Research into loss of revenue from calling ban

Research is to be conducted to establish the cost to revenue and jobs caused by a proposed opt-in consent-based regulation for outbound calling, which will include the home improvement sector.

The Telephone Compliance Council (TCC) (previously known as Call For Action On The TPS), represents the interests businesses that rely on being able to call members of the public.

It is researching the impact of a consent-only-based law, which could have a negative impact on a broad swathe of consumer service businesses; a permission-based regulation could prevent home improvement companies from calling existing customers and new sales prospects.

Under the current draft of the EU e-Privacy Bill, the only criteria under which companies may call members of the public is through consent, including preventing contacting customers about product and contract expiry dates, upgrades, cross selling and service-based reminders.

The consequent effect on commerce and employment are thought to be currently disregarded.

Within the draft of the EU e-Privacy Act is a clause that allows governments to choose opt out of outbound calling regulation, which the TCC is pushing for. However, there is concern the ICO may be considering opt-in only regulation for the new direct marketing guidelines that it will put to government ministers under instruction that comes from the Digital Economy Act.

Furthermore, there are no plans for trade bodies to canvas their members to assess the potential impact on jobs and revenue.

“It is important that we understand the full implications of opt-in consent regulation, and what the fall out from it will be, including the freedom to make calls about upgrades, cross selling, and new prospect calling,” spokesperson Nick Rines said.

“There is a lot of concern, particularly among marketing professionals and consumer-facing businesses that having to build and maintain a consent database is unfeasible. It would mean that overnight the successful business models of tens of thousands of companies would become untenable.

“This attempt to stop nuisance calls will not solve the current problems. The TCC fully supports robust regulation that protects the public from rogue or nuisance callers, but it believes implementing opt-in consent rules, which in effect would be a ban on currently legally compliant outbound calling, would leave the field wide open to those pirate callers that would merely expand their activity as they continue to flaunt current or future legislation.”