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Campaigns | Nuisance calls and texts

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Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts

Update

One year on since the Nuisance Calls Task Force report

8th December

One year on since the first report by the Nuisance Calls and Texts Task Force, we've found some good progress but there’s still more to do.

The Nuisance Calls and Texts Task Force, set up in response to our Calling Time campaign, last year set out 15 recommendations. These recommendations called for action from businesses, regulators and the Government. 12 months later we've found some good progress, but there still needs to be further action.

Our executive director Richard Lloyd said:

‘Despite some good progress, we're still seeing high levels of unwanted calls and texts so more needs to be done to put an end to this everyday menace once and for all.’

What we found

Actions by businesses and industry bodies

- There has been some progress from big businesses. For example, SSE has made one of its directors accountable for nuisance calls and telecoms providers are working with Ofcom to identify nuisance call activities. The Charity Commission, the Institute of Fundraising and the Fundraising Standards Board are working with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

- However, the majority of companies have not announced or committed to making nuisance calls a board level issue.

Actions for regulators

- The Competition and Markets Authority published a report on the commercial use of consumer data and has committed to play a role in any future regulation on this issue. The ICO is revising its guidance and has mystery shopped firms making unsolicited marketing calls and texts. It will also be holding workshops and consultations in the New Year looking at the wording of marketing consent.

- Ofcom is developing a process to register mobile numbers with the Telephone Preference Service by text and has opened a consultation to review its policy on persistent misuse of data under the Communications Act.

Actions for the Government

- The Government has made it easier for the ICO to fine companies who are found to be making cold calls, and we've seen a number of hefty fines over the past year.

- However, there's been no progress on giving the ICO more powers to hold board level executives to account if they're found flouting the rules. We are also still waiting on the Government to consult on legislation to introduce Caller Line Identification for marketing calls, making it simpler for people to see who is calling them.

- As yet, an awareness campaign aimed at businesses has not been launched and the Government also need to assess new policies, to ensure they do not lead to nuisance calls.

Richard Lloyd added:

‘The Government, regulators and business need to continue to work together to tackle this problem, with further action to cut nuisance calls off at source and make senior executives accountable if their company is caught flouting the rules.’

Sign our petition to help us convince the Government, regulators and businesses to step up action against nuisance calls.

News

Massive £850,000 fine slapped on nuisance calling company

A company that bombarded people with nearly six million nuisance calls has been fined £850,000.

The National Advice Clinic was hit with this record fine by the Claims Management Regulator (CMR) for making millions of calls about noise induced hearing loss.

Kevin Rousell, the head of CMR, said:

‘This company’s cold-calling campaign was deliberate and sustained, and a flagrant breach of our marketing requirements. They showed an alarming disregard for the misery their tactics can cause, particularly to elderly and vulnerable people.

‘The size of this penalty demonstrates how seriously we take this issue - nuisance calls will not be tolerated.’

Ignoring the TPS register

The National Advice Clinic, also known as the Industrial Hearing Clinic or the Central Compensation Office, made the calls between October 2014 and April 2015.

And many of these were made to people who were registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which resulted in almost 2,000 complaints being made to Ofcom about the company.

If you want to see more nuisance calling companies fined, report the nuisance calls and texts you get by using our free reporting tool.

Senior executives held to account

Our executive director Richard Lloyd said:

‘Millions of people are still being plagued with nuisance calls, so it’s good to see bigger fines for firms 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.’

If you agree with Richard and the more than 300,000 people who support our campaign, please sign our petition to call time on nuisance calls.

Update

Regulator to act on nuisance call firms

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.’

Success

SSE backs our Calling Time campaign

SSE has put its full backing behind our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign.

26th October 26 Oct
Event

Nuisance calls debated in Parliament

Update

Green energy company fined £200,000 for nuisance calling

A green energy company has been fined a record £200,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

More than six million nuisance calls

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.

Making people's lives a misery

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.

Sky: New rules to stop spam texters and cold calls

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