UK Regulation

To combat silent calls, Ofcom set out a series of requirements for organisations using predictive dialers. On March 1, 2006, Ofcom published their revised policy on persistent misuse of networks or services. The new requirements are:

• The limit of the daily abandoned call is 3% of live calls on each individual campaign;

• Within two seconds of the call being answered, a very brief recorded message has to be played in case of an abandoned call. The message includes no marketing content and is not used as an opportunity to market to the called person. It must contain the following information:

• The identity of the organisation on whose behalf the call was made.

• Details of a no charge (0800) or Special Services basic rate (0845) number; the called person has the possibility of declining to receive further calls from that organisation by contacting these numbers.

• Unanswered calls must ring for minimum 15 seconds before being terminated.

• Abandoned telephone calls should not be re-dialed for at least 72 hours, unless a live operator is available.

• A Calling line identification (CLI) number must be presented on all outbound calls from call centres using predictive dialers. A return call may be made which is not charged at a higher rate than the national call rate.

• It is prohibited to use any call made by the called person to the contact number provided as an opportunity to market to that person, without that person’s consent.

• Records demonstrating compliance with the above procedures should be kept for minimum six months.

In order to ensure compliance with the new rules, on January 30, 2007, Ofcom imposed financial penalties on four companies for making an excessive amount of silent or abandoned calls:

• Space Kitchens £45,000

• Bracken Bay Kitchens £40,000

• Carphone Warehouse £35,000

• Toucan £32,500

Ofcom will also take action against any organisation with a UK presence on whose behalf calls are made from an offshore center if those calls constitute acts of persistent misuse.

Ofcom administrates The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) – an opt-out list that prevents telephone calls to those who do not wish to receive them. After twenty-eight days from the registration of a number, it becomes effective. It is illegal for telemarketers to call a number on the list.

According to BBC in November 2005, there were 10.5 million numbers registered.


Learn more about: 

Functioning, features, types and benefits of predictive dialers.

Predictive Dialer Tutorial

Cost of predictive dialing systems, factors to consider in deciding which predictive dialer to purchase.

Predictive Dialing Questions and Answers

Factors affecting predictive dialers' performance.

Predictive Dialers - Overview

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