With the number of people who receive nuisance calls from companies steadily on the rise, new laws have been put in place to deal with cold calling companies. Currently, companies can only be punished if there is proof that there cold calling tactics have caused ‘substantial damage or substantial distress’, but come April 6th, this is going to change.
Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner (ICO), appealed for a change in the current law earlier this year, stating that companies currently take advantage of the current law. Although cold calling may not seem like such a serious issue, it has been known to cause severe stress and anxiety for the elderly and the housebound. Last year, the ICO received over 175,000 complaints about cold calling businesses, as well as nuisance text messages.
The previous thresholds for cold calling to be considered a nuisance were very high, which is why only 9 prosecutions have occurred so far, resulting in a total penalty of £815,000. With the new thresholds, the ICO will be able to go after these companies with much more ease, as well as with the law on their side. Fines of up to half a million pounds can be imposed on companies that are found guilty of abusing this direct marketing tactic.
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have also stated that they will be looking into making caller identification compulsory, meaning that any companies that take part in cold calling will have to display their phone number to the recipient, who can then choose to ignore said calls much more easily.