Nuisance calls are a problem for more than 80% of people, according to new research by regulator Ofcom.
On average, people received eight nuisance calls per month, but 8% of those who took part in the research reported receiving more than 20 calls per month, the research found.
Sales calls were the most prevalent with 64% of people receiving a live sales call and 38% a recorded sales message.
Half of identifiable recorded sales calls were related to Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) while four in 10 abandoned calls were also to do with PPI.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd said: ‘Ofcom’s shocking findings reflect our own research and show just how many of us are being bombarded by the menace of unwanted calls and texts.
‘We want all the regulators to work together in a concentrated effort to properly police firms that are part of the problem and to take tough enforcement action, which is why we’ve called for a joint task force.’
Ofcom’s results are published on the same day as the OFT writes to 60 leading businesses to ensure they are transparent with consumers over how they collect and use their data.
The OFT’s Personalised Pricing Report found many consumers were uneasy with the range of personal information collected about them and the selling of this information to third parties.
Which? nuisance calls campaign
Which? launched a new campaign in March 2013, Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts, calling on regulators to set up a task force to clamp down on unwanted calls and texts.
The task force should include the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
Which? wants the joint task force to proactively enforce existing law by policing the industry, punishing the rule breakers and publishing its recommendations .
The task force should start by looking at the Personal Injury and PPI industries which consumers are most likely to receive calls from.
Police, punish, publish nuisance callers
To cut off nuisance calls and texts, Which? wants the joint task force to do the following:
- Police – proactively and forensically scrutinise the activities of the Personal Injury and PPI industries over the next 12 weeks to expose the source of the problem;
- Punish – if it finds evidence of rule breaking regulators must take strong enforcement action including substantial fines and suspension of licences;
- Publish – make public its recommendations for any new powers regulators require to cut off nuisance calls, and to share all appropriate information from its investigations.
Which? also wants to see a Communications (Reducing Unwanted Telephone Calls and Texts) Bill introduced in the current round of Private Member’s Bills to reform the law on how consent for personal data is used, and give regulators more powers to enforce the law.
We want the Bill to:
- Establish a clear expiry date on personal consent
- Require direct marketing companies to actively demonstrate a person’s consent has been obtained
- Enable easier information sharing between regulator e.g. designating the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as a body that Ofcom may share information with
- Ensure that companies that sell on personal data (‘lead generators’) are covered by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, to bring them in line with all direct marketing companies which are required to abide by these regulations.
• Your rights on where you stand if you’re receiving unwanted calls or texts
• Join the nuisance calls discussion on Which? Conversation
• Follow the Which? Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts campaign