Telemarketing is once more the focal point of the activity of the Italian Privacy Authority which has recently ruling on the phenomenon of so-called “silent calls”.
These are calls when the recipient has no communication with any other party after lifting the receiver. This phenomenon seems to be quite common to the point that many people have turned to the Italian Authority to report receiving repeated and continuous calls of this type.
It seems that the origin of this mysterious new annoyance for citizens is yet again to be found in telemarketing. Most “silent calls” would in fact appear to be the result of an organizational problem for companies that deal with commercial phone calls. Most of these companies use a system that automatically calls individual users in order to connect them with call centre staff whose job is to promote services and products. Sometimes, however, the automatic system may pass on to the call centre a number of calls which is higher than the actual number of operators available at that moment. So the user’s phone rings, but there is no-one at the other end.
Of course especially if repeated, silent calls may not only cause users annoyance but also alarm, when we also see that a number of citizens have complained to the Authority that they have received such calls up to 10-15 times in succession.
In its ruling which focuses on the case of an energy supply company identified as the party indirectly responsible for “silent calls”, the Italian Authority has determined that companies using automated call system technology will have to exercise precautions to prevent the recurrence of such calls and to eliminate the ability to call the same number repeatedly within a period of 30 days.
Should they fail to comply with the prescribed measures companies will face administrative penalties ranging from €30 thousand to €120 thousand.