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News : Over-50s Insurer Fined for Making Abandoned Calls
Oct 1, 2014 -- The over-50s insurer Ageas has been fined £10,000 for making abandoned calls to UK consumers.
Ofcom found that Ageas, which owns Kwik Fit Insurance, RIAS and Castle Cover, made 148 abandoned calls over three separate days during a seven-week period.
The regulator said the insurer breached rules regarding "persistent misuse of a telephone network or service", but found that the degree of seriousness and harm to consumers was "at the lower end of the scale".
The fine also reflected Ageas' offer of a £10 shopping voucher to affected consumers and the steps it had taken to bring itself into compliance, Ofcom added.
Abandoned calls are often caused by automated calling systems or "diallers" which companies use to maximise the amount of time their agents spend speaking to consumers.
The systems are mainly used in call centres to dial telephone numbers automatically and connect people to call centre agents as soon as the phone is answered.
Problems arise when the dialler makes a call but there is no agent on hand to deal with it.
Claudio Pollack, consumer and content group director at Ofcom, said: "The law is there to protect consumers from suffering annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety, including from abandoned calls.
"Organisations using call centres must comply with the law or face the consequences. Where we find breaches, even at the lower end of the scale, we can take action."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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ageas SA/NV is a multinational insurance company co-headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. Ageas is Belgium's largest insurer and operates in 14 countries worldwide.
Published: Thursday, October 2, 2014