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Ed Vaizey MP: What we’re doing to stop nuisance calls

Stop button on nuisance calls phone

The Government today announced an Action Plan to tackle the menace that is nuisance calls. Here’s communications minister Ed Vaizey to share how your calls have influenced the Government to take action.

I don’t want to make a claim for mis-sold PPI. But what I really don’t want is anymore phone calls offering to help me make a claim.

I along with many, many others have had enough.

The rules are clear – register with the Telephone Preference Service and the calls should stop if you’ve asked them to. But they don’t. We continue to be plagued by unwanted calls from companies trying to sell us some product or service. It has to stop.

Action to stop nuisance calls

For the first time, we’ve got everyone together. I’ve been meeting with other ministers, regulators, consumer groups like Which? and industry to produce a proper co-ordinated plan of attack. And it’s already bearing results.

Regulators have spoken to problem firms. Legitimate companies, like British Gas and TalkTalk, have swiftly cleaned up their act with complaints against them falling by as much as 75%.

They know annoying your customers with endless, unwanted calls is not the way to build a successful business.

For the others – the cowboys and chancers with no reputation to worry about – they’re being hit where it hurts. Fines worth £2.54m have been dished out since January 2012.

New rules to tackle nuisance calls

We’re going to consult for the first time ever to lower the threshold for imposing sanctions. I’ve asked Richard Lloyd at Which? to lead a task force to make sure that people only hear from who they want to hear from. And we’re now looking at other ways to crack down on these cowboys and stop them from getting your details in the first place.

We’re going to make it easier for regulators to share intelligence about rogue companies, and Which? will lead a review of how people agree to receiving marketing calls.

There is no simple answer to this problem. But we now have a co-ordinated approach to beating this nuisance.

This is a guest post by Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications & Creative Industries. All opinions expressed here are his own, not necessarily those of Which?.

Comments
Member

“There is no simple answer to this problem” Really? Well maybe stop worrying about upsetting comms companies and the direct marketing association and you’d find it fairly simple to address. Like fining comms companies for connecting these calls in the first place. Isn’t it the same as someone coming to your door distracting you whilst others rob you. And if it isn’t them maybe it should.

“Fines worth £2.54m have been dished out since January 2012” doesn’t seem much and is clearly not acting as a deterrent

And why to date do companies start of with a warning, If I break laws affecting thousands I doubt I’d get let off with a warning to clean my act up, maybe if I say sorry? Well sorry, its been too soft for too long.

Member

Fines are not enough because the nuisance callers simply factor in the fines as a business expense. This practice needs to be criminalised with prison sentences, including extraditing those from abroad who plague UK residents with nuisance calls.

Member
CPR Call Blocker says:
31 March 2014

There is a simple answer ,CALL BLOCKING TECHNOLOGY ,it is here ,it is now and it works.What is being done to promote the fact that solutions are out there?.

Member

Like many people, I don’t see why I should have to pay to stop receiving phone calls I’ve NEVER requested.

And as its very easy to spoof your number, all determined companies will do is start spoofing more numbers.

Member
John Roberts says:
18 May 2014

Simple answer…Buy a ‘Call Blocker’ I did from my local server Karoo and it has reduced those nuisance calls dramatically

Member
Lizzie Windsor says:
21 July 2014

You said the simple answer is to “BUY a call blocker”.
Why should we have to pay out our hard earned to stop something that, if we are registered with TPS, is illegal? And has been for ages. We all know TPS is useless. And the number of nuisance callers being financially inconvenienced by fines is pitiful. They just build it into their cost of operating and carry on annoying us.THE MAIN PROBLEM IS OUR POLITICIANS. They are the ones who are not listening to us and doing nothing about something we all suffer from.
Which?. How is this problem addressed in other countries? Is there a solution out there? You have the ability to find out.
Please let us know.

Member
Bob Tugwell says:
19 October 2014

I agree with the premise asking why should we have to spend more money to stop something that we don’t want in the 1st place, but I do think a balance has to be struck against the options that we are left with. By this, I mean, rely on somebody else to do it (Government, TPS etc…who don’t appear to grasp the nettle) or attempt to solve it for ourselves.

The levels of unwanted calls that our household was receiving had reached between 20-30 a week, most being at times that were inconvenient, and their content certainly unwelcomed!

I bought a ‘Call Saint’ from Amazon (£24.99), and incidentally I have no connection with this company other than that of a satisfied customer. It was easy to set up being installed in series with the phone line, though I did have to purchase a better ADSL/Phone filter as initially all incoming calls were being blocked. I was able to ‘Blacklist’ nuisance calls progressively as they occurred. Occasionally one gets through but that is usually because the callers are using a selection of numbers, and the blocker hasn’t met it before. If I say that I am in my late 60’s and have never been a computer expert, that might tell you how easy I found the device to set up.

The next part of this battle will come good for us when the mobile phone providers play their part!!!

I hope these few words will help ease the frustration of unwanted calls in the same way as it has helped me…..Good Luck!

Member

I applaud the attempt but honestly I don’t think much will change. Most if not all of the cold calls I get are from abroad and they claim they are not selling anything just doing a survey. However if you complete the survey you are “expressing an interest” which then leads to the sales call, which because you did the survey you are deemed to have given permission for.
So I don’t think any UK legislation will solve this.
The only way to stop it is if everyone gives cold callers very short shrift, buy nothing, don’t do surveys and even if necessary be rude to them because of their intrusion.
If only one person in a hundred, maybe even one in a thousand, plays along they’ll consider the sales tactic worth doing and will continue,
It’s up to us????