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More nuisance calling companies to face prosecution

Stop button on nuisance calls phone

Good news for those fed up with nuisance calls. The Government has announced that it will soon change the law to make it easier to prosecute companies making unwanted calls and texts.

Last year tens of thousands of people complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about nuisance calls. But, until now, firms have been able to evade prosecution because victims had to prove ‘substantial harm or distress’.

With the help of 142,000 supporters, we convinced the Government to consult on removing or lowering the threshold for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to take action against nuisance calling companies.

More rogue firms fined

Today the Government announced that it would make good on its promise to change the law. This legal threshold will be removed on 6 April 2015, giving the ICO the power to intervene in more cases and fine rogue firms up to £500,000. The regulator now needs to send a clear message by using its new powers too full effect without delay.

But, you can play a big part in helping to identify the nuisance calling firms and make sure they’re prosecuted. It’s really important that you report nuisance calls, and we have a tool to make the process of complaining easier. Making a note of the company and, if possible, the phone number that’s calling you, will make it easier for the ICO to investigate and take action.

Senior executives held to account

Last year I chaired a task force on how people consent to marketing as part of the Government’s Action Plan on Nuisance Calls. In December we presented the Government with 15 recommendations to tackle unwanted calls and texts.

These calls are an everyday menace blighting the lives of millions, so the task force advised that senior executives should be held accountable if their companies are making nuisance calls. In another step forwards, the Government today confirmed that it would look into how they would be held to account.

These are big steps in the right direction, but it’s not the end of the line for our campaign. There’s still work to be done to end the scourge of nuisance calls and texts, but we couldn’t have achieved this much without your support.

Adrian says:
28 February 2015

I am plagued by these calls on my mobile. As I can have legitimate business calls at all hours from unknown and witheld (or simply unavailable International numbers), I cannot reasonably ignore numbers I do not recognise.
However – at least where I do have a number – I have now discovered the caller blocking feature on my phone.

I would like companies who make these unsolicited calls to be forced by law to disclose on request (at the time, when they call) where they obtained my phone number from – along with proof that I have given my informed consent for them to call me.
This would at least give me the opportunity to write to the people dishing out my number and warning them of the consequences (suing them for harassment) if they do not desist immediately.


Companies are already forced to law to disclose how they obtained your details and your consent. The problem is that the companies who call you will refuse to give out their contact details, or just provide false details. Therefore, the law can’t be enforced.

J.Howarth says:
28 February 2015

The problem with the complaints process and resulting law changes is that the majority of my unsolicited / silent calls are ‘number not known’ or ‘number withheld’.
Where is the action on these companies?
And TPS has no effect at all, and is no deterrent.

James Bryant says:
5 March 2015

The system knows where the call is coming from. What is needed is universal caller ID which cannot be turned off – but supplies a unique ID and NOT the calling number. This is technically simple, but unpopular with businesses since it facilitates smart call blocking.

When I asked my MP to act to implement such a system he forwarded a letter from Oftel saying that such a system is not possible – but this is not true.

It may be impossible to alter the existing system to do this (although I should be very surprised if it were) but it is not impossible to design such a system quite cheaply. “Which?” should research the technical issues and press HMG for action.

John Wainwright says:
2 March 2015

It’s essential that:
1 – All callers be told they MUST show a number for return calls and stop hiding behind Withheld, Unavailable or International.
2 – UK companies using overseas call centres have to comply with the same rules as when calling from the UK.
3 – Same rules as above for SMS text messages.

Then we will be able to know who to complain about.

Ian says:
2 March 2015

You want to receive calls and texts that you can then complain about?

Most people simply want the calls to stop. A different approach is needed for that goal.

James Bryant says:
5 March 2015

It need not be a number for return calls – there are good reasons why many callers cannot do this – but, as I pointed out above, a unique ID, which is not necessarily the callers actual phone number, allows simple complaints. If complaining is simple and has bad results for offending companies the number of calls will diminish dramatically.


We don’t get many nuisance calls but today had two. Both started with “I am not trying to sell you anything”. When I told them that we are registered with TPS they told me that since they began with this phrase it did not apply. When I then said I would report them they told me it did not matter – they were not contravening the rules. Any one know whether this is true?