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Ofcom to tackle nuisance phone calls

Rebecca Rutt
by Lovemoney Staff Rebecca Rutt on 08 January 2013  |  Comments 7 comments

Ofcom is stepping up how it deals with nuisance callers, with a new action plan.

Ofcom to tackle nuisance phone calls

Ofcom has launched a new five-point action plan to reduce the numbers of nuisance phone calls made in the UK.

It has previously fined companies for making excessive numbers of calls, with the maximum fine set at £2 million.

But new research shows there has been a big increase in nuisance calls. In a six-month period in 2012, 47% of UK adults experienced a ‘silent call’ whereby a phone call is made by an automated dialling system. This is a 24% rise on the previous year.

During the same six months, 71% of landline customers received a live marketing call and 63% were called with a recorded marketing message.

Although these calls are legal, companies are only allowed to make a certain number per year.

Action plan to tackle nuisance calls

To try to counter this, new research is being carried out by the regulator to determine exactly how many different types of nuisance calls are being made each year. Select members of the public have been asked to record the type of calls they receive to try and determine which companies are the worst culprits.

Ofcom is also planning to step up the ways it can trace the companies making these calls – especially when phone numbers or company names are withheld.

Companies making these calls will also be warned about how many they’re allowed to make before facing a penalty as stated in the Communications Act 2003.

“Nuisance calls can cause annoyance, inconvenience and anxiety to consumers. This is a complex and challenging area, but Ofcom is determined to work with industry and other regulators to help protect consumers. Our new research will help to understand the root cause of the problem,” explains Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director.

How to tackle cold callers

Registering with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is one of the best ways to stop cold callers. This is a central register for all companies who cold call customers and in theory no one on the list should be contacted in this way.

You also need to make sure you don't unwittingly allow companies to contact you via the small print or opt out box. Our article lists the best ways to stop unwanted phone calls.

How many nuisance calls do you receive? Let me know in the box below.

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Comments (7)

  • mag52354
    Love rating 2
    mag52354 said

    Depends what you call "nuisance" call.

    Obviously PPI companies are HUGE offenders as are green energy system sales people .

    Before Christmas I would say I averaged 3 a day though that has improved in the past couple of weeks...all earning enough to take a fortnights holiday???

    But personally I find charities the worst.

    I am no longer a wage earner and since the government deem me ineligible to draw my pension for a further 7 years (previously 1 year) I am now required to live on "thin air".

    I wish there was a site where I could register this fact so that I did not receive the never ending calls from charities who seem to find me despite my never having heard of THEM.

    I always feel bad by the time they hang up as despite telling them I cannot pay them anything they invariably go on about "JUST £4 a month" and continue haggling on a sliding scale before giving up on me.

    Going ex directory has not helped and I've been registered with telephone preference for many years.

    Report on 08 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • r
    Love rating 98
    r said

    I have been registered with the TPS for many years and my unwanted incoming call rate has dropped to about 4-5 a day. They don't get answered but the same group of numbers are always calling. You can sometimes find out who it is by putting the full number into a search engine or by using "saynoto0870" . Probably a third of them are international, for which the TPS says it is powerless.

    r.

    Report on 08 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Mikruiser
    Love rating 1
    Mikruiser said

    I've been with TPS for about 10 years, and the number of unwanted calls has increased over the last year, both on my land line and my mobile. The increase of "international" or "out of area" calls is especially annoying, but as most of them are scams trying to get you to give bank details, I'm happy to ignore them.

    One recent change I've noticed, is to get what looks like a UK number displayed on my home phone, and after the conversation, using last number redial only to find that the number is not recognized.

    Report on 08 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • nosbort
    Love rating 160
    nosbort said

    @Mikruiser - with the prevalence of VoIP it is now possible to send any caller ID along with a call so just because it looks like a UK landline number no longer means it is. It is, of course, illegal to send a caller ID to which you have no rights but as these are scam and nuisance calls from abroad there is nothing that anyone in the UK can do about it.

    Report on 08 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • yocoxy
    Love rating 152
    yocoxy said

    Why not try a bit of heavy breathing? I assume you can't be prosecuted for making an obscene call if you didn't make the call and I don't suppose they'll be complaining if they called you illegally.

    I feel sorry for the employees that need to work in this industry but I have great fun winding them up. If I don't have time I simply hang up halfway through their first sentence or say "No thanks" and then set the receiver on the desk so that they talk to themselves for a few minutes before giving up.

    This game actually adds a bit of light relief to my working day :-) I'm even considering removing myself from TPS to keep them coming. Anyone know how to do that?

    Report on 09 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • planetzog
    Love rating 1
    planetzog said

    I'm afraid my experience is that TPS is not 'one of the best ways to stop cold callers.' It's ignored by the majority of cold callers, and as reported, it doesn't stop international cold callers. After six months of intensive cold callers, including international callers (including a Microsoft scam) at least 3 times a week who ignored my requests to stop, I invested in a Truecall unit. Instant peace. Highly recommended. (I am a happy Truecall customer and have no association with the company).

    Report on 09 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • JRAY100
    Love rating 66
    JRAY100 said

    I agree, Truecall is the answer... am waiting to spot one in the charity shop!

    Report on 12 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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