Tougher action on nuisance callers

Published: Wednesday 25th February 2015 by The News Editor

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New regulations will make it easier for watchdogs to clamp down on companies which cause distress through cold-calling and nuisance texts.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey will lay an order in Parliament which will lower the hurdle for imposing penalties including fines of up to £500,000.

Under the change, the Information Commissioner’s Office will no longer have to prove that unwanted messages are causing a “substantial damage or substantial distress” before taking action against those responsible.

Earlier this month information commissioner Christopher Graham branded the current law “a licence for spammers and scammers” and called for more powers to tackle the problem.

In a speech to the Alzheimer’s Society, Mr Graham said: “The elderly and vulnerable are particularly at risk and this can only add to the worries of those who care for them. The Government need to lay the order, change the law and bring in a reform that would make a real difference.”

Launching a six-week consultation last October on the proposed removal of the “substantial distress” threshold, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Companies have bombarded people with unwanted marketing calls and texts, but have escaped punishment because they did not cause enough harm.

“Being called day after day may not be ‘substantially distressing’, but that doesn’t make it acceptable.

“I want to make it easier for companies to face the consequences of ignoring the law and subjecting us to calls or texts we have said we don’t want.”

Published: Wednesday 25th February 2015 by The News Editor

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