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24 January 2007

Barrett raises silent call concerns

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, will today meet with representatives from BT, to underline the sense of frustration felt by many Edinburgh residents over so-called silent calls.

Mr Barrett has been campaigning for more action on silent calls for the last year as part of his constituency-wide ‘Safer Communities Campaign’.

Silent calls occur when a telephone call generated by a predictive dialler does not have an agent immediately available to handle the call. In this instance the call may be terminated by the dialler, and the called party receives a silence or a tone from the telephone company, indicating the call has been abandoned.

Although not illegal, silent calls can cause real anxiety and annoyance for residents. It is estimated that the average household receives around 6 silent calls a month, although some households are more badly affected than others. Ofcom, the telephone regulator, has recently taken action to cap the number of abandoned calls at no more than 3% in any 24 hour period and to increase the fines for breach of the rules.

Mr Barrett will today meet with representative from BT to stress the importance of the industry working together to tackle the problem.

John Barrett said:

“Silent calls are a real source of irritation and anxiety for many of my constituents. It is unacceptable that some companies seem to be ignoring the rules and continue to bombard some households with multiple calls at all hours of the day.

“I believe we all have a fundamental right to be left free of undue disturbance and interference in our own homes. Silent calls can be a real source of worry for some people and are intrusive and irritating for everyone.

“While recent progress is welcome, there is far more to do to if we are to properly clamp down on the unscrupulous actions of some telemarketing companies. I look forward to taking up the concerns of my constituents with BT representatives.”

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.