/ Technology

We’re calling time on nuisance calls and texts

Phone being hit by hammer

‘I hate it and feel powerless.’ Which? Conversation commenter Matt Petre summed up many of your feelings on nuisance calls. We’re calling on regulators to work together to police and punish those responsible.

It’s clear that nuisance calls and texts have become a daily problem for many of you. They not only cause frustration, but they can even be distressing and intimidating.

There have been 1,600 comments made about nuisance calls and texts here on Which? Conversation and many of them have had the same theme – ‘why isn’t something being done?’. Our research also found that in the last three months, seven in 10 people have received unsolicited calls and four in 10 an unwanted text.

The government, various regulators and business leaders have told us that they get that this is a problem. The Information Commissioner has recently fined some companies. But I really think we’ve waited long enough for a proper crackdown that cuts the problem off at source. Which? wants to see some action and I know many of you agree.

A joint taskforce to stop nuisance calls

So we’ve launched a campaign to call time on nuisance calls and texts. We have called on the four regulators who have the responsibility of helping protect you from unwanted calls and texts (the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Ministry of Justice, Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading) to set up a joint taskforce to take action on this nuisance.

We want this taskforce to start by focusing on the Personal Injury and Payment Protection Insurance industries, which is one of the main problem areas you have told us about. Our latest investigation has revealed that after making a claim to their car insurance companies, one in four Which? members were bombarded with calls or texts from claims management companies. So it’s definitely a good place to start.

We think it’s time for the regulators to go into the offices of the companies that are making these calls, or benefiting from them. We want this taskforce to get to the bottom of why so many of you are getting calls and texts you don’t want. We want to know if rules are being broken and if they are, there must be quick and effective punishment. If the taskforce finds evidence of rule breaking, we want heavy fines and licences suspended.

And one other thing. We want to see results in 12 weeks time. If the regulators are unwilling or unable to take this action then Which? will call on the government to step in.

Cutting off nuisance phone calls and texts

Cutting down on nuisance calls and texts may be complicated and there may need to be changes to the regulatory system or even new laws. But Which? has listened to you and we know that many of you want to see action – now. So our message to them is, ‘do what you can and do it now’, and then tell us what needs to change.

We will let you know more about our campaign over the next few weeks, but in the meantime, we want to hear about your experiences. Are you fed up with nuisance calls and texts? Then tell us.

Are you fed up with nuisance calls and texts?

Yes (100%, 30,130 Votes)

No (0%, 91 Votes)

Total Voters: 30,221

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Douglas says:
23 March 2013

My wife needs to sleep for at least three hours every afternoon. She is repeatedly woken up by nuisance calls eg PPI, accident and injury claims, cavity wall insulation, cures for computer viruses ,tax refunds, cruising and other prizes….as a sample. I have to pay a mobile phone surcharge when these con merchants ring me on my mobile abroad. We detest these nuisance calls. Telephone preference does not have any real effect.

These call makers are a public nuisance and should be prosecuted or fined millions of pounds, nothing less

F.Wright says:
24 March 2013

I agree whole heartedly.

A W Freshwater says:
23 March 2013

we average five to six ‘silent’ or unsolicited calls per day.
I have registered with the telephone preference service but this does not appear to have any effect.

I think the only way to stop this is to introduce massive (at least one million pounds) fines.

Inez Eldridge says:
24 March 2013

I receive at least one a day of these nuisance calls. I am 86 and have sometimes had to come in from the garden to the phone in case it is important, from my family etc. Usually it is a foreign voice, often Chinese. I cannot understand why nothing can be done to stop this and would welcome decisive action.

Graeme Vanner says:
25 March 2013

Some years ago I bought a Callblocker. Thia is a piece of hardware about the size of a matchbox that goes in the phone cable. It reads a message saying that I will not accept advertising calls, and if the call is personal to dial 5. Computer generated calls are always blocked. I don’t know if they are still available. I hope so, it saved my sanity.

John Littler says:
23 March 2013

I am totally fed up that nothing is done. It could be stopped but no-one in government cares. FINE THEM HEAVILY!

K Morrell says:
23 March 2013

PPI calls have stopped but silent computer generated calls now becoming more frequent. Also automated calls claiming I am owed money from a bank error, vehicle compensation and ‘government scheme’ for solar power. All the latter use English accented male or female voices. Beginning to get calls which are started after a fraction of delay (obviously random generated) for various excuses by Asian sounding males, occasionally female, often so thickly accented they cannot be properly understood. None so far mentioned have 1471 revealed numbers. Also getting RBS automated ‘surveys’ which I have taken issue with, with the bank. Shame I can’t fire a virus down the line to kill their programmes. TPS and other avenues seem useless.

Clive Leach says:
23 March 2013

The Telephone Preference Service takes about six weeks to “kick in”. However, it is powerless to stop overseas call centres making these nuisance calls and sending texts. The real problem (in my opinion) is how the data is shared. So, for example, if you make a claim after a car accident, is it a coincidence that you receive calls touting for your business? I think not. There needs to be much tighter controls on how data is shared

Trevor R Bailey says:
24 March 2013

I am a nurse in a busy Nursing Home..Most Days we receive unsolicited recored messages from companies regarding PPI.This can be reallyannoying when you have to drop what you are doing to answer the phone ,only to find that it is a stupid “important message concerning your PPI”.On one occasion I had a personal call at work about PPI (something that I have never taken out) and the caller was very insistant that I must have had PPI and not known it..I had to hang up on the caller,which is something that we do on all recorded messages that we receive.It’s stiill annoying though having to stop what you are doing to be greated by a few seconds silence followed by a recorded message.

Rick says:
24 March 2013

It’s become the norm to receieve PPI calls, which is outrageous. They generally seem to be from UK numbers which makes it more difficult to understand why it is taking so long to deal with the matter.

I am sick and tired of these continual interruptions during not only the day but in the evenings also. I even had a call from someone at Anglian Windows so some companies don’t even bother to hide their identity. He then told me that they are aware of the TPS of which I am a member but then clearly simply ignore it.

It is time these companies were fined – heavily.

Brian Morgan says:
24 March 2013

We were continually being plagued by calls from companies using phone lines listed as both international and unavailable. Whilst, if you have the caller display facility, you are aware and can choose to ignore them, it is still amazing how persistent these people are and they just wear you down and almost force you to answer so that you can put a stop to it. These people were just ignoring the TPS but since companies are now being fined for ignoring the TPS rules, the number of calls has declined. We have now purchased a new BT phone that allows us to stop the phone ringing for nuisance numbers on a block or individual basis and although we can see that a call has been received, it has definitely removed the big aggravation factor of having to continually get to the phone to check who is on the line.

Alan Stokes says:
24 March 2013

Companies just ignore the Telephone Preference Service. It appears to be a waste of time to register.

Davee says:
24 March 2013

We receive at least one/two calls a day from nuisance callers mostly about computer viruses or PPI claim. The main caller is from an Indian number 002538020308. It appears that none of the phone companies blocking systems are affective where international callers are involved good luck with the initiative WHICH.

Ray Jones says:
24 March 2013

I am a 73 old chap who is sick & tired of calls & txts from PPI claim companies saying that they
have money ( one text said they had £3,740 waiting to pass on to me ) I rang them back to ask
how they arrived at the figure, the responce was that they was sure they were correct, i said that
it was not possible, as prior to retirement i held a very senior position in a Finance Company, and had never entered into a PPI agreement, & that i was going to report them to the I C O the mouthfull of abuse & swear words i got was amazing the young fellow said i was an idiot he had been in the business for 3 years & knew much more than me with 50 years in the business it appears i dont have a clue of what i am talking about. What i do know is that no-one owes me a refund of PPI premiums

Peter J says:
24 March 2013

It seems that the nuisance calls directed at us have suddenly moved overseas. I get almost none originating in the UK, but I have had to stop answering calls that show up as originating internationally. This means that I ave had to explain to our relatives and friends overseas why I will not answer their call. This is not how it should be and very frustrating.

Dean says:
24 March 2013

Call bangers in India me thinks!

I have caller display so don’t usually pick up if I don’t recognise the number but it’s still a nuisance having to stop what I’m doing.Here are some of the offending numbers:
0000000 (intriguing!)

John Holmes-Walker says:
24 March 2013

My biggest nuisance is calls coming from abroad where they claim to be calling from Microsoft telling me my computer is having problems which they can correct if I follow their instructions. I get two or three calls a week. The callers number is always withheld.
I also regularly receive silent calls and prerecorded calls telling me they can recover my PPI loses.

Judy L says:
24 March 2013

This is more than a cold call, it’s a very nasty scam which has resulted in people losing a lot of money.

Yvonne says:
24 March 2013

Message to Douglas
If your wife needs to sleep, switch off the mobile and unplug the house phone. Friends and relatives can be told you will be doing this
we really dont need to be contactable 24/7

Judy L says:
24 March 2013

I’m a freelancer working from home. I’m so fed up of these calls. One morning I was interrupted by four calls – all cold callers. The fifth time the phone rang I grabbed the receiver and yelled “What?” Lucky I didn’t shout what I really wanted to … it turned out to be someone offering me work. Very embarrassing.

cuddly duddly says:
24 March 2013

These calls have been going on now for a number of years. I have reported it to T.P.S. and even changed my phone number but they still call on a regular baises, last monday I had eight calls
in one day. Some time ago I played along with one caller about P.P.I I was informed that I was
entiteled to £5000-00 from aloan that I had made, I was told to say the dates and the amounts
that he gave me.I recievd alarge envalope with loads of forms. has there was an english phone
number I contacted them. I was told that the person who contacted me was on a high comission
but that if I was to proceed with the claim I could be done for fraud. Most or all of these calls come
from India

kate says:
24 March 2013

The worst call I have had was when a company rang . I said I didn’t want to speak to him.
“How do you know what I am ringing for if you won’t speak to me?”
Me;”I shouldn’t be getting this call, I subscribe to Telephone Services”
Him “Are you sure?”
Me “Of course I am sure”
Him “It doesn’t show that in mys system. Please don’t lie to me Mrs. x”.

The reason I engaged in any dialogue was because this same company had been phoning frequently and asking for someone with a similar name.
Needless to sat, I was quite speechless!!!
Let’s get rid of the menace. Subscribing to TSP doesn’t seem to work at all.

ian says:
24 March 2013

i recieve around 3 calls a day, strangely around 10am, 2, 6 and sometimes 9pm.! i seemed to have managed to cut them down now to just one a day or less……..how………..when you answer tell them you are recording the call and have taken there name and you,re going to report them, they soon hang up.!!….works for me….at the moment.