/ Technology

Taking nuisance calls campaign to Scottish Parliament

Today, we took the nuisance calls campaign to the Scottish Parliament. We talked to MSPs about the problem, shared your concerns, and outlined some of our solutions.

This morning, we released results from our survey that clearly showed that a considerable number of you want government action on nuisance calls.

A whopping 85% of those surveyed last November want action by the Scottish Government, and a similar level (87%) also want action at UK level.

With a clear mandate for action, today was a good day to reiterate our call on the Scottish Government to take this opportunity to set the trend and outline plans to tackle nuisance calls.

A heated debate

The Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) told us about their packed mailbags full up with frustration about nuisance calls, their concern that the problem seemed to be growing, and their annoyance with the slow rate of progress.

Many MSPs also recounted stories of how their own Parliamentary and constituency phone lines get clogged up with automated nuisance calls.

Graeme Day MSP
Graeme Day MSP,
photo by Colin Hattersley

The host of today’s event, Graeme Dey MSP, from Angus South, told us:

‘My support for this campaign stems both from personal experience of the menace that is nuisance calls and the impact these have on constituents. In my opinion the situation is getting worse rather than better.

‘Some of the perpetrators of these calls are becoming increasingly aggressive in their approach. Something has to be done. That will require cross governmental co-operation between Scotland and the UK and indeed involving the wider EU.’

Time for action

While you told us that it’s time for government action, our research also showed some interesting findings towards businesses who break the rules. Nine in ten people want to see the director of a company held personally accountable and fined if the company makes calls without the necessary permission.

Scottish energy company SSE have already publicly committed to tackling nuisance calls, but we need more businesses to step forward. The Scottish Government already has a Scottish Business Pledge, bringing together businesses that practice good conduct, so why not similar for nuisance calls?

To date the Scottish Government hasn’t formally responded to our campaign or pledged publicly to tackle the problem, but have assured us that they’re looking into whether there is a role for the Scottish Government in addressing this growing problem. We can only hope that this pursuit has a sense of immediacy to it, if you agree that more needs to be done then sign our petition today.

So what are your thoughts on nuisance calls – is it time for action from government, businesses, or both? Are you one of the 85% who think government can do more to fix this problem?

Comments
Profile photo of DeeKay
Member

If as you say 85% of your pole voted to change this nonsense and if as you say politicians have full mail bags with complaints I await to see what they’l do,,,,,,,,,,if anything
Whilst a pole is not 100% accurate and mail bags are not like the result of a vote one would think that the message that people have had enough of this nonsense,,,,,,,,,,everywhere

Profile photo of malcolm r
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Nuisance calls from identifiable sources is one thing. But many complain about calls from undisclosed sources – presumably mostly abroad. A separate issue then is surely what “technical” solution, if any, can deal with these, because UK legislation and fining directors is unlikely to have any effect on the perpetrators of these calls. Is there any way such calls can be prevented?

Eva, do you have a proposal to deal with this aspect?

Profile photo of Eva Groeneveld
Member

Hi Malcolm. Indeed, we hear about lots of people getting calls from undisclosed sources that often read ‘caller ID withheld’ on the phone display. Last month, we welcomed a UK Government consultation proposing to stop UK companies using ‘caller withheld’, and forcing them to display a valid ID (see our convo here https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/nuisance-calls-caller-id-cli-law-announcement/). This should also apply to UK call centres operating overseas. If they breach the rules, even if the calls come from overseas, they will be hit with hefty fines.

Member
Ray McKenna says:
2 February 2016

Never mind whether or not the number is withheld. Just ban all marketing calls. My phone. I pay for it. It is there for communication between me and my friends and companies with whom I have dealings, Not for some random person calling me to sell something which I do not want.
Myu attitude to these companies is, “If I want to buy from you, I will contact you.”

Profile photo of TomRalston
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Correct, Ray! But why not target BT? I refuse to believe that they cannot identify these pests and bar them. Could it be because BT – whose “assistance” is limited to offering to sell me a phone which MIGHT bar them – make money from them?
Tom R.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Tom have you heard of _unbundling ? Brought in by the Government Telecommunications Act allowing – Tom-Dick -Harry- telecommunications companies to fit their OWN equipment in BT exchanges and use BT lines for there OWN customers benefit in high profit towns and cities to cream off the top money . These companies have FULL control over their own customers telephone and broadband use REMOTELY , so do all those other companies get away with it and not BT ? .That would contravene many HMG telecommunications acts that were brought out to create a level playing field. It would also upset all the consumers who DONT use BT as a service .

Profile photo of WesleyPaxton
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Ray’s comment is bang on ALL marketing calls should be illegal
Wesley Paxton Annan

Member
malcolm g says:
2 February 2016

Hi malcolm r, I agree this is a national/UK/International problem from the point of view of from where the calls originate. But I would suggest that the problem is about money, as usual. Phone numbers given to companies for a specific purpose are being used for other purposes. The worst offending companies are those who sell on the phone numbers to others, stop this and the problem would end. If it does not end the problem there would be a clear audit trail of “follow the money”.

Member
sandra brown says:
23 March 2016

sandra b : I am so fed up with automated calls, getting these about four times in a week my elderly father
(who is a carer for my seriously ill mother) gets the same amount of calls. I called B.T about this and they are as useful as a chocolate t-pot. They recommended a caller display phone okay easy answer to that one to endorse their product but what if the company is changing there number in order so they can be traced. I was told by nuicance department some cold calls come from Europe and you have to register with a government agency if it doesn’t stop and I did this and it becomes a vicious circle- you fine one in uk, another pops up. Make it illegal to cold call fine b.t if they pass on your phone number to these companies because when I was on a contract with mobile phone company they sold my number on to ppi calls; they denied it
but it was too much of a coincedence the ppi calls came not long after I had got the contract. Someone is making a profit out of this racket.

Profile photo of VynorHill
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Find out where and how these callers make their money, and target the source of this income. Since 85% of people polled resent nuisance calls it is unlikely that these companies are selling very much, so it would seem that the act of calling is what generates the cash.
Assuming that government and others know how all this adds up they should be in a position to act, but no one does. That’s the frustrating part of this business. The telecom industry is responsible for allocating the phone channels that enable these calls to be made. Why aren’t they interested in stopping them? They are quite aware of the grief caused. If this was a matter of national security, we would be free of this nuisance over night. It’s time for those with the power to act, to uprate their priority. In so doing they would gain the thanks of everyone plagued on a daily basis. If action is not possible then we should know why and what steps are being taken to counter the barriers placed in the way. There’s an awful lot of talk and very little effective action. The simple proof that we have won will be our silent phones liberated for the use intended for them.

Profile photo of alfa
Member

I challenge Richard Lloyd to come on a conversation and discuss nuisance calls with us.

Profile photo of John Ward
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I think he just rang but it clicked off before I could get to the phone.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Why is Which involving the Scottish Parliament ? It can do zilch/zero/nil/nothing , why because telecommunications is RESERVED to Westminster . There is only one place and people that can do anything and that is the Westminster Parliament and the MP,s there . Can you tell me the motive ? MSP,s are proper to the Edinburgh Parliament they CANNOT legislate on a Reserved to Westminster Legal Position. If you want to petition Scottish MP,s there are some in Westminster . Enlighten me !

Profile photo of John Ward
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A lot of what the campaign aims to do can be done without legislation – in fact local councils could do some of it if they had a mind to.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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John do you mean warn people about methods like call-blockers etc ? What Telephone exchange equipment has councils or the Scottish government got control of ? And by that I mean -BT,s exchange equipment ,Virgins exchange equipment , and a whole list of others that the UK Telephone Act has UNBUNDLED allowing ,uncle Tom Cobbly and all to INSTALL their own Private equipment in BT,s exchanges . That they -the private companies – can come into the said exchanges and work on them . That they and BT control from computer keyboards to program what they want into the same equipment just the same as our own Government “services ” can limit/control/turn off /reprogram /etc any UK citizens equipment . Block outgoing calls /incoming /long distance /etc very easily as we are dealing with fully digital electronic exchanges that are controlled remotely . What access has local councils to that ?

Profile photo of John Ward
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It’s a pity that the lead-in article didn’t cross-reference the previous Conversation on this topic with particular relevance to Scotland. As a reminder, the three things that Eva Groeneveld said the campaign should focus on were –

1. Cracking down on businesses breaking the rules and holding senior executives to account.
2. Helping vulnerable people to cut the number of nuisance calls they receive.
3. Ensuring that new Scottish Government policy doesn’t lead to more nuisance calls.

None of those objectives requires any adaptation of Scottish telephone exchanges or apparatus.

None of these actions would compromise the reserved status of telecommunications to the UK parliament nor breach any Telecommunications Acts.

I cannot understand why so many obstacles are being invented to obstruct this fairly innocuous campaign that might actually be a path-finder for action across the UK.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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In other words treat the symptoms but but not the disease which is rampart capitalism at its ugliest. What I want is Westminster Legislation as I have previously posted the “home of Capitalism ” the US of A has brought in government legislation to heavily fine those making US consumer / citizen lives a misery even Canada has followed the US lead . To me it shows the level of respect they hold UK citizen in == third class . I know they can technically do something about those calls but its – its the consumers fault , time and time again why is it never BB ?

Profile photo of DeeKay
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Why should the customer have to purchase a product and or service to stop others phoning their number…………..Its their phone,,,,,its their number………….Phone were once a means to call a business,,,a private call to Mum……….Is my car ready etc……………Gone are the days,,,,,,,,,,,,now we pay to be hassled

Profile photo of malcolm r
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Most phones are “public” in the sense that your number is in an available list. That lets me, if I want to, ring you up even if you don’t know me. It isn’t necessarily a nuisance call. How do we filter out those calls that are “commercially nuisance”. Presumably only by the authorities identifying them as such and, as this convo is about, trying to stop them by legal means.

Incidentally, do mobile phone users suffer this hassle as well as land line users?

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Exactly the same problem on mobiles with exactly the same pat answer from the mobile companies -ie- TPS and all the rest that dont work as 1000,s of users have already complained about . Whats going on here ? a “holding action ” .Have you checked the number of irate posters on this subject on various Convo,s on this website ?? 100,s they want more than words they want direct action .

Profile photo of DeeKay
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Our Landline and wifeys mobile are tormented…………..My mobile is not a problem as yet…………….Probably because I dont do FB,,,Twitter,on line this that and dear knows what etc which I blame for harvesting numbers also…………
I do use Amazon but only occasionally as I’m not altogether content with their ethics
Fleabay and others also with no problems…………….I buy near every day if the truth be told so I should be a target but the on line shops and the fleabay sellers seem to be better than some

What was wrong with having an ex directory number………….a good old fashioned idea that I Yes I own my phone…………..I pay for it………I choose who has the number and there are not 1000s of systems trying to steal my number
To me it is as simple as that……….I look upon this harvesting as stealing
Even if one gets ones number changed the slightest mistake and its started again in a few weeks
The search companies get a premium for first past the post on a change of address and new number for someone…………..
Ex directory,,,,,,,,,,,withholding your number are all but pointless as methods of retaining your privacy…………I never did withhold my number and never will anyhow but some do………………Before all this malarkey my wife often answered withheld’s because most of the time it was someone you knew or at minimum had at the very least heard tell of………..
Today……………I’d say it must be close to 9 out of ten calls that are nuisance calls here…………I’ve been down before I wrote this and ask wifey what numbers she recognised and the only one was her work which was withheld but because she knew the time of the call today that was her work………….
What use is this to man or beast…………..It is so bad that soem people and I’m guilty are so fed up the only time we answer the phone is if we’re walking past it or its sitting beside us…………….There is almost no point in going to it unless we need exercise and i’m alright that way

Our Gov was the one’s who wanted withheld or so I was told back when I had my awful problems with calls……………..

I have another story about fax’s back in the day…………Every morning a half roll of thermal paper was on the floor……………What need had I of hearing aid batteries but because we advertised batteries as part of our service BT picked up on it
BT denied that they had any part to play until a lovely man from Basildon said yes he paid BT to send advertising fax’s but once he knew what we done he said we had no need and he was being charged for directing advertising to somewhere clearly of no use to him
During the chat he offered all his details to me……….name,,,,,accounts numbers with BT an so on and told me forthright to go use them and get yourself peace
I went straight on to BT who again denied that they even offer such a service but when I told them their customers account details they tune changed
I never received a fax outside of our normal few per day again……….ever

Sorry I’m on a roll again……..

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Your right again Dee I am ex.directory the only practical thing it does is keep you out of the telephone book other than that its useless in stopping sales calls/withheld/international etc . Interesting you mention BT ,as you know i worked for them but If you or any poster here has BT as their ISP (and I do ) then a word of warning . Do you use their. Home BT.com well you cant access the website unless you allow tracker= bt.co.uk to track you ,and yes its not just there to recognise you ,it tracks you ! then if you use mail,bt.com you cant access the website unless you allow at least 2 trackers this website is American so they make money on third party trackers (excuse ? -well its free ) this to presented a problem for me as I have 3 tracker blockers ,one at the moment is blocking 154 LIVE trackers . So to overcome this as I have zero intention of letting 1000,s –yes 1000,s of trackers follow me round the web I installed a small simple web browser completely open just for BT . But BT isnt alone this website has various trackers I wont name them to save embarrassment but at one time there were 7 ( thats reduced now ) . Not keen on Amazon Dee ? check up Which,s ISP.

Profile photo of DeeKay
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I might buy twice per year off of Amazon
I really dont like the way they operate but everyone else it seems does not give a d**n
I only use them as a last resort as in if I cannot buy it on line anywhere else………….Its not about price………….I’ll really do give a d**n about ethics

Those ethics though do run me into trouble in case no one noticed!!!!!!!

if everyone can suffer me you’ll discover I’m not shark or a predator nor do I go out of my way to be a pain in the rear but I do have serious high values in some dept’s I have just lived a lot and learned a lot and I feel a lot

Thanks Guys

Member
GMac says:
2 February 2016

Make sure you don’t provide your number (landline OR mobile) if you ever apply for a British Passport! Her Majesty’s Passport Agency clearly sell on your number. I have always avoided giving out my mobile number but two weeks ago I made the mistake of giving the number when renewing my passport (ostensibly so that HM Passport agency could send me a text when they had received my documents and could give the reassurance that it was being processed) and since then I’ve been inundated with cold calls/automated messages.

Profile photo of John Ward
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I have to admit that until we have listened at least to the introduction of the calls that are captured on the answering machine or answered directly there is no way we can tell which ones we would describe as a nuisance. Some unexpected calls from firms or individuals have been beneficial and we would have been annoyed if they had been blocked.

I should be interested to know how the American technology differentiates between the different types of call.

Where individual companies can be identified as having perpetrated nuisance calls, as this campaign in Scotland proposes, and action is taken against them, the level of nuisance calling could drop dramatically.

Profile photo of wavechange
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Malcolm – I don’t get nuisance calls on my mobile, just the landline. Others do get these calls on their mobiles and some have complained about this on Which?Convo, and I don’t know why I have been spared. I have both numbers on websites but not in a form that can be ‘harvested’ by automated scanners.

Profile photo of Eva Groeneveld
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Yes, we are seeing mobile phone users beginning to suffer as much as landline users nowadays too. The TPS have opened up a registration for mobiles as well as landlines, and it is not widely known, so that’s why we are encouraging people to sign up their mobiles with TPS too – just text REGISTER to 80057

Profile photo of alfa
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I registered my mobile with TPS a long time ago. Doesn’t make any difference though.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Companies are blatantly ignoring TPS because they are seen as basically “non-functional ” in that they talk a good fight and take a deferential approach to BB always on the side of business looking for excuses why they cant do anything . I have been on their website maybe in old age I cannot see any statement as to any fines applied to BB , maybe in very small print . In any case the “flowerly ” language in no way shows an enforcement agency but a “holding agency ” to deflect the public for concrete action against those companies ,who I have read , quote- take no heed of the TPS . No one can say this government isnt pro BB and anti-UK citizen when it comes to social protection of harassment resulting in fatalities due to suicide (documented by various charities ) as the government refuse to print statistics for it.

Profile photo of DeeKay
Member

Ohh ho,,,,,,,,,,,,,That is something that maybe we should look at………….Those suicides

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Dee. every year 1.5 Billion nuisance calls are made to the British public . BT receives more than 100,000 queries every month about it , which can be particularly discerning for those suffering from mental illness or the like. There are currently 750,000 people suffering from dementia in the UK , of that number 16,000 are young people ,by 2025 it will be over 1 million. Cold calling is one of the most negligent forms of direct marketing many customers having to endure several calls a day ,with the vulnerable becoming targets for marketeers . In effect if these cases were individual ,many could be considered as abuse in breach of the Hate Crime Disability Law. A recent example in the Mirror had an astonishing account of a 93 year old man who had been signed up to 5 phone providers at the same time . Shockingly Ofcom told Maurice Haywood that his father had NOT had anything illegal done to him , when it was obvious that he was not in full control of his mental faculties . IT is so bad in the US that one website I visited provides a service to BB that teaches staff training programs in call centres NOT to bully customers.

Profile photo of DeeKay
Member

We had to take the landline away from my Dad a few years back because of charges that he agreed to for numerous things non of which he remembered diddly about………….non refundable either
In effect the bullies if you want to call them that and I personally dont disagree with you took one of my Dads link to the outside world away……………..If we paid BT as we did several times to change the number it only took a few weeks to he was talking to people he didnt know again…………..It seemed like word got out and it was open season on Granda Kay
It’s easy taking candy from a child just the same as its easy scaring the B*J***s out of someone…………
Our Gov/MPs etc are making money out of everything and as long as the money flow keeps going they’ll smile all the way to the bank…………….
But their all in bed with Mr Ozzy and he knows no bounds…………..he is as far away from reality as anyone can be………….Anyone who would want the powers of the Lords restricted has to be watched and what’s more alarming is that he had some backing!!!!

Member
sandra fraser says:
1 February 2016

Yes we do actually, 59% higher rate than landlines. I get significantly more emails in my spam for loans, insurance, pension/equity release, credit cards, accident/injury claims and ppi claims despite not needing any of them. The same thing happens with my mobile. And my details are not even LISTED!

Member
Marie-Elise says:
1 February 2016

In answer to your question: do mobile phone users suffer this hassle as well as land line users – yes, emphatically, we do! I was being repeatedly called from 084… And 087… Numbers on my mobile and BEING CHARGED, even though I never answered them! Eventually, with assistance from my network provider, I think we have managed to block all 084… and 087… Numbers.

Member
Margaret says:
1 February 2016

I have a Mobil phone and have not given my number to all these companys phone numbers are bought by these company’s what has happened to data protection where phone numbers are sold or given out willy nilly

Profile photo of malcolm r
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Many people have to buy software to protect their computers. It seems an everlasting fact of life that many people aren’t as nice as us. So if buying a device were the only way to stop or limit nuisance (as opposed to legitimate new) phone calls then whether or not I should have to, I would. No point in cutting off your nose etc…..It’s a far from ideal world.

I asked about whether mobile phone users were affected simply because I never have been on the several mobiles we have and have had. Nor do we get more than one a week at most on our landline. So what determines who gets harassed and who does not?

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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malcolm who gets harassed is usually the person/people who interact with others on the web /who buy on the web / who use a supermarket card/ who visit many websites /who dont take precautions or listen to advice about viruses/who allow multiple tracking cookies /beacons etc to travel with them throughout the web /who use open browsers /who use google chrome/ google being the worlds biggest tracker for third party gain (i have 27 google trackers blocked although I dont have google anything on my PC ) but even this website use google , who visit all the social websites of any type including here . Who make statements as to what they like on the media ,who say they want something ,who give their details from their cards to buy in shops . The list is endless I hjave a constant battle as I get round the web to stop trackers tracking me ,at least 4/5 /day try to lock onto me and I block them . How not to get called ? pay by cash in small shops / dont surf the web dont fill in forms on the web , nor in magazines , get a good browser and install multiple tracking blockers , buy Internet virus protection , make all your cookies be removed on browser shut down and program your browser to delete all cookies on your computer or locate where they are on your computer and remove them ,dont use Win 10 thats just asking for tons of emails / snail mails , install LInux ,. Its so bad now that you would need to be anti social and a hermit to stop 100 % sales calls etc . This is the way the Internet is pictured by BB ,we are all consumers to be pressurized into buying something , in mine and my wife,s case funeral payments nothing is sacred even death is commercial.

Profile photo of malcolm r
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We do most of the above. and use Google. I’m also very poor at deleting cookies. But we never use social networking sites. May be that’s a clue?

I just wonder whether anyone has analysed in detail any correlation between peoples activities – as you list for example Duncan – and their exposure to “nuisance” phone calls. Besides dealing with the perpetrators it may be worth seeing if the recipients could change certain of their habits to good effect?

Profile photo of alfa
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I am not on any social networking sites.

I also don’t use price comparison websites but I am on them. I called John Lewis for a car insurance quote and they pulled up all my details from a price comparison website that another company had used to get me a quote!!! Is it any wonder you receive mail from a barrage of companies you have never dealt with when your insurance is up for renewal?

99% of nuisance calls are on my mobile which is with o2 who were hacked some time ago. My mobile is also the number I give out when internet shopping. If I am asked for more than one phone number, my mobile goes into both boxes.

Profile photo of alfa
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Also clear or block Flash cookies as they hold more data.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Alfa -Flash has now become an obsolete app -officially being phased out, although you get sites saying =install flash player it is a spent force . All the big boys are moving to HTML5 ,Flash is so leaky that once they stop it being used to implant viruses on Tuesday by Wednesday its hacked again . Its a total liability but its taken years to admit it to the public . Tech. sites/business sites have known it for years . I removed Flash years ago but when I used Windows it kept downloading itself just like unwanted Win 10 “updates ” I had to go into the registry to remove it ,its easier to keep at bay in LInux. If its on your computer its a liability to infection . Remove or block it in your browser , its old tech. install HTML5 on your browser

Member
James Morrison says:
1 February 2016

We’re talking about dealing with the problem of nuisance calls and you take advantage to express your paranoid theories. Capitalism depends on democracy and the rule of law. It is the rule of law that will stop abusive behaviour. Take of your tin foil hat and enter the real world. Become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Capitalism doesnt equal democracy one of the most spied upon countries in the world is the US , cameras and mikes in every big city , telephones intercepted by the NSA , key words used to spy on telephone/ computer users , try protesting peacefully in the States ,jailed. night sticked ,lose your job , you cant even criticise BB without attracting attention of the authorities ,drones overhead by the 1000,s with satellite quality cameras ,neighbour shopping neighbour if conversation sounds “commie ” ,Rule of law in the UK, for whom ? certainly not if you are rich and powerful , your indiscretions covered up here or the old saying =not in the public interest – one law for the rich another for the poor.

Profile photo of Lauren Deitz
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Hi John, I’ve popped that link in there. Thanks for pointing it out.

Profile photo of Eva Groeneveld
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Yes, John, sorry, i didn’t cross reference the previous article – https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/stop-nuisance-calls-scotland-cold-call/. Thanks for pointing out that we have had the debate about where the powers to tackle the problem lie. The truth is, in lots of different places, which is why Which? is trying to come at the problem from all angles, and bring people together to prioritise the issue.

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
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” The truth is, in lots of different places, which is why Which? is trying to come at the problem from all angles, and bring people together to prioritise the issue. 2

Does all angles include providing data etc for the 1.5m Supporters and subscribers so that the power of mass thought might be able to find a solution?

Perhaps if we list all the benficiaries [firms] that employ nuisance calls to generate business we can then blacklist them publicly so people realise that you should not support cold calling operations.

So before you use any business check whether they are abusers of the telephone system. Go elsewhwere.

I would have thought somebody in the regulation business already has something like but they are not using it effectively.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Diesel -would Which allow a long list of cold calling abusers to be published ? I have hesitated from listing many as I would be accused of being a “lefty ” ( well I am but you know what I mean ) . I know where Which comes from etc but at least it allows somebody like me to post comments to which I am grateful.

Profile photo of John Ward
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Which? already publishes a list of the top ten reported numbers via the ‘Report unwanted calls or texts’ tool associated with the ‘Calling Time on Nuisance Calls’ campaign. This can be seen in the Campaigns section of the website. There are probably thousands of such numbers but I see no reason why they could not be published.

Profile photo of alfa
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A few snippets from around the web on selling personal data:

Yesterday (April 2015) the Office of Fair Trading announced it is shutting down 19 finance websites which specialise in collecting and selling on personal details.

Details collected by MoneySupermarket.com are sold on through a partner at Paaleads.com, while at BeatThatQuote.com, which was recently bought by Google for £37.7million, the process is handled by FinanceLeadsOnline.co.uk. Neither price-comparison website has been criticised by the OFT.

Security firm AVG can sell search and browser history data to advertisers in order to “make money” from its free antivirus software, a change to its privacy policy has confirmed.

The nation’s personal information – harvested by businesses and state-run agencies – is collected, sold, shared, lost and stolen on a daily basis. This could be your address, bank details and date of birth. And the result? Fraud, nuisance calls, creepy personalised adverts and the occasional bespoke voucher that you might use at the shops.

Cold callers are buying Brits’ personal information from foreign firms that flout UK regulations in a multi-million pound racket. Callous teams use the details to pressurise vulnerable people into handing cash to charities. Indian companies buy contact details, including mobile numbers, from UK data firms and use them to cold-call Brits. These firms then con victims into believing they are doing ¬lifestyle surveys over the phone. These full profiles of personal information are sold to UK companies for up to £1.60 each. The details are then sold on again to British charities desperate for cash for their campaigns. The Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s data protection watchdog, is powerless to act as the foreign companies are operating outside of UK law. But Breast Cancer Campaign has been found guilty of breaking fundraising rules after using personal details bought from a call centre in India. The charity, which has raised £60million and is led by Baroness Delyth Morgan, used contacts from Dynaxon IT Services. The Calcutta firm, run by Mahendra Singh, gathered details from potentially thousands of unsuspecting Brits. It then sold the data to Norfolk-based Insight CCI, which calls people on behalf of the cancer charity and asks for money. The Fundraising Standards Board launched an investigation after Insight CCI called a British pensioner last November claiming she was on a “preferred” list of people linked to the charity. The FRSB found her number had been used unlawfully and she had not taken part in the survey, nor given her permission to be contacted. Other leading British charities have recently been accused of taking donations by phone from people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. The ICO has 60 ongoing ¬investigations into organisations suspected of being behind nuisance marketing calls. Steve Eckersley of ICO said: “They can’t get around the law by pretending to conduct lifestyle research.”

COUNCILS have been accused of behaving unethically after making thousands of pounds selling the personal details of voters. Brighton and Hove City Council and Worthing Borough Council have made around £10,000 selling electoral roll information to private firms since 2012. The councils sell two sets of registers containing voters’ information – the full and edited versions. The full register includes details of every city resident who has registered to vote, which councils are obliged by law to sell to credit reference agencies. The ‘edited’ or open register omits details of residents who have proactively told the council they do not want their details sold on. But for those who have not specified, their information is up for sale to anyone willing to buy it, including marketing companies.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is to write to more than 1,000 companies who are involved in buying and selling personal data, as it aims to reduce the number of nuisance calls that the general public receive. According to the data protection regulator, the firms are all believed to play some role in the compiling and trading of lists of names and numbers used by cold callers. In its letter, the ICO will ask businesses to explain how they comply with the law, including what data they share, how they get individuals’ consent for their data to be shared, as well as a list of all the companies they’ve worked with in the past six months.

Profile photo of DeeKay
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Alfa and Duncan,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Good on you,,,,,,,,,,I hadn’t time to read this yesterday but I took a lot of it in this morning
Another load of con artists and crooks that our Gov has for the best part ignore for many years
I dont understand why Moneysupermarket has/is not being held to account if as you say they have been selling of peoples details
Good work guys…………..I enjoy this type of thing

Unfortunately someone will of course come along and defend withheld numbers no doubt

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Until I started researching selling of data on the web, I had not realised how big a business it really is.

It is horrendous when you think about it, all your personal information being bought and sold by goodness knows who to do whatever they like with it.

Whatever happened to data protection? Why are these companies even allowed to exist?

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You done well to keep a few references………….I’ve been suspicious for many years but was simply looking at it along with other things
I think it would be safe to say I am slowly approaching to point of trusting no one/company/corp…………
One may even be face to face to someone who will promise you something but once your out of sight the pressure on them is such that they about turn and toe the line
If I had written my views without ref/quotes I would have been another conspiracy nut so thanks for filling us in with a little detail…….this is interesting to me but not my subject……….

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And this is how its done in the US = The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as part of the US Telecommunications Act -What is a telephone solicitation = a telephone call that acts as an advert . EXCEPT =calls or messages placed with your express permission or a tax-exempt organisation (see post on this site by poster complaining about charities ) . Although having an established business relationship NO LONGER meets the rules for permissible unsolicited calls to your landline phone . Companies + Telemarketers MUST have your express permission to call . There are also additional US States Laws .—- And the action taken for a FEDERAL Violation ??- after a citizen files a complaint with the FCC ,the FCC isue a warning citation, and if ignored ??–FINES will be issued to those companies violating or SUSPECTED of violating the do-not-call rules . And the defined rules = Anyone making a telephone solicitation call to your HOME MUST provide /his/her name-the entity on whose behalf the are calling -AND with a telephone number OR address at which the person OR entity can be contacted . Telephone calls are prohibited before 8 am /after 9 pm – telemarketers MUST comply IMMEDIATELY with any -do-not-call request YOU make during a solicitation call. —Remember this is the HOME of Capitalism BUT they ,the US Government, think more highly of mr/mrs/ms US CITIZEN !

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If you are truly fed up then I would recommend the BT call blocker system 8500 which has stopped almost all of this type of call for us. However we should not have to spend money to avoid such calls and we did not find the telephone preference system worked for us.

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Hello Dave its now over a year since I purchased the CPR Call-Blocker ( the top model ) and have went from 15 calls a day down to Zero. This is the US,s top seller . What a nice quiet life now !

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Hello Which campaign team I got your email about 85 % of Scots wanting the Scottish government to do something about nuisance calls . It has left me a bit puzzled I have already passed comment on Which that that Telecommunications are reserved to Westminster and therefore no Scottish legislation can apply . I was shot down by a poster as saying -you dont need legislation ( maybe thats why HMG has announced that they will introduce LEGISLATION and fines as BB isnt listening ) so exactly what can be achieved by the Scottish government -in those circumstances if the English government cant (or wont ) do anything about it till an uproar is caused ? I realise Which carries a lot of weight on my rounds of the Internet so not just for me but others not only in the UK but the US where Which is also quoted . I am looking for serious action and not ,ifs.buts.maybes. Also if any poster disagrees with me please put practical actions by the Scottish government that will STOP this that the English government cant (without legislation ) .

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Dont worry about being shot down……………take a big breath and go again

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You can buy a single BT 8500 phone with call blocker for £36.99. Whilst I appreciate the wrath that will descend – “we shouldn’t have to pay to stop nuisance calls” (and I agree we should stop them) – unless and until other methods, such as legislation, prove their worth this does seem one way to get round a lot of the problem calls.

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Although we differ on the make of call-blocker Malcolm I agree with what you say . I was particularly struck by the post of a non-regular poster who made the comment that has stuck in my mind . He said- If everybody bought a call-blocker BB would be in Big trouble . To counteract it they would need to employ hackers or “official hackers ” to attack the call-blockers . No this isnt a “conspiracy theory ” Mine has been attacked several times it gives it away by giving off a loud bleep which allows some calls through but a reset cures it. And NO its not the mains or radiation problems I ruled them out. Its got , em worried it seems !

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Duncan I’m really curious do you have a cdv-700 or similar???

Leccy off and on here every hour or two
Big 4cyl genny going but its greedy

For Duncan again
Just before Xmas I had the canopy of our usual/normal stand-by unit shot-blasted and I re-painted it………..for a complete rebuild…………..Its now hard and I can pull it about as such…..
Ex NATO hardened…….big metalized filters on each end………..fans and linear motor operated vents
You’d swear its 20kw by the canopy size
Alternator is a brush type with transformer voltage regulation…………..Look it up it’s really nice and simple

Tiny little 2cyl genset that I looked for years for as they are like hen’s teeth

I couldn’t even find a photo to remind me but one turned up locally which surprised me

Our new cabin is all metal cased in some form or another……………s**t mobile signal inside

Just thought I’d give you something to think about

Sorry for veering off topic…………..one must have interests

Dee

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Dee no I dont have one although I built one decades ago , the detector was dear . It was for the Ukraine nuke explosion that was grossly covered up here in terms of the amount of radiation swept in from Russia ,the East coast got it bad . You and I seem to like the same ex wd shops There,s an ex NATO supplier of electronic gear on line and a ex.wd test gear supplier I buy from. I had a small ac generator -1500W for a few years ,used it a boot sales but when I was starting it up stuff was stolen from my table , got a modified sine wave converter – 1200W worked off 12 car battery ,still have both . Metal cased cabin ? that will cut down spying on you or anybody picking up RF radiation . During the cold War the US used one off those special cages to stop anybody picking up what they said .think it was a Faraday shield . Stop there as some might not like it ,we have interests in common Dee. If I wasnt stuck because of personal circumstances we would have a lot to talk about.

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One last comment before we light the fuse again below the unbelievers……………….Mine never shuts up anywhere here at home……………no sir,,down near zero it does not do…………….but there are area’s several times worse not so far away
Before 86 it was nowhere near as bad
I have a lot of first hand knowledge in this metal cage business…………..It’s nice
Anyhow enough of that………we’ll be emailing shortly if we keep this up

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Here here for Malcolms post

Member
James Kirkland says:
1 February 2016

I installed a ‘Call management System’

Member
patrick h says:
1 February 2016

So called ‘market research’ is a way companies have of getting round the ban on telephone sales via TPS. Can this and political polls also be included in the petition.

Member
deniswight says:
1 February 2016

Email spam has reduced greatly over the last few years thanks to technical solutions by the providers. Surely something similar can be done for phone calls

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I never answer my land line now because of these calls its a disgrace, When will our MPs do something about it, Actions talk louder than words. Sort It Out.

Member
Elizabeth Bolton says:
1 February 2016

Always call at the most inconvenient times umpteen times a day drive me bonkers

Member
june hughes says:
1 February 2016

Sick to death of these nuisance calls I have an elderly father and when my phone rings I always think it may be him and 4 out of 5 times it’s someone selling something or wanting to know who my phone and broadband provider are or the worst are new Boilers New Windows when I stay in a Housing Association flat !

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T.P.S are useless, toothless and full of options none of which do what they say on the box

Member
Ian Rodkiss says:
1 February 2016

There’s a new evil on the internet by way of junk mail that allegedly allows you to unsubscribe , but when you click on the link the web page is never available !

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23 out of 129 MSP is only around 20% youneed to get the message across to more of them.
This is very much an issue that affects thousands of peoples lives on a daily basis and the Scottish government needs to take action.

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What action Derek ? as I have said telecommunications is reserved to Westminster and what can the Scottish government do ,if the English government cant either ??

Profile photo of A.Macfarlane
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I recently discovered a free app for my mobile which seems to have stopped virtually all rubbish calls on that, so it can be done. What we all need is something similar on our landlines before we all get driven totally crazy. Someone should also be looking out for the elderly who neither have the knowledge or cash to be forced into buying call blockers etc.
THIS MUST STOP.

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If there is a pause after you pick up the phone it’s a nuisance call, so hang up. It still brings you to the phone though. Another ploy is to ignore it and then dial 1471. If it’s someone you know you’ll get their number; if it’s a nuisance call they don’t leave their number. I am told that there is a number you can dial to stop these calls, but I don’t know it. Let’s hope the government finds a solution.

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Numerous cold calls received most days` – reason enough to drive me out of Scotland; arranging to live back in England where there is far less of this nuisance. Telephone Preference forget it as it`s ineffective.

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Sure its not the weather Roger ? Just look at the complaints here on Which and where they come from .

Member
Norman says:
1 February 2016

When working I would often come home to find one or two calls on my answering machine. However I retired in January and am appalled at the number of calls I was probably getting who as soon as the answering machine cuts in hang up so they were never recorded. This can be 6-10 per day I am aware of and yes I am not in all the time, and I am on telephone preference.

Member

I bought a BT 8500 Advanced Call Blocker and have never looked back,I have not had even one
rubbish call,I know they are trying to get through as their number still registers on the call log
but it comes up as being blocked which suits us as we used to be bothered every day with these
useless calls,it was not even expensive and certainly well worth the money we did pay.

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I am fed up to the back teeth receiving all these bogus calls its about time the government stepped in and do something about it

Profile photo of wavechange
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I do hope Scotland is successful in bringing about change because we have not done very well in England. I’m glad that Which? is remembering that Scotland exists.

My answer to nuisance calls remains to make it illegal for companies to call us unless we have opted-in to receive marketing calls.

The penalty for making nuisance calls should be to suspend a company’s phone service for increasing lengths of time until they stop making nuisance calls, not waiting until they have made thousands and possibly issue a fine.

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wavechange you have great faith that Scotland can bring about a miracle I dont have that faith as I am being practicable . You can advise people not to do this or that but that wont stop unwanted calls, the companies keep changing the goal posts . I repeat only legislation can bring change (or a revolution ) . You must have read the bible when Jesus talks to the blind man who has gone to a lot of trouble to meet Jesus and when Jesus asks him if he believes he says yes and he is cured ,and Jesus says- never have I found so much faith ,no not in all the land. I admire that faith.

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I don’t know about faith but we – and many others – see the need for legislation. Unfortunately, the government of this country seems to be paying more attention to industry than its citizens. Which? has put a great deal of effort into its campaign to stop nuisance calls but until we have legislation to make them illegal without our consent the problem will drag on.

Profile photo of alfa
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Wavechange, how do you stop companies lying and saying you opted in? How do you stop them pretending they are genuine marketing or charity calls? How do you stop spoofed numbers? How do you protect vulnerable people?

When you get one of these calls, you only have the word of the complete stranger at the other end of the phone. You have no idea if they are telling you truth or lies.

I get called from mobile phone companies trying to get me to take out a new contract. They know I am with o2, say they are from o2, but they are lying and if I believed them, could find myself in a contract with a company I had no intention of joining. I believed the first person who called me and as it sounded a very good deal and said I would check out the phone they were offering me and the person on the other end said they would call back the next day. If I had decided to take up the offer I would have gone into an o2 store NOT do it over the phone. I checked the phone number I was called from and it was from another company. I did question the person the following day and they admitted they were not from o2 but calling on behalf of o2, still a lie.

I gave an example in the previous convo of a lady saying she was doing market research to improve services in my area. She was lying as the questions had nothing to do with services in my area.

As long as cold calling is permitted, scammers will manipulate the system to continue with nuisance calling. The only reason they call you is to get money out of you one way or another and these convos give too many examples of people who have been conned. You should never enter into a contract with a complete stranger on the other end of a phone no matter how convincing they sound. And they are getting more convincing as they “follow” the rules.

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It’s vulnerable people that concern me most, Alfa. I am cautious and have never bought any product or service as a result of a phone call. Even when I receive a call from a company I use, I tell them I will call back after looking up the number.

If we have to opt-in to receiving marketing calls rather than opt-out via TPS, I doubt that many would do this. If most of the calls were illegal then the government could be forced to act. All calls are logged, so if BT was required to confirm that an illegal call was made to a domestic number, action could be taken against the relevant companies. I understand that BT knows the number of the caller even if our caller display shows that it has been withheld or gives a false number.

I want to see market research by phone banned. Even though it is currently legal, the calls are still nuisance calls, and as you have pointed out, marketing calls are often introduced as market research. I have no problem with participating in telephone market research as long as I can make the the call at a time convenient to me.

It would be helpful if Which? had a campaign advising us not to buy goods or services via the phone unless we have made the call.

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Wavechange, can you give some examples of companies you would like to opt in to receive calls from?

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Examples would be companies that provide me with goods and services (so that I have the opportunity to provide constructive criticism and suggestions) and companies that sell products or services relevant to my hobby interests.

Profile photo of alfa
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Wavechange, your examples can easily be achieved with emails, texts or even snail mail that are not intrusive.

Can you say all you would like to say about goods and services when you are put on the spot with an unexpected phone call? What is wrong with a free reply to a text or email if you would like a follow-up call for a service? At least you would be expecting it.

I email, write or phone companies when I have something to say to them. I will even sometimes give them my phone number to call me back but I don’t want them calling me unless there is a very good reason like a problem with an order or delivery or appointment.

I am on a lot of emailing lists. Many I have not signed up for but I don’t have a problem with them as they get directed to my junk folder and I can handle them at a time convenient to me and most of them probably get mass deleted anyway.

There is a big difference between a hobby shop phoning you and saying are you still interested in something and the big business of buying and selling of personal data that leads to all the nuisance calls we get where opting in or out just won’t work.