Communications regulator Ofcom has updated its rules to protect customers from nuisance calls and improve debt collection practices. The new rules will apply to all UK communications providers and will take effect from October 1 2018.
Communications providers must block calls if telephone numbers displayed to people receiving calls are not valid, dialable and uniquely identifiable.
Ofcom has also strengthened its rules to ensure complaints are dealt with promptly and effectively, with providers having to keep consumers informed about the progress of their complaint and faster access to dispute resolution services. Providers are also required to have clear, effective policies and procedures for identifying vulnerable customers to ensure they are treated fairly and appropriately.
Craig Simmons, Head of Debt at the Money Advice Service commented:
“We are pleased to hear about the new Ofcom rules to ‘protect communications customers and aid enforcement’. The new rules include a requirement for all communication customers to have fair and transparent debt collection practices.
Our stakeholders have told us they want to see fair and consistent debt collection practices from all creditor types, and these new rules will create better support for communications customers in financial difficulty.
We encourage all communication providers to examine our resource ‘Working Collaboratively with debt advice agencies – a strategic toolkit for creditors’ and use it to challenge their debt collection processes and policies.
In addition, our ‘creditor toolkit’ includes operational guidance on creditor implementation of the Standard Financial Statement (SFS), the new universal income and expenditure statement, together with a single set of spending guidelines”