1 in 10 plagued by nuisance calls despite crackdown

Suffering consumers are getting more than 20 a month, but TPS says it can help. Picture: Contributed

Suffering consumers are getting more than 20 a month, but TPS says it can help. Picture: Contributed

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Mobile phone users are still receiving a large number of nuisance calls, despite a crackdown on unsolicited cold calls in recent years.

A report from consumer group Which? found that in the space of a month, one in ten mobile phone users reported they had received more than 20 unwanted calls.

It’s vital people register if they want to help protect themselves

Richard Lloyd

This comes despite the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and the government introducing a range of measures over the past year to crack down on rogue callers.

Many mobile phone users surveyed were not aware they could register their device with the TPS.

According to data from Ofcom and the TPS, of the 78.9 million active mobile phone subscriptions in the UK, just 3 per cent – 2.4m people – are registered with the TPS.

While two-thirds are aware of the TPS, only around a third of people said they thought that the TPS could be used to block unsolicited calls to mobiles, compared to almost all who thought it could be used with landlines.

Which? has called for the government to make senior executives accountable for their company’s unlawful nuisance calls and require businesses to show their number when they call.

Which? executive director
Richard Lloyd said: “With the number of nuisance calls to mobile phones on the rise, it’s vital people register their phone if they want to help protect themselves from this everyday menace.

“The government, regulators and business need to continue to work together to tackle nuisance calls, with further action to cut them off at source and make senior executives accountable if their company is caught flouting the rules.”

Last week, the TPS dropped the need for a named company to be included when consumers make complaints about nuisance or rogue marketing calls – meaning consumers can lodge a complaint based on just the telephone number and the time of call.

Many rogue marketers do not accurately reveal the name of the company they are calling from, deterring many consumers from making a complaint.

Head of the TPS John Mitchison said: “The TPS is free to sign up to and enables consumers to opt out of receiving unwanted sales and marketing calls on their mobile and landline phones.

“It is a legal requirement for companies to screen calls against the TPS register and they are not allowed to call those people listed, unless they have given their prior consent.

“We will help the Information Commissioner’s Office build prosecutions against all companies that fail to follow this simple legal requirement.”

Earlier this year, new regulations were introduced which aimed at helping watchdogs clamp down on companies that cause distress through unwanted calls and messages, after removing a clause that required authorities to prove a firm had caused “substantial damage or substantial distress” before launching action.

Which? has worked with the TPS to launch a new free text service (text OPTOUT to 80057) which allows people to register their mobile phone numbers.

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