Unwanted marketing calls and texts are on the increase according to figures from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), which show a 43% rise in complaints since last year.
In its latest annual report released today, the ICO revealed it has received 7,095 complaints from the public about unsolicited electronic marketing communications. The same complaints figure last year was less than 5,000.
ICO powers on unwanted calls and texts
In May 2011 the ICO was given the powers to fine organisations in serious breach of the rules around unsolicited texts and phone calls up to £500,000. The change to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PERC), which covers electronic marketing, was aimed at tackling the growing problem.
The ICO has also introduced an online reporting tool on its website that allows people to report marketing texts or calls where they don’t want to make a formal complaint. This has received over 12,000 reports so far and the Information Commissioner says, ‘We are confident that this work will help us identify those responsible’.
Since March, when the data referred to above was collected, another 3,000 customers have reported unsolicited calls. The ICO’s annual report comments: ‘These calls have mainly been from people who have registered with the telephone preference service (TPS) and should not be receiving such calls’.
Which? joins other to call for action
Which? has joined with groups such as Citizens Advice and Consumer Focus to ask the ICO, telecoms regulator Ofcom and the Direct Marketing Association (the body that runs the TPS), to take action to stop unwanted sales calls and texts.
The Information Commissioner told Which? that it is working ‘to produce one source of information which outlines the responsibilities of all the relevant parties’. We’ll be continuing to work with all bodies to ensure that efforts to tackle the problem are stepped up.