Companies engaged in cold calling potential customers could be in line for hefty fines of as much as £500k in future as part of a fresh regulatory clampdown on the nuisance practice.
Taking effect from 6 April the toughened rules will lower the requirement on the Information Commissioner’s Office to prove that unsolicited communications by phone or text cause ‘substantial’ damage or distress to the recipient before they can act.
Instead they will be able to respond immediately and target board-level executives behind the firms responsible.
Digital economy minister Ed Vaizey said: “For far too long companies have bombarded people with unwanted marketing calls and texts, and escaped punishment because they did not cause enough harm.
"This change will make it easier for the Information Commissioner's Office to take action against offenders and send a clear message to others that harassing consumers with nuisance calls or texts is just not on."
Consumer group Which? welcomed the new powers but called for the regulator to send a ‘clear message’ by implementing them without delay.