Barclaycard has been fined £50,000 for breaching rules on silent and abandoned sales calls to consumers.
The fine, the maximum the phone industry regulator Ofcom is allowed to impose, follows an investigation between October 2006 and May 2007 which found Barclaycard made an ‘extremely high number of silent calls’.
The investigation also found that some of Barclaycard’s call centres had no procedures to prevent people receiving repeated abandoned calls over a short period of time. Which? has advice on choosing a credit card.
Barclaycard silent calls fine
Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said: ‘Taken as a whole this is the most serious case of persistent misuse by making silent and abandoned calls that Ofcom has ever investigated.
‘Had we not been limited by the statutory maximum, we would have imposed a larger financial penalty to reflect this misuse.’
Ofcom said those who received the silent calls from Barclaycard had no way of knowing who had made them.
Silent calls were a significant cause of inconvenience and anxiety for thousands of people every month, the regulator said. Most were not generated with malicious intent but were made when call centres using automated systems placed more calls than their agents could deal with.
Barclaycard apology over silent calls
Ofcom regulations say abandoned calls must make up no more than 3% of all live calls in a 24-hour period and all abandoned calls must carry a short recorded message identifying who it is from.
All calls from automated calling systems must also allow people to dial 1471 to find the telephone number of the person or organisation calling them.
Barclaycard apologised to its customers today and said it accepted the ruling. It said in a statement: ‘Barclaycard does not dispute Ofcom’s findings and accepts the resulting fine. We offer a full apology for any inconvenience and distress to our customers that these calls caused.’
Which? Money credit card survey
Which? money editor Martyn Hocking said: ‘Barclaycard got one of the worst ratings in the latest Which? Money credit card satisfaction survey survey.’