Carphone Warehouse has been fined £35,000 for making silent calls. It is one of four firms to be rapped by the telecoms regulator Ofcom for ‘causing annoyance’ to consumers via the calls.
Ofcom also imposed fines of £45,000, £40,000 and £32,000 on the firms Space Kitchens, Bracken Bay Kitchens and Toucan Residential Ltd respectively.
The regulator contacted the four companies in November saying it believed they had persistently misused the telecoms network.
It announced the fines after considering steps taken by the four firms to end the misuse and comply with the rules. The maximum possible fine is £50,000.
“Ofcom has now considered representations by each of the companies and has decided to issue a financial penalty in each case,” the regulator said in a statement.
Silent calls occur when automated systems used by call centres generate more calls than the centre’s staff can manage. The automated system abandons the call if no agent is available, leaving a silence on the line for the person on the receiving end.
Ofcom said between April and July 2006 all four companies’ abandoned call rates regularly exceeded 3% and in some cases were higher than 20%. One or all of the firms failed to supply a recorded information message to prevent abandoned calls from being silent calls, the regulator said.