New powers that could see cold call firms fined up to £500,000 come into force

Callum Keown
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New powers to crack down on cold calls (Source: Getty)

Companies cold-calling customers without their consent could be fined £500,000 from today as new measures come into force.

Previously consumers had to opt-out of receiving calls by registering with the free Telephone Preference Service or withdraw their consent during the call.

But the new powers will put the onus on the callers to make sure they have the recipient's consent before calling.

If they call up consumers without their consent, they could be fined up to £500,000.

Digital Minister, Margot James, said: “Today we are one step closer to ending the menace of nuisance calls.

“Our new laws mean people will now have to give consent to receive calls and have the power to choose where they seek compensation for personal injury claims or mis sold payment protecton insurance.”

She added: “This is a big boost for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and will help them crack down on the cold call sharks.”

Consumers have been urged to report any potential breaches to the ICO as part of the government crackdown.

People can still opt in to be contacted by claims companies if they wish.

The Financial Conduct Authority said approximately 2.7 billion unsolicited calls, texts and emails were made to people in the UK in the past year offering to help them make a claim, including calls about accidents and mis-sold PPI.

Enforcement group manager at the ICO, Andy Curry, said: “Millions of nuisance calls, texts and emails are made every year in the UK and can cause real distress to people.

“This amendment to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations will increase our ability to take action against those companies who deliberately flout the law and cause real upset and harm.”