/ 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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retiredbusinessmanager says:
2 April 2013

I am registed with the TPS too. But I still get calls that ask me to answer surveys and
questionnaires (‘not trying to sell you anything’!) as a way of allowing other companies to contact me. The other day I had 5 calls – when I was waiting for an important call myself, so I rushed to answer. And there are callls obviously from abroad with number withheld, which I really would
like stopped. My aged father got very confused by calls like these. They are no more than a ploy to get elderly people to part with their money.

J Turnbull says:
2 April 2013

Like other contributors we are fed up with these intrusive calls, if it’s not PPI then it’s market research. I hate being rude to people but I decided a while ago to just put the phone down.

James Croft says:
2 April 2013

You only need to look on http://whocallsme.com/ to identify the size of the problem.

The ones I really object to are the ones with a recorded message – why does anyone out there believe I would be interested in a product or service that they do not deem worthy of talking to me in person about ?

Kate says:
2 April 2013

I was getting up to 10 calls a day on my landline. I now keep the answerphone on at all times No connection but over the last three weeks the calls have reduced to about one a day.

Martin says:
2 April 2013

PPI and Insurance claims – emails and texts for both a few each month

Jim Cunningham says:
2 April 2013

Our local church has an office which is manned on a Wednesday and a Friday morning for 2.5 hours. We have a telephone which is used for personal incoming calls about once a month and for outgoing calls about once a fortnight.
However every morning for over a year we get an incoming recorded call which starts off – “this is an urgent message about your PPI insurance”. At this point we disconnect the call, but would welcome some means of making the call last for an hour if it would cost the caller money – just leaving it off the hook for a while?

I am absolutely fed up with these unauthorised phone calls.
I have found that one of the best ways of stopping them is to ask the caller for his details and his company’s details then tell him that you are recording the phone call and will report him and his comp[any for making nuisance calls….surprisingly they hang up. I have found that after a short time these calls the stop.
I can’t guarantee that they will stay stopped but it seems to work.
I have also subscribed to the official website that is supposed to stop these calls, but they seem pretty useless now.

Peter Newns says:
2 April 2013

like many others, both my landline and mobile phones are registered with the TPS. However, this does not stop voice calls and texts to the mobile and voice calls the landline. All are annoying, but the worst are the ones that are silent or deliver a recorded message as soon as I answer the phone. My mobile provider is Vodafone and I have asked is anything can be done to stop the calls and text messages, which mainly offer me PPI refunds (I’ve never had a PPI)) or cash for my recent accident (which I haven’t had). Their answer is to register with the TPS (see first sentence!). Some Text messages show the calling number and I always report this to the Vodafone spam reporting number, but voice calls to the mobile always withhold the calling number so there is nothing to report. Calls come in every day to one of the phones and are very annoying, the sooner something can be done to outlaw this spam the better!

Greg Fenton says:
2 April 2013

Every time my phone goes and I see an unrecognised number I have to use whocallsme.com to find out who it is.

This is getting ridiculous, I have a call blocker on my mobile and seeing “11 calls blocked” is frankly annoying the hell out of me.

No I am not entitled to £3750.
No I did not have a PPI.
Yes you’re a bunch of pond scum living off the misfortune of others.

“Don’t call me again” does not work. They just change telephone numbers and start again.

Stephen Stocker says:
2 April 2013

I recently nearly had an argument with a caller questioning me, on how did I know that I hadn’t taken out PPI policy! She obviously got paid for the number of claim packages she sent out.

I normally point out that unless I’m going to be paid for providing marketing information, I’m not interested in answering their questions. That always ends the conversation.

Lastly, I get annoyed with missed calls showing up on my phone, because I don’t know if it is a genuine caller, or a nuisance phone call.

sdbv says:
2 April 2013

I have had many from a company called Home Survey, I have asked countless times to be taken off their list and the last time the person on the phone (definitely not a gentleman!) told be to f*****g shut up and that I would keep receiving calls from them at all times of the day and night. He was right, I did, but I registered with STP and they seem to have stopped, from that company anyway, still get others and I find it increasingly annoying and when you tell them that you want to speak to a supervisor they hang up. 2 in the morning is not fun, when you are on your own, but they don’t do it enough to warrant bringing in the authorities, even more annoying. Something needs to be done, especially when they are trying to give you bogus information so they can sell you something you don’t really need.

Leighton says:
2 April 2013

I like so many others are resigned to receiving nuisance calls to the point that I treat them as I treat anyone that tries to sell me religion at my door I just listen and hope that I am running up their phone bill and then tell them to call me back it takes a long while but eventually when you are too busy to talk to them about anything they think you need they do stop calling. In answer to other people that use TPS etc they are a waste of time I would like to know why our phone service suppliers and it doesnt matter who they are all the same cannot calls that withhold their number

David Harrison says:
2 April 2013

I have registered to have these calls stopped but still they keep coming! PPI, the accident you had and are able to get compensation….I’ve never had and accident! Sky maintenance, pensions the list is endless. Sometime 4 or 5 a day! Well done Which? for getting on the case this is now so out of hand.

Leighton says:
2 April 2013

Here Here

sue says:
2 April 2013

It’s a waste of time registering with the Call Preference Service, even reporting the calls dies nothing. They come thick and fast PPI and compensation, problems with computers, marketing calls & surveys. Usually they’re on regular days each week. I only use my mobile phone for emergencies because I hate the damned things, have given my number only to family and yet still I receive unsolicited texts.

How about the Asian call centres? All these calls from people who clearly are not named David or Michael or whoever else they claim to be. How about an 86 yr old family member who was told there was a problem with her computer. Which one she asked? Your laptop, the reply.

She doesn’t even own a computer of any sort or know how to use one.

It’s more than about time something was done. As soon as I hear an Asian voice asking to speak to me or recorded message these days I now just replace the receiver. I don’t personally have any Asian friends, I’ve nothing against people, it’s just that most of the calls originate from Asia.

Good luck with the campaign. You have my vote. These people never take no for an answer. When one person fails another tries again.

debi says:
2 April 2013

the very first day i connected my landline, before i had even given the number to anyone i knew i started receiving automated calls, i have been living in australia for 10 years previously, and probably had 3 nuisance calls in those ten years.. now its 3 a week (at least)

J R RYAN says:
2 April 2013

While the PPI calls are simply maddening, it is the calls rlating to accidents that I consider as being abusive, as the callers use daft fake names, and start by saying they are calling in response to information about an accident suffered by a member of the family recently.

Complete and utter crap, and when this is commented in reply to them, you receive threats of “POLICE ACTION” for being rude to these total liars.

The UK Phone companies and the Government clearly make money from these calls, or else they would have been stopped already.

If I make a call to someone and lie to them in the form that they do, I would be cautioned for trying to obtain money by deception.

How is this different?


Mike Williams says:
2 April 2013

My worst experiences is contacting “Which”. I am pinned downed by awful sales talk to make me join “Which”.You have to slam the phone down to get away from the relentess pressure, I think you have a lot to learn. Talk about calling the kettle black.

Since I realised that the majority use an auto-dialler and that this results in at least a two-minute pause between me answering the phone and them being able to respond, I hang up as soon as the silence goes over one minute.

The tactic seems to be successful, as they never ring straight back and neither have I ever had a genuine caller tell me later that I had hung up on them by mistake.

OK, I still get cold calls, but they don’t bother me any more now that I speak to hardly any of them and it wastes less than a couple of seconds of my time.

Charlie Bennett says:
2 April 2013

Got a call saying that
Them “We have information that you have taken out PPI insurance and you are eligible for a refund, can you tell me when you took this out?”
Me “Since you have information about when I took this out please could you tell me when I took it out?”
Them ” I’m asking you when you took out your PPi Insurance”
Me” I understand, and im saying that if you have information about when i took it out, you can tell me when it was and i’ll tell you if your right, then we can go from there”
….No response
Me ” Right, lets try again, start from the top of the script in front of you”
Them “We have information that you have taken out PPI insurance and you are eligible for a refund, can you tell me when you took this out?”
Me “No, I’ve never had PPI, dont call this number again”
Cold calling can be fun

Keith Graham says:
2 April 2013

I still get several calls a day despite being signed up with TPS. Just today I got a new recorded message about “reducing my huge debts” which do not exist. Also constantly getting calls from overseas telling me “that your computer has a problem” As a retired computer technician I can say “no it does not, and if it did I would fix it myself” I have considered suspending my landline connection. Something needs to be done and I welcome the Which campaign.
Keith Graham. Which member in Colchester