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Update: getting to grips with nuisance calls in Scotland

Nuisance calls

Latest Which? research shows Scots get more unwanted phone calls than the rest of the UK. Since the launch of the Scottish campaign on nuisance calls, we’ve been pushing for the Scottish government to tackle the problem and we’ve had a breakthrough…

Last week at the Scottish government’s Nuisance Calls Summit in Edinburgh, Scotland’s new Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown MSP gave a keynote speech and confirmed a Taskforce would be set up to tackle the problem.

Nuisance calls summit

We presented our latest research to regulators Ofcom, ICO, network providers such as BT and Three, Trading Standards Scotland, SSE, those in the voluntary sector representing vulnerable people and Scottish Government officials.

Our research found that 83% of those surveyed in Scotland, just over 1,000 people, said they’d received a nuisance call on their landline in the last month.

What’s more worrying is the sheer volume of these calls people in Scotland receive. A third of Scottish residents told us they had 11 or more nuisance calls in a month.

Last month, we analysed calls to customers with call blocking service trueCall, we found that over the last three years, people in Scotland received around 37 unwanted calls a month, compared to 26 for customers across the rest of the UK.

Older, more vulnerable trueCall customers received an average of 45 calls per month and 27% of these more vulnerable customers received more than 60 calls a month.

Our research found that Scots are taking action to stop the calls by asking to be removed from a database, asking not to be called again, or complaining to their friends or families. But around a third simply don’t know where to go to complain.

Update: 21 November 2016

Which? and trueCall teamed up to analyse over nine million calls made to trueCall customers between January 2013 and September 2016 and found that Scotland’s cities top the table for receiving the highest number of nuisance calls.

Out of eighteen UK cities, Scotland’s cities occupy the first, second and fourth place, for the highest number of nuisance calls made to trueCall users. Analysis found that Glasgow is the number one city with a staggering 51.5% of calls being classed as a nuisance. This is followed by Edinburgh with 47.8% of nuisance calls and Aberdeen saw 45.6%.

This latest research comes as the Scottish Government’s Nuisance Calls Commission is due to meet for the first time in Edinburgh on Wednesday 30 November. Last month, Keith Brown MSP, told Which? Conversation that he would be challenging the Commission to put in place solutions that will make a long-term difference to nuisance calls in Scotland.

Which? is calling on the Scottish Government to use this Commission to agree and publish its promised action plan on tackling nuisance calls. The plan should put pressure on Scottish businesses to be more proactive in protecting consumers, as well as providing more help for vulnerable people, such as installing call blocking technology.

Stats only tell half the story

It is, after all, about much more than the stats. Our supporters have shared with us what nuisance calls means for them. People like Alex from Lockerbie, who can’t make contact with his wife’s aunt, a frail 93 year old, because she refuses to answer her phone dreading it is ‘that woman again’.

Or Frank from Gairloch, who still gets calls for his late wife who died three years ago.

Or Tina from Orkney, who has a debilitating medical condition requiring her to sleep a lot, so the last thing she needs is to have to get up to unnecessary cold calls.

It’s clear that no one piece of research will give a complete picture, but the evidence we have shows that there is a particular problem in Scotland that needs resolving. So the summit offered a good opportunity to stimulate action. Help us call on the Scottish government to cut off cold calls by signing our petition.

As well as continued action at Westminster, we now look forward to a Scottish government TaskForce and an Action Plan to set out concrete actions to stop these calls.


just another thing Nicola sturgeons government ignore the people

K Hufton says:
3 June 2017

can’t blame Nicola for nuisance phone calls. That lies with our phone providers


K.Hufton , Nicola now = Putin –in the media .

Alexa ndra Durning says:
27 December 2016

I thought that Telecommunications and Consumer Protection were reserved matters, i.e. can only be addressed by the Westminster Government. Therefore, why is the petition addressed to the Scottish Government? Are we blaming the wrong people here?


It is Alexandra , NS is trying out a “Scottish initiative ” of talks with BT/ commerce/ regional councils /etc to see if there is anything she can do to apply “pressure ” on the interested bodies . I like you Alexandra am skeptical that without power to make changes to the Telecommunications Act any “changes ” will be cosmetic , maybe sanction a few Scottish businesses who operate those “sales ” websites from Glasgow etc or are based in Scotland , but I can see big business for many lawyers as they could bring up deprivation of “business ” as just one legal point . I await somebody proving me wrong ?


“Important announcement for people on benefits. A new boiler….”
The authorities just aren’t taking this seriously. Either they act and get rid of these cold-callers, or we act, and get rid of the authorities. Get a grip, or ship out.

You’re welcome

James Murray

[Sorry, your comment has been edited to align with our Community Guidelines. https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/. Thanks, mods.]

K Hufton says:
3 June 2017

I had 12 of these yesterday either boiler or window scrappage . I was apparently being investigated for tax fraud the day before.

jane says:
29 March 2017

calls daily multiple times silent calls
going on for months despite reporting them
lone oap very alarming making me ill
they just will NOT STOP
many reported this number they just will not stop
something must be done NOW on this pest threatening menacing nuisance