Which? has today been asked by the government to set up a task force to help tackle the everyday menace of unwanted calls and texts, and review how consumers give consent to being contacted by marketing firms.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd will chair the new task force which is part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) Action Plan on nuisance calls.
The task force will also include regulators and consumer and industry experts.
The Which? campaign, Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts, which was launched a year ago, found that people are often unaware that they have given permission to be contacted by a company for marketing purposes.
Richard Lloyd said: ‘This Action Plan is a victory for the 110,000 people who backed our campaign to call time on the menace of nuisance calls and texts.
‘Millions of consumers are bombarded by these calls, often because they weren’t aware that their personal information might be used in third party marketing, so I’m delighted to be chairing a task force of experts to review how consumers give and withdraw their consent to be contacted.’
Nuisance Calls Action Plan
There continues to be a substantial number of complaints about nuisance calls made, with 120,310 made to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) between April and November 2013.
Which? launched its Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign, after finding eight in 10 people had received a nuisance call on their landline in the previous month.
Eight in 10 people found these calls an annoying interruption, while one third felt intimidated by them.
New measures proposed by the Action Plan include lowering the threshold so the ICO can act against calls that cause nuisance and annoyance, rather than the current position of calls that cause substantial distress.
There will also be new regulations that will allow Ofcom and the ICO to share information on rogue companies.
Task force to tackle consent issues
The task force will look to strike a balance between stopping unsolicited calls and supporting legitimate marketing companies that abide by the rules.
It will also look to tackle the issue on how consumers give and withdraw marketing consent and whether there should be expiry dates on consent.
Richard Lloyd added: ‘We now look forward to regulators using their new powers to help stop this growing problem. It’s also important that people continue to report complaints so regulators can crack down on companies who break the rules.’
See our guide on how to stop nuisance calls if you’re plagued with unwanted calls.