/ Technology

Nuisance calls crackdown: the progress so far

One year on from the first report by the Nuisance Calls and Texts Task Force, we’ve found some good progress but there’s still more to do.

Last year the Government asked me to chair a task force to look at the causes of nuisance calls and what could be done to tackle this modern day menace that affects so many of us. Together with regulators and industry bodies, this task force set out 15 recommendations for businesses, regulators and the Government to help stop nuisance calls.

Today, one year on since these recommendations were published, we have been looking at what has been achieved in the last year. Here’s what we found:

Actions by businesses and industry bodies

There has been some progress from big business and the third sector. For example, SSE has made one of its directors accountable for nuisance calls, and telecoms providers are working with Ofcom to identify nuisance call activities. The Charity Commission, the Institute of Fundraising and the Fundraising Standards Board are working with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

However, the majority of companies have not announced or committed to making nuisance calls a board level issue.

Actions for regulators

Earlier this year the Competition and Markets Authority published a report on the commercial use of consumer data and has committed to play a role in any future regulation on this issue. The ICO is revising its guidance and has mystery shopped firms making unsolicited marketing calls and texts. It will also be holding workshops and consultations in the New Year looking at the wording of marketing consent.

Meanwhile, Ofcom is developing a process to register mobile numbers with the Telephone Preference Service by text and has opened a consultation to review its policy on how it tackles silent and abandoned calls under the Communications Act.

Actions for the Government

The big step forward this year came when the Government made it easier for the ICO to fine companies who are found to be making cold calls, and we’ve seen a number of hefty fines over the past year.

However, there’s been no progress on giving the regulator more powers to hold board level executives to account if they’re found flouting the rules – a key ask of our Calling Time campaign.

Meanwhile we’re still waiting on the Government to consult on legislation to introduce Caller Line Identification for marketing calls, making it simpler for people to see who’s calling them.

As yet, an awareness campaign aimed at businesses has not been launched and the Government also need to assess new policies, to ensure they do not lead to nuisance calls.

There’s more to be done

Across the UK more than 300,000 people have backed our campaign to call time on nuisance calls. Despite some good progress, we’re still seeing high levels of unwanted calls and texts so more work still needs to be done to put an end to this everyday menace once and for all.

The Government, regulators and businesses need to continue to work together, with further action to cut nuisance calls off at source and make senior executives accountable if their company is caught flouting the rules.


Two weeks ago I started receiving. At least 20 or 30 and they from credit card and finance places ..

I put my home telephone number on my twitter account and since then I have been getting text messages from twitter asking me to go to my twitter account

derek says:
9 December 2015

what did you expect don’t put any details on any sites twitter facebook and all the rest are just as bad as theses calls

[This comment has been tweaked to align with community guidelines. Thanks, Mods]

offering advice is one thing….but calling somebody stupid is very unkind and uncalled for.

Hi, can I please remind everyone to please keep on topic of the conversation and not make personal comments towards other commenters in line with our Community Guidelines which can be found here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/

Thank you

You put your phone number in a Twitter account, available for anyone to see. What did you expect?

[This comment has been tweaked to remove personal comments, please be respectful of other commenters in line with our community guidelines. Thanks, Mods.]

derek says:
blackscorpion says:

+ 1 each
and a FULL round of:


help the guy don’t insult him.

[This comment has been tweaked to remove personal comments, please be respectful of other commenters in line with our community guidelines. Thanks, Mods.]

It is strange that cold-callers by telephone can give fictitious numbers which appear on the screen. Reporting numbers which don’t exist is not acknowledged by the TPS who aparently think the report is also fictitious! I have had one caller whose number registers as a single zero (0) and this number is given by the automatic read-out on 1471. If BT cannot block such a number even when their own system records it then there’s little hope for a cessation of the problem. Another number I have had several times is 02088888888, which is also recognised by 1471. I have now dispensed with my answer machine which means the phone rings for about 14 times and appears to send a signal to the caller that the number is not available. I have thereby lowered the number of times the calls are made. It’s an inconvenience because my friends cannot leave a message but it appears to work.

All the time BT [Which was OURS until it was nicked and fenced off to who knows who.] is making £££ hand over fist from these calls.


A kleptocratic oligarchy.

I am ex diectory, which appears to make a big difference. Also, I never give any business my phone number, which helps immensely. Also, I’m signed up with the TPS, which I don’t think helps at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if the TPS is just a front end scam to sell phone numbers from the back of white vans in all the call centre hotspots.

I have reported spam caller numbers, when they don’t block their number, but that information seems to go
into a black hole with no report back to say what the regulators have done.

TPS should be better, but is a waste of time. I reported a firm that was repeatedly auto-sending a fax to my home phone number (which was obviously on their list somehow). Weeks after reporting it, the problem persisted so I contacted to TPS to find out what they were doing. They told me that all they did with such complaints was to forward them to Ofcom, and Ofcom NEVER did anything with them. I didn’t have any trouble believing that, and I still believe it. Another useless public sector job creation programme!

” Another useless public sector job creation programme!”
It will of course, be SO much better when it’s sold off to some foreign owned, tax avoiding, peanut paying, off shored, Spiv organization ? ?
– 1

If that were to happen I would agree with you, but I don’t see why that would be the only alternative.

TPS have never as much as acknowledged any of my reports let alone told me the outcome. Even when I contacted them again to ask what had happened, they did not respond. They are a waste of space.


Tamara says:
9 December 2015

Agree – Our frequent spam caller as much as said they use the TPS as a directory list. It’s a British company but the call centre is overseas. They just call whoever they want; no restrictions. They phone us all day. Repeatedly reporting them to all the authorities involved has accomplished precisely nothing. The phone company says we’d need a case incident from the police to change our number, but the number that calls is withheld and we can’t get one without it. I think this is totally unacceptable and a lot more needs to be done.

One thing people forget is that by entering competitions they CONSENT to their data being used by the company in whatever way they want. Last night there was an advert on TV for a competition and it stated that its T&C’s were online, so out of curiosity I went to the T&C’s on this site and it was NBC entertainment, and by entering their competition you gave FULL & Irrevocable rights for them to use you data between their group of companies and partners and 3rd party companies.
In other words, they can sell you telephone number, your email address, your address details etc etc onto whoever they can get the most money from (maybe not just one company).
So be very careful if you are giving your details to anyone, if possible check their t&c’S to see exactly what they can do with them.

Another thing is are your phone company selling data and numbers on, my answer to that is very much so, my step son went to 3 to get a new phone and number, the following day he got 3 nuisance calls and he hadn’t even used the phone let alone give his number out, so who was the only people that had his number……3 !!!!

You are absolutely right about the competitions, and you have to be careful when registering a new product for a warranty.

Don’t forget that your the nuisance calls to your son’s phone might have been generated at random, so it’s difficult to be certain that 3 has passed on the number.

I was recently invited to enter a competition with a small company that I deal with regularly so they have all my contact details. There was a tick box to say I had read the T&Cs but they did not exist. On this occasion I did enter the competition but usually ignore any from big organisations.

I stupidly entered a competition on my phone and because it was Tesco I thought it was legit, I filled in all the questionaires, was told I would get free petrol vouchers and put into money draws, all a massive con, was bombarded with companies trying to sell me stuff, the petrol voucher was kind of legit but I had to pay £3.00 for the package and the voucher and when it came it could only be used by a certain station and it didn’t pay out the full amount so I binned it, this comp just popped up on my phone, never again at least now I have CM Security to weedle them out, What’s worse these morons get paid to annoy the hell out of us.

I have downloaded a free app on my phone called CM Security it filters my calls and tells me if they are harassment calls, and I’m given the chance to ignore or block I always choose the block option.

is CM Security in the Play store, if so which one because they all seem to be AV apps?

I use them as a second cleaner to get rid of stuff on laptop. Download it and try it.
I got a cheap phone from china and it came as a app.

I got it because I have the clean master app on my phone, that’s free too, hope it helps.

Have recently bought a new BT phone having Call Guardian installed. It is brilliant, no unwanted calls get through but are registered on the handset.

Im A Talk Talk Customer ,Since They Got Hacked Im Getting Daily Spam And Nuisance Calls All The Time

P Nappi says:
9 December 2015

yeah me too but i did what P Humphries did and bought a BT phone with Call Guardian it’s great no more problems

I’m ex-directory so I don’t get nuisance calls but I signed the Which petition for other people. The last spam call I got though was from abroad (the TPS can’t stop those) with a lady with an Asian accent offering me cheaper calls if could supply her with my reference number!! I said I don’t know it, she said it’s on your bill, I said my bills are with my accountant who lives a hundred miles away!! I was being as untruthful and as obnoxious as possible and it worked!!

Plenty of people who are ex-directory do get nuisance calls, and there are comments about this in other Conversations. I guess you are lucky, as I am with my mobile phone.

Brian says:
9 December 2015

Individuals are responsible for their actions when it comes to health and safety at work, why not when it relates to nuisance calls. It can affect your mental health.

”Individuals are responsible for their actions when it comes to health and safety at work, … ”


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Ken crunden says:
9 December 2015

I have just had a call I could not understand the person on trying 1471
I had a number given as 0200 000 000 by ideas ???

We were getting ever increasing numbers of silent calls. I now have a BT8500 phone, it sells at a normal phone price, but it can be programmed so that any unknown caller has to announce themselves before being connected, most nuisance callers won’t do that, and if they do you can still reject the call and they are unlikely to call back. We have found the genuine callers are understanding and do announce themselves.
Our nuisance calls have gone from several a day to zero.
The only downside of the phone is that both the range and sound quality, whilst not bad, are not the best either.

The One Show came to interview me about me & my wife’s experiences with coldcallelimination….recently fined £80,000. It will be on next Tuesday, Dec 15th, unless they reschedule.

Peter Kelly says:
9 December 2015

When are Off Come going to get off their rear end and earn the money they are paid, because from where I am sitting they are doing sweet FA about it, I have written to Off com and tried to make sense of their website, to no avail, only today I have had 5 nuisance calls, and I have had them calling as late as 21,00 hours at night, it’s getting to the point where if Off com are not doing sweet FA about them, perhaps the people should start considering doing something like having all our phones disconnected, so effecting the like of the phone companies

In general, Ofcom regulates the suppliers of telecoms services, not the users. Ofcom also regulates in many other areas to do with communication by radio and also regulates broadcasting.

Ofcom has little involvement in the matter of nuisance calls except in exercising their ‘persistent misuse’ powers under the PECR when someone is making silent calls.

It should be individual sector regulators that ban the usage of the telephone for making marketing calls within their sector. At present, all sector regulators permit this activity even in cases where widespread annoyance is known to be caused.

i know a company thats a nuisense they owe me money but can’t get to them name is Team Viewer they phone up but no phone number available been going on for many months its time they were stopped

John Seed says:
9 December 2015

Though signed up with TPS, we receive nuisance calls most days and some days as many as three or even four.

TPS have never as much as acknowledged any of my reports let alone told me the outcome. Even when I contacted them again to ask what had happened, they did not respond. They are a waste of space.

Dave Lawrence says:
9 December 2015

Since the start of the newer campaigns like this, the calls – which have continued and slightly increased in volume – are almost exclusively are recorded messages – not giving any details of company name – from withheld, unavailable or false numbers.

Oddly the only one giving full details was a firm that had already been fined for nuisance calls – obviously didn’t have much effect !

Further URGENT action is needed to block number spoofing , and take drastic action on data sharing and use for illegal calls.

Calls increased dramatically when telco put call centre in India – as seen on TV the staff there routinely sell data on to criminals.

Colin says:
9 December 2015

hello there I am not Happy with the cold callers because some days I get up to 5 cold callers per day and its not right for this to happen please can you help…..Thanks

Olive Smith says:
9 December 2015

I am fed up with answering the phone and there is no one there

When I get a call and no one speaks straight away I just put it down because its usually a selling con from abroad.

John Rutherford says:
9 December 2015

Three times day I get a call from an Out of Area, pick it up once and there was nobody talking. The other thing is the amount of cold calling that is done, if you answer they are selling something and they are in your area. Having got used to the numbers now, I do not answer