Three quarters of Scots are discouraged from picking up their phone due to the scourge of nuisance calls.
Our latest survey found a shocking nine in ten people in Scotland have had nuisance calls to their landline in the last month.
We’ve been asking the UK Government to do more to tackle this problem, but given this is such an acute issue in Scotland too, we think the Scottish Government should also play its part.
‘With the vast majority of Scots getting nuisance calls, it is clear efforts must be re-doubled to tackle this modern menace. People are fed up with being bombarded with unwanted calls and texts that waste their time and invade their privacy.
‘The Scottish Government should lead the way by setting out how it plans to fight back against nuisance callers. Scottish businesses should make senior executives responsible if their firm makes unlawful calls.’
We’re calling on the Scottish Government to publish an action plan on how it will cut off nuisance calls. This plan should include:
- Cracking down on businesses breaking the rules and holding senior executives to account.
- Helping vulnerable people to cut the number of nuisance calls they receive.
- Ensuring that new Scottish Government policy doesn’t lead to more nuisance calls.
If you’d like to add your support to our calls on the Scottish Government, please sign our petition.
As part of its ongoing crackdown on nuisance calls, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has announced today that it will be contacting over 1,000 companies involved in the compiling and trading of personal data to investigate their practices and ensure they are acting lawfully.
The regulator will be writing out to businesses this week requesting information on the data these firms hold and share; how this data is collected; and the details of companies that they have worked with in the past six months. The regulator will also be issuing three fines to businesses this week.
Commenting on today’s announcement, our executive director Richard Lloyd said:
‘Millions of people are still being plagued with nuisance calls, so it's good the ICO is continuing to crack down on firms that are flouting the rules.
‘We now need to see much tougher penalties for senior executives of companies making unlawful calls, including board directors being held personally accountable.’
SSE has put its full backing behind our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign.
It became the first energy company to end cold calling in 2013 and now it is encouraging other companies to do the same.
'We’re proud to make a difference, ensuring that contact with customers is on their terms and that any great deals we offer are relevant to what our customers want.
'So, in line with the ‘Which?’ campaign, we use Caller Line Identification (CLI) for all marketing calls; we let other companies in our data chain know whether you’ve opted out of all marketing calls or texts; and we make sure we contact with you within six months from the time you gave consent when your initial consent was given via a third party.
'We also make it easy for you to withdraw your consent; we screen all telephone numbers against the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), except where customers have specifically requested a call from us; and we carry out an review of the effectiveness of these policies every year.'
Our campaign calls for senior executives to be held responsible for nuisance calls from their company. On that point, SSE has named their sales director, Gary Pickering, as being responsible for their policy on cold calling. SSE adds:
If you’ve received a cold call from us, or anyone else, you can report it to the relevant industry bodies by using the simple complaints tool on the Which? website.'
The House of Commons discussed the issue of nuisance calls thanks to a debate secured by Patricia Gibson MP.
Ms Gibson met with us in Glasgow station this summer, where she backed our Calling Time campaign, including our calls for the Government to make directors of nuisance calling companies accountable.
In the House of Commons, Patricia Gibson said:
'It is time that the responsibility was no longer placed so heavily on the victims of nuisance calls, and businesses who engage in this practice should be held more accountable for the genuine distress and anxiety they cause to consumers.'
Supporting the recommendations set out by the Nuisance Calls taskforce, she urged the Government to lead a cross-sector business awareness campaign to ensure that companies know their responsibilities when it comes to marketing calls and texts. She also asked the Government to consider how future legislation could tackle nuisance marketing.
Our latest research has revealed that mobile phone users are still getting a huge number of nuisance calls.
In the space of a month, one in ten mobile users in our survey said they’d had more than 20 unwanted calls. Seven in ten said they’d had at least one nuisance calls to their mobile, compared to just over half in 2013.
And yet, of the 78.9m active mobile phone subscriptions in the UK just 3% are registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
Our 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.’
While two thirds are aware of the TPS, we found only around a third of people said they think the TPS can be used to block unsolicited calls to mobiles. That compares to almost all who thought it can be used with landlines.
Although the TPS will help curb unsolicted calls to your mobile, further action is needed, which is why we need your support for our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign.
Richard Lloyd added:
‘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.’
A green energy company has been fined a record £200,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
The ICO said its investigation found that Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd (Helms) made more than six million calls as part of an automated call marketing campaign offering ‘free’ solar panels.
Our executive director Richard Lloyd said:
‘A bumper £200,000 fine by the ICO should make nuisance callers sit up and take notice. We now also need to see senior executives held personally accountable if their organisation makes unlawful calls.'
The fine comes after a number of similar fines by the ICO against nuisance calling companies.
The ICO received 242 complaints about Helms between October and December 2014. One complainant said they'd been waiting for news of a terminally ill family member and couldn't ignore the phone, and felt powerless against the automated calls.
The ICO's head of enforcement, Steve Eckersley, said:
‘This company's ignorance of the law is beyond belief. It didn't even bother to find out what the rules were and its badly thought-out marketing campaign made people's lives a misery.
‘The monetary penalty is for a significant amount because of the clear failings of the company, and the number of people affected by its deliberate and unlawful campaign.’
If you want to see the back of nuisance calls, sign our petition.
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