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Loss of car dealer revenue from telephone calling ban to be researched

Research is to be carried out to establish the cost in UK jobs and lost business revenue from the proposed opt in consent based regulation for outbound telephone calling.

The investigation will incorporate loss to the automotive retail sector.

The Telephone Compliance Council (TCC), which is the organisation that represents the interests businesses that rely on being able to call members of the public, is researching the impact of a consent only based law.

It is believed a broad swathe of consumer service businesses would be hit hard by permission based regulation that would preclude most companies from being able to make telephone contact with the public, including dealerships and garages that call customers about MoTs, servicing and after sales.  

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 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.

As well as investigating the overall impact of consent based legislation, there will be consideration of asking professional trade bodies to canvas memberships for micro level assessment on loss of income and jobs, which mirrors the TCC’s growing affiliation with industry associations as well as a diverse corporate membership.

The Scottish Motor Trade Association is strong supporter of the TCC, along with dealerships, independent garages and individuals that work within the automotive sector. 

"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 reminder calls about MoTs, servicing and after sales.

"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,’ said TCC spokesman Nick Rines.

"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.  

"The TCC supports the ICO in firmer prosecution of those that transgress the current laws."

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