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Victory! Government announces a Nuisance Calls Action Plan

Nuisance calls success

In a victory for our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls & Texts campaign and its 112,000 supporters, the Government today announced an Action Plan to tackle this menace.

The Government’s Action Plan is the first comprehensive and co-ordinated effort on nuisance calls, and includes the following new measures:

• Lowering the threshold for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to take action against cold calling firms – calls will only have to cause annoyance rather than ‘substantial distress’.
• New regulations to let Ofcom and the ICO share information on rogue companies.
• The Ministry of Justice will consult on whether PPI cold callers should face fines of up to 20% of their annual turnover.
• Which? to lead a task force reviewing how people consent to receive marketing calls.

The Government’s culture secretary Maria Miller declared that ‘nuisance calls must stop’:

‘People need to feel safe and secure in their homes. The rules are clear – people have the right to choose not to receive unsolicited marketing calls. We will work to ensure their choice is respected.’

Which? to head up task force

Our campaign found that people are often unaware that they’ve given permission to be contacted by a company for marketing purposes. This is why the Government has asked us at Which? to set up a task force to review how consumers give and withdraw their consent to be contacted.

I’m delighted to be chairing the task force, which will bring together regulators, consumer and industry experts to tackle the issue of consent head on.

We now look forward to regulators using their new powers to help stop this growing problem from pestering people like Caroline:

‘Every day I receive cold calls regarding PPI. I dive to my phone every time it rings in case it is my mother needing help.’

This victory came about thanks to your support for our campaign – congratulations and we hope the scourge of nuisance calls is on its way out.

Are you still bombarded by nuisance calls? Are you happy to see action being taken at last?


From the comments here and elsewhere on the topic of nuisance calls I think there is an expectation that the Action Plan will remove all nuisance calls. This will require sensitive expectation management. Short of running a closed society (a la N Korea) the Action Plan can only hope to reduce the number of nuisance calls not eliminate them.

Linda says:
2 December 2014

Why cant companies ie Virgin, allow the option to block withheld etc numbers. If I can block on my mobile why cant this apply to fixed lines?

You can withhold your number on a BT landline. Just dial 141 before you dial the number.

jonathan rose says:
5 December 2014

I would also add to some of the above good ideas, that for people who are in fear of there life, legislation should be added so they can withhold there number, one easy way, would be for an authority british home office to make a list available to police, and any one on list can get withheld number, while everyone in normal circumstances is not allowed to have number with held, also add to the list annoying STM messages, which are computer operated, they should be banned, as well.

Mike says:
29 June 2015

I am coming late to this conversation, but would like to report the following problems:

(1) I too have been getting nuisance calls about boilers which imply that my house must be compulsorily inspected to see whether I must have a new boiler by a date in 2016.

(2) I have been using the Talktalk call blocking service and find that somehow I have blocked calls from a hospital about my treatment. The hospital could only reach me by alerting my local surgery. So I have now had to unblock everything.

(3) Hospital and doctors’ calls are always “withheld”, so you cannot distinguish them from nuisance calls. Hence we now find that we must answer all such calls just in case. Can’t this anomaly be sorted out?

Barbara says:
30 July 2015

Mike, I too have had the same phone call re boilers needing changing in 2016. I have bought a call blocking phone BT! But have found that if I change my settings to DO NOT DISTURB and allow VIP’s (such as family friends doctor’s etc. the call will get through. But and this is a big but, if your hospital uses withheld numbers then it won’t get through. Hope this helps.