HomeInsightsDirect marketing companies registered in UK will need to display phone numbers when making unsolicited phone calls.

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From 16 May 2016, cold callers will no longer be able to hide or disguise their phone numbers, as part of Government action against nuisance calls.  The move follows positive backing in a public consultation and extensive work with regulators, industry, and consumer groups, the Government says.

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 will amend regulations 19 and 21 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 in respect of both live and automated telephone calls so that, “the person transmitting, or instigating the transmission of, such communications— (i) does not prevent presentation of the identity of the calling line on the called line; or (ii) presents the identity of a line on which he can be contacted”.

The Government says that the amendments will not only improve consumer protection, making it easier for people to refuse and report unwanted marketing calls, but it will also ensure that the Information Commissioner’s Office can investigate and take enforcement action against callers who persistently and deliberately break the rules.

This latest move by Government follows news that a substantial number of fines totalling £895,000 have been issued by the ICO.  In 2015, the Government made it easier to fine nuisance callers by removing the need for consumers to prove that unwanted marketing calls were causing substantial distress and damage.  Companies risk fines of up to £2 million from Ofcom and a further £500,000 from the ICO if they continue to bombard consumers with unwanted calls.  To read the Government’s press release in full, click here.  To access the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2016, click here.

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