/ 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.

cathyb says:
5 December 2014

I have had a call every day this week from 07771 006156, regarding unsecured loans we have, credit card debts, personal loans. They even ask for someone who has never lived here. Despite saying, calmly, that we are not interested, they still ring again the following day. They are based in Manchester so should be fined, as they are calling numbers registered with TPS. It is now become harrassment and invasion of privacy when they ask for MY name and mobile phone number! Must admit I was not so calm one day this week, he was quite surprised at my reaction. I did threaten them with calling the police.

Tony Fenton says:
5 December 2014

Bought a pair of the new BT 8500 phones with Trucall technology built in about 6 weeks or so ago. Haven’t had one nuisance call since installing it. It really does the job and isn’t expensive.

Geoff G says:
5 December 2014

My wife and I were sick and tired of nuisance calls (in spite of TPS – which does not give protection from the international pains).

In the end, we invested in a Truecall call blocking system – bliss! – all has now gone quiet.

The fact that we were prepared to shell out around, £100 for the kit is a small measure of our frustration with cold callers!

But why should YOU have to pay to stop the infringement of your Human Rights to the peaceful enjoyment of your own home? Why are we not landing the cold callers with a big fine or imprisonment instead? it is tantamount to stalking, and intimidation – both of which are illegal!

I had Europlas quote me some years ago for a conservatory. Since then I have had many calls asking to come and check it. I didn’t buy one! The price was horrific! Every time they called I asked them to take my name off their call list. Nothing happened. I have tried being nice, rude and angry. No effect. I am disabled and getting up to answer is slow and painful. I am ex-directory and now give the wrong number to firms who demand it on my land line and my mobile if I see no purpose in their phoning me except to sell me something. I still get cold calls from those who have to have my number. I wish I could ‘tick a box’ to accept or refuse, as you can with other sales contacts. And don’t even mention JUNK MAIL!!!!!

It’s good that the article prompted so much discussion, all oppose nuisance calls and many have made positive suggestions. Paradoxically, e-mail notifications of these postings have become a bigger nuisance today than unsolicited phone calls today but, at least, I had asked for the notifications and it is easier to ignore e-mails than phone calls.

Anyway, I have unsubscribed to the notifications now so this will probably be my last posting on the subject.

Which? must know now that something must be done and I hope it convinces the Government.

In the last few months of the present coalition Government, there will be little political appetite for controversial legislation so there should be time for uncontroversial legislation. Effective legislation on nuisance calls would be very popular with the vast majority of voters of all political persuasions. Let’s hope the Government will take prompt action and be supported by the Opposition.

Hi Anthony, we’re working on giving you the option for a ‘daily’ or ‘weekly’ digest of the debates you have subscribed to. I understand it can be frustrating to get an email for every comment when you choose to subscribe to a very popular discussion like this.


Faint hope – but one can try! Perhaps we should all mention it to our respective MP’s too?

David Smith says:
5 December 2014

My 91 year old mother-in-law is continually getting calls regarding a replacement central heating boiler. This is despite telling the company the boiler was replaced 18 months ago. Always the same company. They should be fined or, if it’s an overseas company the number blocked.

H. Abbott says:
5 December 2014

We were offered two options only and I voted for the second, it being nearer what I would prefer above all others. That is to outlaw these calls altogether; I am continually pestered on a daily basis, often for the same reasons; one is that after a road accident 4 years ago; these ambulance chasers still want to get me compensation, after the event has been settled. one even called me back twice after I told them I was not interested and hung up; he then started again the very next day. And still it goes on!

I am in agreement with all of the above, getting really annoyed with these cold callers, despite keep telling them “I have not had an accident”, “No I do not need help with any financial problems” and keep asking for someone who has never lived in my house ( I am the 2nd person to live here), they keep calling. The worse thing is no matter how many times I reply STOP as requested or giving them a nasty reply to their text they KEEP sending them. Sincerely hoping this new law will stop all this has getting to the end of my patience.

Anne says:
5 December 2014

I am fed-up with these calls. I get at least 3 calls a day. I always hear a click then I know it is them but I am a carer and sometimes think it is regarding what I do. Please continue until this is stopped.

Alexandra says:
5 December 2014

Re: landline number, I have received daily calls, sometimes up to three calls on the same day from a company that never discloses its full name nor location re: credit cards insurance so-called claims. Despite being at first considerate and asking them to stop calling since it was irrelevant, they still call. Every single time when I have asked them who they are, they hung up.
As I have a fairly old telephone, there is no display of the caller ID. I pick up the phone when it rings because my relatives, all old, are using this number to get in touch. What these companies do is pure harassment, and as such, it is extremely distressing to be disturbed on a daily basis.
Re: mobile number, I have received several calls from various companies but the caller ID is never complete or just not disclosed. They don’t introduce themselves either.
This must stop at once and the government has the power to make this happen.
What I’d like to know is why don’t they?

susan stacey says:
5 December 2014

these sort of calls are distressing to everyone particulally to the old and imfirmed but in general to everyone they always ring either at tea time first thing in a morning and very often you can not understand a word they say these days most people have access to computers and if they want a service or product can research it themselves on line so there is no need to do this it sould be stopped once and for all and again it is really distressing to older and ill people stop it once and for all

Happy says:
5 December 2014

I am so tired of these calls – the silent ones which end with a click, silent ones with an automated “goodbye”, automated announcements, Asian call centre operators with false english sounding names, false surveys, computer scams, PPI, accident claims etc, etc,

I bought a call blocker which blanks a lot, but there are always new ones, ones with spoofed numbers etc.

The law needs more than tightening and penalties need to be increased and the use of withhheld or otherwise unavailable numbers banned.

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and answering the landline phone sometimes takes considerable effort and does often worry me. Unsolicited calls on my mobile are easier to monitor. I would stop using a landline if I had an option to receive TV/online services another way. I have had hundreds of nuisance calls over the years and have never conversed, given info or made any deals but they still continue unrelentingly.

Well… it’s Election year next year.

If I was wanting a vote catcher, I would promise to bring in legislation to stop these cold calls. Whoever did, would walk it with a landslide victory. Some of the stories on here are absolutely shocking and surely someone can get to grips with this.

Ah but! Politicians today are hand in glove with any so called business venture making profits so the best one can hope for is more tiny slaps on the perpetrators wrists and a request (not a law!) that they ensure they get consent to receive their calls.

Grumpy says:
5 December 2014

I am in my late eighties. In the past week I have had calls about road accident claims, PPI, central heating boilers, someone who just said I am not selling anything and been informed that that my PC had a major fault. I have had no road accident, no PPI and use a iMac working perfectly. I suffer from osteoarthritis , my daughter lives and works 300 miles away and my son’s wife has recently been ill and in hospital. It is a painful struggle to try to reach the landline phone only to discover a nuisance call. I believe that all cold calls should be banned and the perpetrators severely punished. I would NEVER respond to a cold call. With modern technology one can research and check companies to ensure that they are reliable before negotiating or purchasing anything.

Lesley Milne says:
5 December 2014

Not a day at home goes by when we don’t have at least one of these nuisance calls – usually mechanised voices. I have back problems, and it is sometimes quite an effort to get to the phone, so it’s really annoying when the call is a ‘cold’ one of any kind.

I keep hoping that they record reactions to these calls – if it’s a mechanised one, I now tell them where to go!! But why should I have to bother? I don’t have the option of ignoring these calls for health reasons, in case our doctors need to contact us urgently.

We’ve also had quite a few calls after 8.30pm pm on Sunday evenings…..

Sickened says:
5 December 2014

I get a minimum of 5 nuisance calls a day with everything from boilers to scam Orientals named fred who want control of my computer to fix it.
If the government is powerless to protect its citizens from these pests and crooks, perhaps phone manufacturers could produce handsets that will bar unwanted callers at the touch of a button? It would have to be a phone capable of blocking hundreds of numbers of course, but in this advanced age is that so much to ask?
I would take great delight in blocking these pests when they call…!!

Here we go again. Why should the innocent home owner have to go to further expense because of phone bandits without an ounce of decency attacking them in their homes? We already have to fit floodlights and other expensive security measures to protect our homes simply because our Government is unable to crack down on crime and defend us in our own country! Crime, in all it’s forms, is now a very lucrative major industry and not just for the criminals!

Brian P says:
5 December 2014

The best way to beat these cold callers is to buy an answerphone and if it is somebody you know they will leave a message,or if I recognize their voice I go over and take the call.

That is impossible for a lot of people Brian. I have to answer my phone as I have withheld numbers calling here for work. I have an ansaphone but it is of no use whatsoever to me!

Kevin Russell says:
5 December 2014

A good number of calls that I receive come from overseas. We need to ensure that these are also included in any ban on nuisance calls.

john wassell says:
5 December 2014

TPS is a waste of space for TEN years I have been repeatedly called by a firm called Amber windows based in Coleshill West Mids Each time I tell them to stop calling they say they will remove my name from their lists ,all goes quiet for a month or two then it starts again.I even went to their premises and confronted senior management ,all to no avail!!!!!!!


Maybe we need to do what that hero of mine did… it was in the paper… someone managed to SUCCESSFULLY bill a company for the time he had wasted speaking to a company who had cold called him continually. If only we could… trouble is, these companies have got more wily and they are harder to track down. But you know where your company is… go for it… we’re all behind you!

Disgraceful! We have had similar experiences with other firms although we are also registered with TPS. We have been threatened and insulted for daring to stand up to them and insisting on having their company’s true name and location to prosecute them. The behaviour of these cold callers is despicable.

john says:
5 December 2014

they must be ble to watch through our tv sc reen for when we are just sitting down for our evning meal.horrendous.give me their phone number and see how they like it

Better still – their UK address and a few of us can go round and … er .. “speak to them”!!