Abbey is fined £30,000 for making 'silent' marketing calls to customers

LEADING bank Abbey is to be fined £30,000 for causing distress to customers by making so-called "silent" marketing calls.

Silent calls happen when an automatic dialling system rings a large number of people at once. The problem happens when too many answer at that same time and the system is unable to connect them to an agent.

Telecoms watchdog Ofcom can fine firms up to 50,000 if more than three per cent of a marketing campaign is made up of silent calls in one 24-hour period. Spanish-owned Abbey exceeded the limit on 73.7 per cent of days between October 2006 and April 2007.

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An Abbey spokesman said: "As part of an ongoing process of improvements, we identified during the summer that management and process controls were not as robust as they should be in respect of our out-bound calls. Both have been changed and since August we have been working within the guidelines."