/ Technology

Do nuisance calls cause you annoyance or anxiety?

Landline phone

Making change happen can take days, months or years – and thanks to the support of our community and our campaign supporters, our joint work on the menace of nuisance calls is continuing to pay off.

Earlier this year we secured action from the Government to tackle nuisance calls and texts. Some of these changes included potentially lowering the threshold for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to take action against cold calling firms so that calls only have to cause annoyance rather than ‘substantial distress’.

Other key wins included introducing new regulations to let Ofcom and the ICO share information on rogue companies. The Ministry of Justice was asked to consult on whether PPI cold callers should face fines of up to 20% of their annual turnover. And we at Which? were asked to lead a task force reviewing how people consent to receive marketing calls.

Well, since the last task force meeting two weeks ago, a lot has happened. Two MPs asked David Cameron what the Government was doing to tackle nuisance calls during Prime Minister’s Questions, a further 15,000 petition signatures have been received for our campaign, and the Government has confirmed firms could face stricter fines through the launch of a consultation.

Stricter nuisance calls fines

The six week consultation will consider lowering the legal threshold before firms responsible for nuisance calls and texts can be hit with fines of up to £500,000.

The law currently requires the ICO to prove the conduct of a company caused consumers ‘substantial damage and distress’. The Government either wants to reduce this to causing ‘annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety’ or by removing the test altogether. Either would represent a very important reform to the law.

The consultation closes on 7 December so please keep sharing your examples of how the calls cause you annoyance or anxiety. We’ll be submitting evidence on your behalf to ensure this key proposal is turned into action.

Changing the rules so it’s easier for regulators to punish the companies making nuisance calls is a big step forward and a victory for the 129,000 of you who have already supported our Calling Time campaign.


I don’t normally enter forums but this is the one subject that drives me nuts!
Cold callers are getting very clever in trying to get us to answer the phone.
My landline phone has caller display, so when it rings the display shows up who is ringing. I can then decide whether to answer it or not. Additionally, it also has talking caller ID, which is brilliant as its speaks out the number calling me, so I don’t have to run to the phone to see who it is.
However, these call centres (esp the ones based overseas) now seem to be routing their calls via UK landline numbers. So when the phone rings and displays a UK number one is more inclined to answer it; (if it displayed as “withheld” or “international” I let it ring and not answer it).
Additionally, some UK call centres are cleverly routing calls via UK landline numbers that have the same dialling code as where I live, so again I’m more likely to answer the call, thinking it’s someone I know locally!!
I had a call from a UK based call centre with an area code like mine telling me I had an industrial injury whilst working in a noisy factory which may have made me lose some of my hearing! (I’ve always worked in an office)!
I Googled the number that rang me and it came up with dozens of similar consecutive phone numbers, which are described as “numbers cloud”. There’s no information of who the organisation is, or where they’re based (certainly not local to me). They could literally be anywhere.
So if you block that number on your phone, a similar number is used to ring you instead and on and on it goes, so blocking a number doesn’t really work.
I agree with others, there must be a single concerted task force set up with teeth that will fine, punish (and imprison as far as I’m concerned), those who flout the law. For many, esp the elderly, these nuisance calls are extremely upsetting.
The TPS (I’ve registered but it’s not effective against overseas call centres), must have real legal powers enshrined in law.
It’s about time those in authority start earning their salaries, do something really constructive and kick some butt!!

I was surprised today to receive a cold-call on behalf of Great Ormond Street Hospital, presumably eventually asking for financial assistance under some guise. The caller was rambling around and trying to evince my sympathy in a rather tiresome way but I didn’t let him get to the punchline before I hung up. I feel annoyed that GOSH has stooped to this level of fund-raising and it has diminished my respect for it.

A few years ago I was almost scammed and if an employee of my bank wasn’t fully switched on it would have cost me a pretty penny. The man I use the term very loosely who had been calling me about security on my computer, when I think of the way he cast his line used fear as a lure and with my mouth wide open hooked me with his lying with tales of FBI, Interpol and my computer being used to launder money yes I was gullible but after a number of days and finally a five hour call I would have believed the one about green cheese and the moon, I just wanted rid of him. The main reason I am dragging all this up its all started again although he has changed his name and does so every time the calls and the names of the firms he is now with Peter, BT, John of Microsoft, George from Virgin, Tom of the Bank of Scotland and on and on which is a bit odd all these names and lies with a accent very hard to hide or alter so obvious that once I hear him speak I recognise him. I don’t let him speak much I just say Bye Peter and I’m glad to say irk’s him no end. Peter has a good few numbers and one of the firm can’t transmit numbers the number he uses most 02011123236 but can’t be connected but it is the number given by 1471 how it works is beyond me. I have tried to find out and have been to a few place’s for help but Peter & co just changes numbers. I am now at the stage where I can’t take much more I am disabled and am almost blind at one point there was up to 5 calls a day but seems to have settled a bit but 1 or 2 calls a day are to many especially as I am always as far as I can get from the phone. I am sorry to go on so much but I am sick of it he is a bad Bleeder and is well known by my bank [TSB] and many others. Thank You.

victor mitchell says:
25 July 2016

Now told block calls my lawyer is coming after them.Ten years i have put up with this continually,up to 12 calls per day.Now people are spending up to £100 on new phones .I have had an answering phone ,for the past 20 years,i never answer my calls.My family and friends all know i only answer when i know who has called me,by leaving a message.BT example will not stop giving out our phone no,so that people will continue buying new phones etc.Calls to-day so far only 4 calls so far.No nu left on each call.I personally would feed them all to sharks,or dump them on a desert island.Is that bad?