A row of smiling call centre workers

Carphone Warehouse may have to pay out thousands of pounds after coming under fire from the telecoms regulator for making silent calls.

An Ofcom investigation found that the phone giant generated too many ‘abandoned' calls between April and July.

It broke new rules which require companies to limit silent calls to 3 per cent or less of all the calls they make.

Silent calls occur when automated dialling systems generate more calls than the available call centre staff can handle.

New guidelines

This leaves a silence on the end of the line when the recipient picks up the phone.

New guidelines which came into force in March state that abandoned calls must be accompanied by a recorded voice message to explain what is happening.

But Carphone Warehouse also failed to provide the required recorded phone message.

The Ofcom investigation found IDT Direct Ltd trading as Toucan, Brakenbay Kitchens Ltd and Space Kitchens Ltd were also in breach for the same reasons.

‘Persistent misuse’

In a statement today, Ofcom said it had found ‘reasonable grounds to believe that each of these four companies have engaged in persistent misuse of an electronic communications network or electronic communication services in a way that causes annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety to consumers.’

The firms have until 6 December to respond. The regulator can choose to fine the companies up to £50,000.

Carphone Warehouse said: ‘We fully endorse Ofcom's stipulations and are working with Ofcom in tackling what is an issue across all industries that deploy automatic or predictive dialler marketing.

‘We are and have been actively working both internally and with our third party agencies to ensure that, at the least, recorded messages are heard by the individual being dialled and that the proportion of abandoned calls falls below the threshold.’

 The firm said it had already made ‘significant progress’ in meeting the new rules relating to silent calls.