Consultation 01.10

Raising the maximum penalty for persistent misuse of an electronic communications network or service to tackle the problem of silent and abandoned calls to consumers

Ref: 01.10

This consultation seeks views on whether the maximum penalty should be increased, and if so whether the new maximum should be £250,000, £500,000, £1 million or £2 million.

Background to consultation

Ofcom published on 10 September 2008 a revised statement of policy on the persistent misuse of an electronic communications network or service, which can be found at Ofcom.

The statement includes examples of behaviour which may lead Ofcom to take enforcement action. The previous penalty of £5,000 was increased to £50,000 in April 2006.

Ofcom has asked the Government to increase the maximum penalty, recommending that it be raised from £50,000 to £2 million. The Government believes in strengthing consumer protection whenever possible and feels on balance that an increase would be beneficial, despite Ofcoms’ research seeming to indicate that the general level of silent calls may be decreasing. Ofcom considers that the current maximum penalty is not a high enough figure to represent a real sanction or an effective deterrent to companies that continue to persistently misuse networks or services by making silent and abandoned calls.

The Consultation can be accessed on the following BERR link.

The Consultation closes on 23rd January 2010.

Posted 08.01.10