The heads of companies caught making nuisance calls may soon face personal fines of up to £500,000 under new government proposals.
A consultation is being launched to give the Information Commissioner's Office the “powers it needs to hold company directors directly responsible”.
Currently, only businesses are liable for fines of up to £500,000 and some directors were able to escape the punishment by declaring their firm bankrupt then starting up again under a new name.
If the proposed new rules come into effect, directors themselves could soon be held personally liable for breaking the law.
Consumers received over 3.9 billion nuisance calls last year and seven in ten people say the calls discourage them from answering the phone.
Which? has campaigning for the government to take action on nuisance calls for several years.
Which? managing director of home products and services, Alex Neill, said: 'For too long, those who bombard people with calls have been able to skip fines and sidestep the rules by closing one business and opening another.
The House of Lords has defeated the government as it calls for a ban on what one of its members called an ’omnipresent menace’.
A cross-party amendment that would outlaw unsolicited calls proven harmful to consumers was backed by a majority of 48 votes; 253 to 205.
The defeat comes despite minister's’ attempts to appease critics by promising a future ban on such calls from claims management companies regarding pensions.
However, supporters of the amendment to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill want ministers to do more for those who have experienced nuisance calls. Given the growing problem, these peers are calling for immediate action.
This defeat comes after an earlier vote that again went against the government. 263 to 208 peers voted for a linked amendment giving a new financial guidance body the responsibility to protect consumers.