/ Technology

Don’t let nuisance callers get away with it – complain!

Stop button on nuisance calls phone

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.

Complain about nuisance calls and textsYou 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.

Comments
Guest

I had a call last year (which I did not believe from the outset).
The caller asked if I remembered making them a payment earlier to stop unwanted phone calls. I said that I did not remember and he responded that it was a while ago and did not really matter. (As an aside, the company must have been really inefficient if it had taken that long to process the service I had paid for) Anyway, they had now completed their work, they had written to the Telephone Preferential [sic] Service and also written to all the companies that might call me. The last step on his part was to send me confirmation. Obviously, he needed to make sure that he was going to mail this to the person who had paid for the service, so he needed to check that it was me. The plan was that I would tell him which bank issued the card I had used to make the payment, he would then tell me some of the digits (presumably the ones which identify the bank) and I would tell him some of the digits (presumably the ones that identify me). I was quite prepared to waste his time, so I just said that, since I had already paid, all he needed to do was mail the stuff to me and he kept on trying to get me to give him my card details – until he hung up.

Guest
Chris Matthews says:
25 February 2014

Since we’ve used Data Protection House, unwanted calls have fallen by at least 90% and we would recommend that this service is used and is especially worthwhile as they have contacted me twice since joining a couple of months ago and we can update them when they do. Our biggest issue at present is the overseas telemarketing calls requesting surveys of various kinds and one only yesterday that wanted for a one off fee of £40 to stop all these, even going as far as giving me all my personal details and address and then the first four digits of my debit card, at that point I said I was not prepared to give any further details. Both persons I spoke to wer completely!e very plausible and well spoken – any such conversation should be ignored. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch their full name but it in included “Tulip” and their number, if it is obtainable is 001133916800

Guest

This is what I’ve found out:

Tulip Communications

I haven’t been able to locate the country code; it probably is a non geographical number.

They usually call people referring to a payment made some time ago to stop unwanted calls. More worryingly, with some people, they say that the money was taken this morning.

They always mention £49. They tend to know a lot of personal details about you.

They try to obtain bank details and become aggressive when challenged.

My temptation would be to thank them for doing this for me and tell them that since they took my payment, they must surely already know my bank details, (as it was such a long time ago, I cannot remember which card I used). Or when they mention “to stop unwanted calls”, I’d be tempted to be cocky and say, “Just like this one?”, but then it’s not worth the hassle of wasting time dealing with a rude person.

I can see that this could be distressing for some people and am worried that it may catch out some of those who are vulnerable.

Guest
dudleyj says:
25 February 2014

Apart from GPR Global I have no experience of call blocking services in UK and I am quite disappointed with the service. It does block most calls for a couple of months but then the volume of nuisance calls starts to increase again.

I get at least three calls everyday from unrecognisable numbers and therefore have no information to supply by way of a complaint.

While living in Australia the blocking was done by my service provider and was extremely efficient with less than two nuisance calls per month.

Not sure if I will bother to renew this year.

Guest
Pete ROBINS says:
25 February 2014

I am delighted with the service and since signing up we have been able to enjoy our meals without the irritation of persistent interruption. Previously we were going to the ‘phone on a regular basis to answer some rubbish call: nearly always at dinner time.

Guest
Lynnette Roberts says:
26 February 2014

I’m very happy with the service. I’ve found it to be prompt and efficient, and I’ve been kept updated with details of all correspondence until the issue is resolved.

Guest
Marian says:
26 February 2014

I had up to 20 calls a day from sales/nuisance calls, signed with CPR and it dropped but started up again even worse I had a call blocker machine installed and that helped as I could block the caller when I seen the caller display! Just about had enough and ready to tear phone out! I have since changed my number and do not give it out to anyone except doctors, dentist etc with strict instructions it cannot be passed on to anyone.
The government websites are the worst for their little tick boxes as the DVLA send out all your info to anybody! It should be stopped Oh and the bank and loan companies pass on your information as well I only ever give out my mobile number now as totally disgusted with the nuisance calls. I have had the expense of changing my number because of this harassment It shouldnt be allowed.

Guest
derek says:
26 February 2014

I agree with Marian on this subject.
Unfortunately it is probably too late to do anything about the organisations who have ‘sold’ our personal details to other companies.
I am not prepared to pay out for call blocking machines or for companies who are supposed to stop annoying calls. Why should we . These calls should be stopped at source. Surely the telecom providers have the technology to stop them. It is up to all of us and Which to put massive pressure on Ofcom and the telephone companies to finally DO something.
It is clear we have all had enough .