Energy giant Npower fined just 60,000 for making more than 1,700 silent calls to consumers in just seven weeks
Regulator Ofcom: Energy giant fined over abandoned calls made last year
It exceeded abandoned call rate of 3% of live calls over 24-hour periods
Happened on eight occasions and Npower apologises for breaching rules
The calls see people greeted by a recorded message from a call centre
17:36 GMT, 6 December 2012
Npower has been fined just 60,000 for making abandoned calls to customers.
The gas and electricity supplier, which made a profit of more than 300m last year, made 1,756 abandoned calls and played messages with marketing content over a seven-week period last year.
Ofcom said the harm caused was at 'the lower end of seriousness' and it understood that Npower would provide a 10 voucher to those affected.
Bill: Npower was fined 60,000 for making 1,756 abandoned calls and played messages containing marketing content over a seven-week period last year
The regulator said in a statement: 'Taking into account this offer to compensate consumers, the number of occasions that Npower was non-compliant with the rules and the steps it has since taken to bring itself into compliance, Ofcom has imposed a fine of 60,000 on Npower.'
Under Ofcom’s rules, there is a limit on the number of abandoned calls organisations can make before it considers enforcement action.
Npower exceeded an abandoned call rate of 3 per cent of live calls over a 24-hour period eight times between February 1 and March 21 last year.
The calls see people greeted by a recorded message and happen when call centres dial someone but don't have enough staff to speak to them.
Trying to listen: Under Ofcom's rules, there is a limit on the number of abandoned calls organisations can make before it considers enforcement action (file picture)
Ofcom rules also prohibit organisations from playing recorded messages that include marketing content in the event of an abandoned call.
'Our rules are there to protect consumers from suffering
annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety from abandoned calls'
Pollack, Ofcom’s consumer group director
It found Npower broke this rule on 1,906 calls.
Ofcom’s consumer group director Claudio Pollack said: 'Our rules are there to protect consumers from suffering annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety from abandoned calls.
'Organisations using call centres must comply with the rules or face the consequences. Where we find there to be breaches, even at the lower end of the scale, we can exercise our powers and take action.'
An Npower spokesman said the firm was sorry for breaching the rules, but added: 'We believe that these instances were isolated exceptions'.