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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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Paul says:
22 March 2013

Itis unfortunae that TPS doesn’t work. Although I signed up with them years ago, I continuously get sales/marketing calls. It has got so bad recently that I now no longer answer the landline!

Katy says:
22 March 2013

Ditto Paul! I advised my elderly parents to sign up as well as ourselves and even though initially the problem was solved, in recent years it has got to the stage where i also mostly ignore the landline. Texts are also increasing. Unwanted loans and PPI being the most common.

Fiona says:
22 March 2013

I’ve signed up for Caller Display and only answer the phone if it looks like a genuine number. If it is genuine but I don’t answer it, they’ll call again or leave a message.

anthony says:
22 March 2013

I am with BT & I have caller display,so I don’t answer,& as long you phone 2 BT numbers a month it’s FREE.

I, too, am registered with TPS, but still get nuisance calls. Lately I have noticed an increase in local companies making these calls. It’s very annoying, but you have to understand the limitations of TPS. TPS does not, and cannot, pro-actively prevent companies making calls. It’s a database which the marketers are supposed to check so they can remove registered numbers from their mailing/calling/dialling lists. If the marketers don’t do that, all you can do is make a complaint after the fact. TPS has no jurisdiction whatsoever overseas, and never has done. That’s why there’s been an increase in calls from outside the UK.

Mike says:
22 March 2013

This cold calling is totally out of control. My mother, who is 90, is in a residential home and has her own landline. She is registered with TPS but regularly gets calls about PPI and surveys. This disturbs her and I m constantly telling her not to say anything but just put the phone down.

PeteB says:
22 March 2013

We have been registered with TPS for many years – and this has proven largely effective.

In the past couple of years however, we have started receiving calls from ‘International’ and ‘Withheld’ numbers. These callers do not seem to recognise TPS – or else TPS is no longer effective!

We receive many calls every week, at all times of the day and into the late evening. Anything that can be done to find a solution to this nuisance will be greatly appreciated!

Robert says:
22 March 2013

Just to add insult to injury we had one of these calls at 1.30 am earlier this week!!

Herbert Edmonds says:
22 March 2013

Despite registering with TPS, we receive an average of three nuisance calls a week. Mainly from brokers pushing investments. I now cut them very short! I also receive nuisance texts on my mobile from a company which threatens to charge me if I do not respond. I ignore and delete the text.

Peter says:
22 March 2013

Yes, these are a hellish nuisance. Agreed that TPS for we signed up many many years ago, does not seem to stop them.

This is probably because even Scottish Power appear to slyly link in a questionnaire when an Asian male has called to ” Ask your opinion” from some untraceable Internet telephone line.

Sarah says:
22 March 2013

I too am registered with TPS and tried re-registering with them quite recently to no avail. The calls keep coming. Most landline calls are now unwanted, unsolicited calls.

Julian says:
22 March 2013

I work from home and am plagued every day with these calls. Many are long recorded messages that continue until they are finished even if I hang up; this means I cannot call out or receive calls. I often get calls from foreign countries too and the callers do not care about tps and just carry on regardless of what I say.

Gerry says:
23 March 2013

Just press the Recall / Flash button and you’ll get dial tone.

Bob Ashworth says:
22 March 2013

Not only do I receive five to ten telephone calls every day, the inbox of my computer has a minimum of fifty junk mails every day, they are never read and always deleted, but keep coming, it is a though nuisance. It really is about time something was done to stop this invasion of privacy

Alan says:
22 March 2013

I registered with TPS, but it doesn’t stop the calls. We get at least six nuisance calls a day, sometimes more. We have an answering machine and we logged in all the contacts we have so we do not pick up unless it’s a logged in number. Normally after the answering machine picks up the line goes dead. If it is an automated message we note the number then add it to the phones barred numbers list. We note however one of these companies uses a several of different numbers playing the same recording. We can only bar 30 numbers!

john bailey says:
22 March 2013

I seem to6 calls a day get on average.I am registered with Tps it seems to be usless

David Surrey says:
22 March 2013

I go through spasms of receiving nuisance calls. I do have “grey” box which automatically deletes any number with held calls but it has a side effect in that on all the extensions except the main one it gives out annoying sounds, so I tend to disconnect it. I cannot ignore the phone as I work from home. However, i have two ploys for dealing with nuisances: I either say I am at work and if they want my time for a “survey” they will have to pay me for my time and this will be payable up front at £20 per minute, alternatively I tell them a load of rubbish, like being in my nineties (I am not) and for questions on say kitchen appliances or energy providors say I have no idea as this is down to the secretaries or staff. I do try and make it sound convincing. They soon go away.

Mike says:
22 March 2013

On the internet we now have spam filters.
We need a simalar telephone network system to block/divert cold calls.

Perl says:
22 March 2013

I would like to see phone companies made to provide a free blocking service for withheld numbers.
I would also like to see a regulation which forces all companies to display their genuine number when they call you.
Technology is very sophisticated when companies want it to be.
Unwanted calls and texts are an intrusion into my private space where I have a right to not be disturbed by strangers.

Robert Long says:
22 March 2013

About 6 months after I moved into my current house and had a new phone number I started getting calls for a person I didn’t know. This has been going on now for 2 years – I get at least 3-4 calls a week, always trying to sell things from double glazing to life insurance. I always tell the caller that it’s a wrong number and there is no one here with that name. I even escalated the problem to the supervisor of the caller,but to no avail,

Mick, Wolverhampton says:
22 March 2013

Because of shift work I’ve always been at home during the day. My wife had a couple of days off and didn’t realise how many nuisance calls I received during the day. She would answer the call and then leave the phone sitting on the table and go back 10 minutes later to see if they were still on the line. The most annoying calls were when I was on nights, I ended up turning the ringer off or if I did answer I’d usually swear at them.

Mike says:
22 March 2013

I agree with the method – I usually break into a burst of barrack room anglo-saxon! Bit if they are operating from an Indian call centre, perhaps they don’t understand the nicities of our language!!

W.B says:
24 March 2013

My son is very good at mimicking a Jamaican and when the number is withheld or a number we don’t recognise he answers after he starts talking they put the phone down on him, my husband gets very irate and has been rather rude before now when the same number keeps ringing, I just ignore it and let answer phone do the job it sys I am not interested in buying or claiming anything for anyone else please leave a number and we will return your call, the phone oes straight down.

Nigel says:
22 March 2013

I find that most of my nuisance calls come from companies I am already a customer of. Ringing to offer me a “better” deal while extending my contract. Perhaps I missed a tick box somewhere when I signed up. I have been back to see if this is something I can opt out of but can never find it. I suspect that offering me a better deal is excluded from TPS anyway.
We do tend to screen calls and have caller display, but if the phone rings it is still an annoyance.
Unfortunately some of these calls must be successful otherwise they wouldn’t keep doing them. If only they put as much effort into providing operators when you phoned them!

Martyn Hunt says:
22 March 2013

Despite having been signed up to the TPS for years we still get numerous calls & texts to our landline & mobiles. Our landline phone shows whos calling & so we never answer International or Witheld calls. When mentioning the TPS to unsolicited callers they often answer who are they, we say we will report you if you call us again but it makes NO difference. An investigation should be made into the TPS because it is clearly NOT working satisfactorily.
I guess thats life in many situations–nuisances have always been there, will continue to be nuisances & they will get away with constantly annoying people.
Sincerely Martyn Hunt

Michael says:
22 March 2013

We receive at least 5 unwanted phone calls from “international” numbers each week, usually asking to speak to the home owner. The calls are quite often around tea time too. We are registered with the TPS which helps a bit but some call still get through.

What we have been soon recently is handing the phone to our 2 year old son and he has quite a pleasant conversation with them, even though its not exactly easy to understand what he is saying. He seems to enjoy it and we get a bit of a laugh too. Strangely, since we have been doing this the call rate seems to have declined a bit…. 🙂

C Sparks says:
22 March 2013

We were so fed up with nuisance calls that we purchased a call blocker (trueCall). It is brilliant and we now only receive calls we want

I get lots of calls – pensions, “gift vouchers”, accidents(one of these told me I would have one in June 2013!), “government” etc . Yesterdays asked to speak to my dad (died 10 years ago), then to my mum(died 8 years ago) and then asked when they died – when said it was a few years ago, she commented on how lucky they were – and put the phone down on me!! Another caller also cut me off – said she didn’t like my attitude when I said her “free home improvement voucher” was really a sales call. Usually, I just leave the phone off the hook for a few minutes and turn up the volume on the tv. I have the TPS but it doesn’t really effective now.