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
Fed up with nuisance calls? So is the Government. Tell us what you think http://t.co/nyBClgEaJn
— DCMS (@DCMS) October 25, 2014
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.
— Richard Lloyd (@RichardJLloyd) October 25, 2014
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.