Monday, 15 April 2013

Nuisance Calls Advice Line receives over 50,000 calls every month

Nuisance calls have become a common annoyance in modern life. Every constituent I raise this issue with has had experienced of repetitive cold calling to their landline, to their mobile phone, the most recent epidemic of harrassment companies trying to recover PPI money or urge people to make compensation claims for personal injury.

News reports state that the BT’s Nuisance Calls Advice Line receives over 50,000 calls every month. It is unacceptable. People should not have suffer a plague of unwanted calls and texts.

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is operated on behalf of the Communications Regulator Ofcom. Companies are banned from making nuisance calls to people who have signed up their number to the TPS, and it has had some success in reducing nuisance calls – however this appears to have been undone in recent years because of the ability of these companies to get around the rules. The problem is that the TPS can only deal with cold calls from the UK.  Many now come from abroad. Moreover recorded messages and live calls are treated differently.

The question remains: how can these calls and any future technological telephany be prevented? These nuisance companies can be fined over £250,000 if they are proven to have broken the law. However this is either not happening often enough, or it is not a sufficient a deterrent to stop direct marketing companies from persisting. In some cases the law is not being broken, in which case it needs to be changed.

Many people have cited the fact that the responsibility for this area of regulation is split between the ICO and Ofcom and the divison is leading to nuisance calling is increasing, not decreasing.

I would like to see something directly done to tackle this, and I will be writing to the Government about this.