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Cold calling law change


A recent change in the law governing cold calling has meant a crackdown on firms that pester people with nuisance calls. Under new legislation, bosses of companies that plague people with cold calls will be held personally liable and could face fines of up to £500,000 if they are found to have broken the law.

Expanded powers for ICO

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the data protection watchdog, could only previously fine the business but now bosses themselves can be held personally responsible. Prior to this, some bosses had declared their firms bankrupt, liquidated them and set up under a new name, rather than pay the fines.

Minister for Digital, Margot James has declared that “There is now no hiding place for the small minority of rogue directors who have previously tried to escape justice.”

Effect of cold calling & nuisance calls

Ofcom estimates that UK households received 3.9 billion nuisance calls and texts last year. A recent survey by Which? of 2,000 households revealed that 71% of people receive at least one nuisance call a month. These cold calls had a significant impact on everyday life for many of the survey’s respondents, with 73% saying they discouraged them from picking up the phone when it rings and 58% saying receiving cold calls and texts made them feel anxious or annoyed.

The ICO has issued more than £5.7 million in fines since 2015 to cold call companies for breaching rules surrounding nuisance calls.

Providing the tools to end unwanted cold calling

Andy Curry, head of the nuisance call enforcement team at the ICO welcomed the amendment to the law, which will increase the tools they have to protect the public. “This new legislation is the latest in a long line of measures designed to put an end to unwanted calls and texts.”

Other actions taken by the government in this area include an amendment to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) which requires all direct marketing callers to provide Caller Line Identification. They have also lowered the legal threshold at which the ICO may impose fines on organisations breaching PECR. A recent investigation by Which? highlighted that some businesses are not complying as they should be when it comes to providing marketing material to customers along with e-receipts

If you have any questions about how it affects your business, please contact our Commercial Team for more info.

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