Scottish cities '˜worst in the UK' for nuisance phone calls

Consumer watchdogs have called for the Scottish Government to take action after research suggested cities north of the border suffer more nuisance phone calls than elsewhere in the UK.

Consumer group Which? has called for the Scottish Government to address the problem of nuisance calls. Picture: PA
Consumer group Which? has called for the Scottish Government to address the problem of nuisance calls. Picture: PA

Glasgow ranked top out of 18 cities across the UK for cold-calling, with Edinburgh second and Aberdeen fourth.

Consumer body Which? and call blocking provider trueCall analysed more nine million phone calls made to their customers between January 2013 and September 2016.

They found more than half (51.5%) of calls in Glasgow were classified as a nuisance, as were 47.8% in Edinburgh and 45.6% in Aberdeen.

Scottish customers received an average of 42 nuisance calls a month between April and September this year, up from 35 per month in the previous six months.

Calls to vulnerable users in Scotland increased even further, up an average of 11 a month from 41 to 52, with 41% receiving over 60 nuisance calls a month.

Which? is calling on the Scottish Government’s nuisance calls commission to tackle the problem.

Scottish Labour MSP James Kelly said: “Nuisance calls are a daily frustration for thousands of Scots and this research clearly shows the extent of the problem.

“SNP ministers must set out exactly what they are going to do to stop this national scandal.”

The commission is due to hold its first meeting on Wednesday, the day the Chancellor is expected to announce a ban on pensions cold calls in the Autumn Statement.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home & legal, said: “Nuisance calls continue to be an everyday menace for everyone in the UK and the fact that three Scottish cities are among the worst-affected in the UK shows the scale of the problem for Scots.

“The Scottish Government must use this opportunity to set out clearly how they plan to address the issue.

“Positive steps are needed so that people in Scotland are no longer plagued by these unwanted nuisance calls and texts.”

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “The latest data from trueCall further highlights that citizens in Scotland are plagued by nuisance calls to an unacceptable degree.

“These calls are a serious problem that can cause both emotional and financial harm, particularly to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

“That’s why I established the nuisance calls commission and will chair the first meeting next week.

“Although devolution arrangements mean the Scottish Government has limited powers to take direct action in this area, by working closely with partners from industry, regulators and consumer groups, we will develop a joint plan setting out practical solutions to the problem.”