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Cold calling firms forced to display phone numbers

Victory for consumers makes it easier to report unwanted calls

Called ID

Today ministers have announced plans to put an end to anonymous phone calls from British companies in the UK or based overseas.

Telemarketers will be forced to display a valid phone number when they make phone calls – or face heavy fines in a new crackdown on nuisance calls.

The welcome change to the law means it will be a legal requirement for direct marketing callers to show a valid caller identity that shows up on phone displays when they call.

The changes make it easier for people to report any company that makes unwanted calls.

There have already been more than 73,000 nuisance calls reported to the regulators using the Which? nuisance calls reporting tool.

Calling time on nuisance calls

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘It’s a victory for consumers that firms are finally going to be forced to display their numbers when making marketing calls.

‘This is another positive step in our campaign against nuisance calls as it should make it easier for people to report unwanted calls. Responsible businesses should have nothing to fear from telling people who is calling.’

He went on to say that more needs to be done, calling for ‘the government, regulators and businesses to continue to work together to cut off nuisance calls and make senior executives accountable if their company makes unlawful calls.’

According to official figures, one in five direct marketing calls is from an anonymous or false number. 

The Information Commissioner’s Office, which regulates marketing calls, typically receives more than 14,000 complaints about nuisance calls every month.

Campaigning for mandatory caller ID

Which? first called for mandatory caller ID in 2013 at the launch of our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign. In March 2014, the government said it preferred a voluntary approach. 

But only one of the six leading trade associations responded positively to voluntary adhering to the Direct Marketing Association code of practice on Caller Line Identification (CLI).

By the end of 2014 the government promised to make it a legal requirement for companies to use CLI. That promise is now being upheld.

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