Apparently, Ofcom does not take too kindly to companies silent calling consumers. This was a lesson that Npower learned the hard way. Recently the energy giant was fined £60,000 for making close to 1,700 silent calls to its consumers in just seven weeks. According to Ofcom, that was 1,700 too many.
Silent calls are the same as making “abandoned calls”. This means Npower called consumers and would not answer when the person said, “Hello.” Instead, they would remain silent on the other end of the phone and then quickly hang up. Most people have experienced this at some point in their life, and it is very annoying and frustrating.
Ofcom said that Npower made 1,756 silent calls over a seven-week period last year. This did include calls that played a marketing message as soon as people picked up their phone. This is another marketing tactic that people hate. If consumers are going to have to stop what they are doing to pick up the phone, the company that called should at least have the nerve to actually say something.
Of course, Ofcom did admit that the harm that was caused by these silent calls was on the lower end of seriousness. They also understood that Npower has already sent a £10 voucher to all the consumers who were affected by these silent calls.
Despite this, Ofcom said that they had to take into account an offer from Npower to compensate consumers. However, due to the number of times that Npower made these silent calls, the company will still be hit with a £60,000 fine. Maybe this will help Npower learn better phone manners.
What some people do not know is that there is an “abandoned call” rule that is put in place to protect consumers. The rule states that companies should not exceed an abandoned call rate of 3 percent of live calls in a 24-hour period. This was something that Npower was able to do 8 times between February 1 and March 21 of last year.
Most people who were affected by this were greeted by a recorded message. The problem is, this is the message that people hear when a call center dials a person’s number, but they do not have enough staff on hand to speak to that person at that time. In short, it is an abandoned call.
Not only did Npower break that rule, but they broke another. Ofcom prohibits companies from playing marketing content to consumers if a call is abandoned. The message that people were hearing had marketing content on it.