On Sunday, it was announced that Directors of companies who are found guilty of nuisance phone calls will be fined up to £500k as a fine. Up to now, it is the company, not the Director, that could have been hit with the £500k fine. But all that would happen is the company hit with the fine would go bust, start up again in another name and carry on as if nothing had happened.
Now, with this new legislation due to be made law in Spring 2017, a company found to be guilty of nuisance phone calls can be fined a combined £1m, with half being fined to the company, and half being fined to the Director personally. Hallelujah!
A strong deterrent
The problem with the last set of rules was a company could bust itself, avoid the fine, start up again in another name and carry on as per normal. Very double glazing. This new legislation now places a very hefty fine on the Director of the company personally. £500k is a rather large sum of money, even if you are wealthy, and I’m hoping that this is something Directors of companies who knowingly use nuisance calls as a sales tactic will now consider.
I’m writing about this as I’m sure we’re all aware that some of our industry’s biggest companies do in fact operate call centres, and are often accused of annoying and aggravating home owners with their incessant phone calls. Often on my visits to home owners, they will tell me that they once had an appointment with a national glazing company, or had even just filled in a form online, and now they constantly get annoying phone calls from that business trying to convince them to go for more business, or to get them to make a decision on an existing quote. I’m fairly sure we all know the types of companies who would operate in such a manner.
What I would hope for now is that because there is now a large personal risk to Directors because of these tactics, they might be persuaded to change the practices of their companies.
A glazing industry problem
This is a big deal. There are many companies, not just the large regional or national companies, use who telephone cold calling to try and drive business. It has been abused for years, if not decades, and has helped garner the cowboy, grotty image that the more professional parts of our industry have been working hard to change.
Come Spring 2017, we might see the tactics of some companies start to change. The last set of rules left loop holes so companies found guilty of nuisance calls could duck and avoid the fine with minimal fuss. This is a strong message to Directors by making this additional fine accountable to the person and not the company. And if you had any doubt that these regulations have teeth, the Information Commissioners Office – the body who implements these rules, have already handed out £3.7m in fines. A report on the BBC doesn’t say specifically who these companies were, but I would not be surprised to see a glazing company in the mix.
This new legislation I hope will signal a change in direction for much of the glazing industry who uses telesales. It has been an area of sales that has long been abused, and only served to damage the reputation of the sector. Directors of companies who use telesales should now be looking very closely at these new laws and if they really could impact them. Not only could the company be found guilty and face a £500k fine, but the Director, or Directors of the company could also face a fine just a big. I’m sure they won’t want to hand the Government such a large amount of money from their personal accounts.
Time will only tell if these new rules will affect how the glazing industry goes about it’s telesales behaviour, but there is no doubt that Government is really starting to get serious on the matter. Here’s hoping it works and is the catalyst for change in our sector.