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Ofcom changes rules on silent calls

Ofcom will apply tougher rules to call centres from 1 February 2011 in an attempt to reduce the number of silent calls received by consumers.

Call centres: Ofcom changes rules on silent calls

Call centres: Ofcom changes rules on silent calls

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The telecoms and media regulator believes silent calls are mainly generated by answer machine detection technology that is designed to detect answer machines and thus save outbound call handlers from making a wasted call.

When the technology sometimes mistakes a "live" consumer for an answering machine, it can seem to consumers as if someone is hanging up on them.

The rule change will prevent a company using answer machine detection equipment more than once a day, unless a call centre agent is on hand to answer the call.

Ofcom said it has received more complaints (over 6,800) about silent and abandoned calls so far this year than the whole of last year.

It intends to use, where appropriate, the full extent of the new maximum financial penalty of £2m granted by parliament last week. The maximum levy was previously £50,000.

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