Tackling abandoned and silent calls

Statement published 01|10|10

Executive summary

Introduction

1.1 Ofcom has powers under the Communications Act 2003 ("the Act") to take enforcement action where it has reasonable grounds for believing that a person has persistently misused an electronic communications network or service.

1.2 Ofcom is required under the Act to prepare and publish a statement of our general policy with respect to our powers to deal with persistent misuse and is required to have regard to this statement when taking enforcement action under the Act.

1.3 Ofcom's Revised Statement of Policy, published on 10 September 2008 (the "2008 Revised Statement") identifies making abandoned or silent calls as one example of persistent misuse. It describes steps call centres can take to avoid insofar as possible making abandoned calls; and that when abandoned calls are made, steps are taken to limit harm to consumers. Specifically it sets out Ofcom's approach when assessing whether to take enforcement action for persistent misuse caused by abandoned and silent calls.

1.4 In June 2010 we consulted on various changes to the 2008 Revised Statement aimed at making our policy more effective and further reducing consumer harm (the "2010 Consultation").

1.5 Ofcom received 63 responses to the 2010 Consultation from a broad range of industry and consumer stakeholders. This document sets out Ofcom's response to the comments we received and includes our final conclusions. These are reflected in Annex 1 to this document ("the Revised Statement") which sets out Ofcom's current approach when assessing whether to take enforcement action for persistent misuse caused by abandoned and silent calls.