/ 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.


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.

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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 .


Sadly our efforts to persuade Which? and others that a different approach is necessary have been ignored, as it is argued that only a few minimal tweaks to the existing legislation are all that is needed to make the difference.

There are some adjustments that may help the ICO to enforce the law, but these are not critical changes. There is perfectly adequate legislation already in place, but it is not being followed because the approach to enforcement is flawed and hopelessly inadequate.

All this “something must be done” talk from responsible people,simply echoing a justified demand from victims, indicates that they do not understand the problem and encourages wholly meaningless responses that may sound good, but have no effect whatsoever (as has been seen over a long period).

As contributors to the conversation report that private companies are able to persuade offenders to comply with the law, it would be interesting to hear how they are able to achieve this! The reported successes could lead one to think that there is some kind of protection racket involved – i.e. “pay us money and we will ensure that somebody else is annoyed by nuisance instead of you” – that is not a solution to the problem of a public nuisance. Which?, with its libertarian principles, may be happy with that, but the fair telecoms campaign is not.

Betty Shiers says:
26 February 2014

Towards the end of last year I was being constantly bombarded with calls offering services I was not interested in, some days these would amount to over 12. Although I have caller display it was most annoying to stop what I was doing to answer the phone and discover it was yet another telesales call. Since joining the service these calls have stopped by at least 98% and I have had two phone calls asking if I find the service satisfactory. I would highly recommend that people join this because it gives you peace of mind knowing that when you answer the phone it will be someone you want to talk to.


We bought the BT6500 + 2 additional handsets last year. This phone blocks all withheld, international & unidentified nos – they go straight to answer machine. Peace has descended on our house. We thought we might have a problem as we have family abroad but now we just Skype!

Morag says:
26 February 2014

When I contacted CPR Global I found them friendly and effecient. Since joining I would estimate that the nuisance/sales calls have dropped by about 90%. Some still get through although if you tell them that your number is a “caller preference number” they usually hang up. CPR continues to be proactive in the service they offer and make regular contact with you for updates.

David says:
26 February 2014

I was sick and tired of unwanted and nuisance calls, so I was told about TPS. So I filled in the the forms on the internet. Then CPR got in touch with me about 2 years ago. I haven’t had any unwanted and nuisance since then, if I do get some I phone up and the staff are very friendly and sort out the problems straight away. I have both my mobile and house phone covered.
So now I pass on the CPR services to everybody who are plagued with unwanted and nuisance callers.

Geoff. says:
26 February 2014

I am quite pleased with the system as I used to receive numerous calls per day.
now I only receive occasional nuisance calls.
Still get PPI calls also calls offering replacement boiler and wall and loft insulation.


This conversation is now being flooded with a large number of happy customers of one organisation which appears to have persuaded law breakers to selectively cease their illegal activity.

This begs two questions.

1. How is it done?

2. How much money would the government need to pay this company to persuade these callers to comply with the law properly, i.e. in respect of everyone?

Other important questions flow from the answers to these.


Nothing is perfect. You need to be proactive!!
This is a good service. The majority of calls are stopped.
For a couple of months you will get a few calls. Ask these callers (politely) to delete your number from their database.
Together it works!

Mike Elliston says:
27 February 2014

During 2013 I was plagued with nuisance and spam calls, from home energy surveys, to saying that I had a bug in my PC or did I need to reclaim PPI. Calls would start from 08:30 until 10pm most days – up to 5 calls a day, predominantly from overseas call centres. Already being ex-directory and a member of TPS, this was annoying. I even changed my phone number but they still found me. My phone provider, Virgin, offered a weblink to a subscription service, Call Prevention Registry, who immediately put a block on the unwanted calls. In 6 months, I think I have only received 2 rogue calls. I highly recommend the service, run by Data Protection House – their staff are also very courteous and attentive and make a genuine and honest effort to protect me.

Chris B says:
27 February 2014

I bought a CPR Call Blocker from Argos last december and it reduced the number of nuisance calls considerably (from 5 or 6 a day down to one or two a week initially, and that reduced even more as further callers were individually zapped as time progressed). They were mainly overseas callers so, as I don’t know anyone abroad, I just blocked all international calls. Caller ID does help, this is needed for the Call Blocker.

Well worth £40.

Any withheld numbers are allowed to go to the answerphone – most of them ring off before the end of the announcement.

Ken Hitchen says:
27 February 2014

My Panasonic phone can block calls but it is limited to 30 numbers which isn’t enough. I keep a .xls file of all the cold calls received. Numbers which haven’t called me for some time are deleted from being blocked and new ones added. However since mid December 2012 I have received 78 cold calls from either ‘Private caller’ or ‘Incoming call’ or ‘Out of area’, none of which I can block. I’m tearing my hair out…….


Since signing up with Global, our nuisance calls have gone down by 80 or 90%. I still think we should not have to pay a subscription for this. Nuisance calls should just be banned!

Jennie says:
27 February 2014

I have used the CPR service for 2 years now and it has been a godsend. Some days i don’t receive any calls at all and the ones i do still get are mainly from abroad but not many at all now. I decided to use the service after being bombarded on a daily basis and would definitely recommend it.


Many people on here have mentioned services that they use, to block unwanted calls.

Personally, I object to having to pay to block calls that I did not want in the first place.

I an not subscribed to anything and nowadays I rarely get unwanted calls.

The reasons?

Firstly because I am careful about giving out my number. I usually do not. When a phone number is mandatory, I put in a non existent but genuine looking one (I am careful not to put a real number, as I don’t want someone else plagued with calls for me).

Secondly, I ignore the phone when it rings. Either I leave my answerphone on, or I switch it off completely. I then check afterwards if it was someone from whom I do not mind hearing.

In an extreme case, I unplug my phone. Genuine callers have other ways of getting hold of me. Better to miss the odd genuine call (unless it’s important) than be disturbed by many unwanted ones.

Finally, a suggestion: never get upset, rude or irate with unsolicited callers. Doing so puts them in a position of power over you. Far better to be calm and get the unwanted caller all uptight. Then you are in the position of power.


Hi everyone, thanks for all these latest comments. You probably came here from this month’s Which? magazine on TPS/call blocking scams – the link we meant to send you to was this latest debate, if you’re interested in joining it: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/tps-scam-telephone-preference-service-nuisance-calls-cpr/

Jean Llewellyn says:
19 April 2017

I have just received a call, the caller said’how are you today’? I responded with I am bad today. His response was ‘you are bad, then get lost’. He called on the following number 0011352239337.


We have been receiving a number of Recorded Message calls. The message claims to be from HMRC and advises that you get a solicitor to call their number (020 3129 3857) immediately. Failure to do so could result in serious penalties.
The Which? page for reporting such calls recommends using Action Fraud – but the questions there ask you have much you have lost, and do not accept “5 minutes” as an answer. If you have not lost cash, the questions do not really make sense.
The calls are nasty and threatening (although they end by wishing you a nice day).