It’s fair to say that most of us hate nuisance calls and texts. Yet less than a fifth of us actually make an official complaint. And much of the problem is because we don’t know how to complain, nor who to complain to.
Nuisance calls aren’t just a passing fad – 85% of you are bombarded by them. But only 17% report them to the authorities.
Sure, we’ll happily complain about them to our family and friends, but if we don’t go on record the regulators won’t know where to crack the whip.
So why aren’t we reporting calls? Well, a third of people say they just don’t know who complain to. I’m not surprised.
You see, there’s the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) that deals with complaints about live marketing calls, texts and the Telephone Preference Service. Then there’s Ofcom, which is responsible for silent and abandoned calls. And then we’ve got Phonepay Plus, which deals with complaints about premium-rate services. Oh and don’t forget the mobile providers – you can report spam text messages to them as well. Phew.
The good news is that six in 10 people would report nuisance calls and texts if they knew where to go. So… we’ve created a new complaints tool that will help you report the culprits quickly and easily. All you have to do is tell us what type of nuisance call or text you’ve had and we’ll direct you to the right place to complain, so the appropriate regulator can investigate further.
Campaigning to change the rules
Still, there’s no ignoring the 40% of people who don’t think complaining will do any good, nor the 43% who don’t think the calls will reduce even if they do complain. Well, we’re working on that too. Since we launched our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts campaign, the ICO has taken note and fined a number of companies for nuisance calling.
However, as we told the government last month, it’s still too hard for the regulators to take enforcement action. Communications Minister Ed Vaizey has heard our calls, and has committed to introducing new rules that’ll make it easier to fine nuisance calling companies.
For example, these new rules should mean that the ICO will no longer have to prove that calls cause ‘substantial harm or distress’ before fining rule breakers. It should also become easier for regulators to share data about nuisance calling companies. And the government plans to tighten the rules on consent, meaning you’d be less likely to be tricked into agreeing to nuisance calls via pesky tick boxes. The icing on the cake would be an expiry date on your consent, so that your details aren’t being passed on years later.
Report nuisance calls and texts
These planned changes will be a big step in the right direction, and they’d be a big achievement for the 76,000 supporters of our nuisance calls campaign. We’ll be working with the government and regulators to make sure these plans become a reality and we cut off this problem once and for all.
What can you do? Well, the next time you’re interrupted by an intrusive nuisance call or text, use our tool to make a complaint. If more of us complain, not only will the regulators have the information they need to take action, it will send a clear message that more needs to be done to stop this menace.