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Government changes law to tackle cold calling


The Government has announced new changes to the law to combat cold calling and nuisance text messages, including the ability to impose fines of up to £500,000.

At the moment, the law states that companies cold calling can only be punished if the phone calls have caused “substantial damaged or substantial distress”. From 6th April, this law will be changed and companies who make large numbers of calls may breach the regulations because of the "cumulative effect" of their actions. The Government also confirmed that it will look at introducing measures to hold board level executives responsible for nuisance calls and texts.

These changes have come into place following tens of thousands of complaints about cold calling. The Government has claimed that the number of complaints about cold calls has risen in the past decade, and the issue partially effects the elderly or housebound, as the calls often cause distress or anxiety.

The Debt Advisory Centre (DAC) conducted research which found that 69% of UK adults screen their phone calls, and only answer phone calls from numbers they recognise. Most people do this to avoid speaking to salespeople trying to sell them something or to dodge companies chasing payments.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sports have also said that they may look at introducing mandatory caller line identification so that all marketing callers would have to display their telephone numbers.

The executive director of the consumer organisation Which?, Richard Lloyd, said:
"Eight out of 10 people have told us they have had an unwanted call or text over the last month, a third of people have said they have been caused distress and they have been feeling intimidated by these calls, so this is a massive problem and we have to get a grip on it.

"If we get the regulators, the government and the telecoms companies working together on this we think we could start seeing a rapid decline in calls but that's going to take a while."

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