Further to our article in January, TPS News – Does Your Company Telemarket?, the Government announced last week that they are backing the ICO (Information Commissionaire’s Office) proposals, making it easier to penalise companies that breach regulations on cold calling.
Changing the telemarketer’s laws
Up to now, the ICO could only issue fines to firms deemed to be making ‘nuisance calls’ if they could prove the company had caused ‘substantial damage or substantial distress. As of April 6th, this requirement is being removed, making it easier for the ICO to go after firms that are making multiple cold calls and sending multiple text messages.
Why is this happening?
The change in the law has come about because of the volume of complaints the ICO receive regarding nuisance calls. The ICO handled more than 175,000 complaints last year.
You see, there are a number of business to consumer companies that utilise aggressive telemarketing and text message techniques in order to make sales, and the theory that making multiple contacts until the customer says yes prevails. We’ve all had the flurry of calls/texts about PPI, haven’t we?
The new law
With the requirement of substantial damage or substantial distress proof being removed, it will make it easier for the ICO to levy a fine of up to £500,000 for breaches.
The Government are still looking at proposals to make board-level executives responsible for nuisance calls.
Further plans are being made which could see the Government, regulators and telecoms companies working in partnership to make more robust laws governing telemarketers.
A good outcome
For the vast majority of companies, this new regulation is good news. There is still great benefit to the end-user and business owner in the use of email/call/text as a means to market, but it has to be sensitively done. The ‘spammers’ who seem to hound their prospects with multiple communications give marketing a bad name. Curbing their activities will help to bolster the reputation of this route to market and re-kindle an enthusiasm amongst the public for it.
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