Silent phone calls

Telefon

When you pick up a ringing phone and hear silence at the other end, it can be frightening.

However, most of these calls are made not by villains but by computers at call centres.

Now in the UK such centres could be fined up to £2m for causing distress.

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It's an annoying thing many households have to put up with - answering the phone to find nobody on the other end of the line. They are often from a company's call centre which uses automatic dialling in the hope of selling you something. But if there aren't enough staff on hand to speak, the call into your home stays silent.

Industry regulator, Ofcom, says it's a breach of their guidelines for businesses who make persistent unwanted phone calls. And now those caught breaking the law could face fines of £2m.

Kevin Brennan, Consumer Affairs Minister: 'It is still a real problem, despite the raising of fines that have gone on in the past. Last year, Ofcom did a survey and found that half of people that they surveyed said that it was a real nuisance to them.'

David Hickson, campaigner: 'We don't know how much of a deterrent it will be. The point is that the action point of Ofcom should be to stop people from making silent calls, not just to penalise them.'

Despite previous attempts to tackle this, almost half of the UK still receives silent phone calls. So officials will hope the threat of a bigger fine can help stamp it out.

Gavin Ramjaun, BBC News

Sözcükleri dinlemek için tıklayın

to put up with

katlanmak

automatic dialling

otomatik arama, bilgisayarla arama

staff on hand

müsait olan personel

a breach of their guidelines

kuralların ihlali

caught

yakalanan

a real nuisance

ciddi şekilde rahatsız olma

how much of a deterrent

ne derece caydırıcı

to penalise

cezalandırmak

to tackle

baş etmek, burada: mücadele etmek

stamp it out

durdurmak, son vermek