Shhh. Come now. It's OK – you can leave the cupboard you've locked yourself away in in order to avoid the onslaught of daytime, withheld number cold callers. A new government crackdown will see the firms behind the unsolicited calls fined heavily unless they display their numbers, meaning you'll be better armed to avoid and block the nuisance callers.
Callers will risk fines of as much as £2 million from Ofcom and up to a further £500,000 from the Information Commissioner's Office if direct marketing companies fail to adhere to the new rules, which will take effect as of May 16th. The fines can be dished out even if the companies' call centres are situated abroad.
"Nuisance calls are incredibly intrusive and can cause significant harm to elderly and vulnerable members of society," said Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the minister for intellectual property who is spearheading the changes.
"The Government is committed to tackling this problem, which is why we are making it easier for consumers to report companies by forcing them to display their phone numbers. We’re sending a clear message to rogue direct marketing companies. Nuisance calls are unacceptable and we will not hesitate to take action against the companies behind them."
Ofcom estimates that some 4.8 billion nuisance calls are made in the UK each year, with a fifth of those coming from withheld numbers. The Information Commissioner's Office has already upped its game when penalising nuisance callers, taking in more that £2 million from intrusive calling companies in the last year. [ICO]