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Report urges government to take on nuisance calls

Regulators should use their powers more

Woman receiving nuisance call

MPs have called on regulators to make more use of their powers to punish telemarketers who abuse phone networks and customers’ personal data.

A report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee published today proposes a single point of contact for customers wishing to report nuisance calls, coupled with more behind the scenes co-operation between the regulators, mainly Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The committee wants the ICO to use existing powers to tackle misuse of personal data, including obtaining customer consent to receive unsolicited marketing calls. The report also says that nuisance callers should not be allowed to withhold their numbers or hide behind fake ones.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: ‘We’re pleased that MPs are joining our call to cut off nuisance calls which plague the lives of millions of people. We’ve been pushing for regulators to get more powers and to work together better so they can really crack down on firms who break the rules.’

If you’re receiving nuisance calls, read our guide on how to deal with nuisance calls and text messages.

Which? Calling Time campaign

Which? has launched a Calling Time on Nuisance Calls Campaign to put a stop to nuisance calls and texts.

We want to see an expiry date when a person consents to being contacted by selected third parties, and an extension of the rules to include firms selling on personal data, not just those that conduct direct marketing.

More than 100,000 of you have pledged your support for the campaign.

Our research found that more than eight in 10 people (83%) reported receiving an unsolicited call on their home landline in the past month.

More than half of people (56%) say they have been discouraged from picking up their landline phone when it rings owing to cold calls.

Tackling nuisance calls

Among the committee’s suggestions is a service where people who receive nuisance text messages can report them immediately by forwarding them to a dedicated ‘short code’ number, 7726.

The committee also recommends a single online form and single help line for people to report nuisance calls.

Richard Lloyd added: ‘We urge the Government to act on these recommendations and look forward to seeing its forthcoming action plan for tackling nuisance calls and texts.’

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