Ofcom received more than 9,000 complaints about silent calls last year, with more than 70% of those affected saying they had answered two or more calls from the same company in one day.
The regulator said this can cause "significant distress".
It said the majority of cases were down to call centre technology used to detect answer machines. When the technology fails to recognise a "live" consumer the call is cut off, meaning the person who answers does not hear anything.
Ofcom has fined nine companies for making silent and abandoned calls, with Barclaycard receiving the previous maximum penalty of £50,000.
It has now written to the call centre industry spelling out the new regulations and warning that it will not hesitate to impose the maximum fine where appropriate.
The rules were approved by Parliament last September.
Ed Richards, Ofcom's chief executive, said: "Silent and abandoned calls can cause significant consumer harm. Ofcom has given sufficient warnings to companies about silent calls and is ready to take appropriate action against those companies who continue to break the rules."
The new rules prevent a company using answer machine detection equipment more than once a day if a machine is "detected" on the first attempt.
This should mean consumers no longer receive repeated silent calls from the same company.<< Archive
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