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The Credit Services Association (CSA)
Ofcom Consultation on the persistent misuse of electronic communications
As noted in last week’s compliance roundup, Ofcom has launched a consultation on changes to the ‘Revised statement of policy on the persistent misuse of an electronic communications network or service’. Members will be well aware that this statement of policy sets out some important rules about the use of diallers.
CSA has been able to secure a meeting with Ofcom, which will take place before Christmas, so we can raise our initial concerns in terms of efficiency, as well as try and better understand from them their thinking on the proposals. We also aim to speak with the FCA to get their view.
As part of their Joint Action Plan with the Information Commissioner’s Office to tackle nuisance calls, Ofcom is consulting on changes to their statement of policy. These changes will affect members who use a dialler system.
The key proposals include:
- imposing a zero tolerance policy on silent calls and abandoned calls. Ofcom are making it clear that no abandoned calls are acceptable and "they may take enforcement action in any case where the caller makes abandoned calls". Ofcom further state "making it similarly explicit that consumers should not be subject to abandoned calls and that we may take enforcement action in any cases where the caller makes more than three abandoned calls".
- identifying use of multiple Calling Line Identifications (CLIs) as misuse, unless there is good reason for doing so.
Under the new proposals, there will no longer be a 3% threshold for abandoned calls.
In addition to this, the consultation document contains proposals for clearer definitions of a silent call and an abandoned call, as well as some slight changes to information message requirements (these will now need to clarify that the call could not be connected to an agent and give basic rate return call numbers).
The paper also proposes a minor change to the enforcement process. Where Ofcom intends to take enforcement action, they will give the offending party notice of the penalty they are considering imposing, so that the offending party can respond to both the allegations and the proposed penalty at the same time (this is an effort to streamline the process and increase efficiency).
Given the potential impact of these changes, we would welcome feedback and support from members in putting together a response to the consultation. In particular, we would appreciate any key statistics illustrating the impact of the changes on member companies and any potential resultant consumer detriment. Please send any responses to Claire Aynsley (email@example.com) or Daniel Spenceley (firstname.lastname@example.org) before Friday 22 January 2016.