Regulation Hub Update - November 2021
30 Nov 2021
This month’s regulation and compliance news from the DMA Contact Centre Council’s Regulation Hub
There have been two ICO enforcements and fines since the last Update. The first, against the Scots charity HIV Scotland for an accidental breach of supporters’ sensitive personal data isn’t really very relevant to the contact centre world. But the charity’s £10,000 fine due to the accidental use of the email ‘cc’ rather than ‘bcc’ function is a warning to us all.
More relevant – and certainly very interesting – is the £45,000 fine the ICO has imposed on the UK’s largest trade union, Unite, for breaking the PECR rules. The fine was due to Unite – via its life insurance partnership with Quick Quote Life - making over 50,000 illegal calls selling life insurance products to numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The union’s defence was that its rule book said it would inform members about benefits, which include life insurance. But – as they would have known if they read these Updates – that doesn’t absolve them of the legal requirement to gain consent to direct marketing sales calls.
At the time of writing, the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 has just started to spread globally. So, the FCA’s recent ‘Remote or hybrid working expectations for firms’ guidance seems to be timely. The requirements it places of financial service firms could prove to be demanding:
Firms must ensure that a “…lack of a centralised location or remote working does not or is unlikely to:”
- Affect the ability of the firm to oversee its functions including any outsourced functions
- Increase the risk of financial crime
- Reduce competition
Amongst other things. Additionally, firms’ planning needs to ensure some key requirements especially relevant to contact centres.
For the first time in nearly 2 years, Ofcom has fined telco firms for their selling practices. Guaranteed Telecom was fined £25,000 and Met Technologies has been fined £10,000 for both ‘slamming’ customers – that is switching them to their firms’ services without the customers’ consent – and then trying to block their attempts to cancel their contracts.
The total of numbers registered with the TPS now stands at just over 17½ million – but still mobile numbers make up only 21% of the total.
Ofcom’s latest quarterly complaints figures include Shell Energy for the first time, now that it’s customer base has grown after its takeover of the Post Office’s Broadband operation to be big enough to be in scope of the analysis. The latest results contain good news for Virgin Media, which has seen its complaint levels start to slowly improve.
No fines of Premium Rate Providers of the PSA, this time around.
There has now been a total of 24 energy providers which have failed in 2021. With the recent exception of Bulb – which is just too big for Ofgem to farm out its customers to another supplier – all have closed, with the loss of thousands of contact centre jobs.
Content accurate as of 28th November 2021.