/ Money, Technology

Ed Vaizey: what the Government's doing about cold calls

Stop button on nuisance calls phone

The Nuisance Calls Task Force today set out recommendations to tackle unwanted calls and texts. Here’s Communications Minister Ed Vaizey on how the Government will make it easier to take on cold calls.

Nuisance calls. The clue is in the name. But for a lot of people they’re more than a nuisance. For some, particularly the elderly and people living alone, the calls – especially when there’s no one on the end of the line – can be unsettling, frightening, or worse.

So a few weeks ago, the DCMS published a short and sharp consultation process around the idea that we should lower or preferably remove the legal threshold before firms doing it could be hit with fines of up to £500,000. How? By lowering or removing the legal threshold that requires there to be ‘substantial damage or substantial distress’ caused to the person taking the call before anything can be done about it.

Taking on nuisance calls and texts

To help get things moving on measures to tackle nuisance calls and the problem of consent sometimes being unwittingly given to future callers, I asked Which? to set up and steer a task force looking at ‘consent’ and ‘lead generation’ in the direct marketing industry. And that’s what they did, bringing together regulators, people from the industry and – most importantly – consumers, to help control and reduce these unwanted calls and texts.

In the meantime, though, progress has been made. In July this year we made it easier for Ofcom to share information with the ICO in respect of companies breaking the regulations, which will help in ICO’s efforts to take more action. Also, we will be making it a requirement for marketing callers to reveal their ‘Caller Line Identification’ – or telephone number, to put it simply – when they call, so that the householder can see the number of the caller displayed on their handset. These are but two helpful changes.

More bluntly, we are also looking at ways of blocking calls at network level, and so preventing them from ever reaching the consumer. Some solutions depend on finding technological answers, while for others it is no more than giving the victims of the ‘nuisance’ better tools to report it, and the regulators stronger powers to impose penalties that will genuinely hurt which, I’m pleased to report, is just what we have done. These things are a good start, and are starting to make a difference.

Nuisance Calls Task Force recommendations

Tonight I’ll be attending a Which?-hosted reception to mark the launch of the Nuisance Calls Task Force report, which makes 15 recommendations. These include making it easier for you to revoke your consent to be contacted, and making senior executives more responsible for the actions of their company. The report provides clear action for business and regulators to act on, and we will carefully consider the recommendations for Government.

The launch of the Task Force’s report will also give people with a direct stake in the business a chance to set out their plans to help make things better. I think this is going to be a productive occasion because, on matters like this, there really is a consensus among reasonable and principled people that something needs to be done about unsolicited calls.

There’s some evidence that the scale of the problem is reducing, and responsible well-established businesses know that nuisance calling is very bad for their hard-won reputations. But some fly-by-night outfits simply don’t care what potential customers think of them. It’s up to the rest of us to stop them carrying on, and that’s what we’re going to do.

This is a guest post by Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy. All opinions expressed here are Ed’s own, not necessarily those of Which?.

Comments

Although it is good that action is being taken, there still seems to be too much pussyfooting around the problem.

People want peace in their own homes and this will not be achieved until ALL cold calling is made illegal.

This includes charities and marketing. They need to find new ways to achieve their aims otherwise scammers will only find a way of fitting into permitted calling.

I like the idea of making telephone networks responsible. It is despicable that companies like BT actually make money out of the misery caused by nuisance calls.

Some time ago, I suggested being able to dial a number to get a third party listening in to the call who could maybe trace or instigate a block on its origin.

Ed Vaizey wrote: “These include making it easier for you to revoke your consent to be contacted…”

Sorry, but I never gave my consent for any company to phone me. This is the problem that needs to be addressed, and we need the government to do whatever is necessary to ensure that no-one receives unsolicited calls. The Telephone Preference Service has had its day.

Hi Ed, I have registered on the TPS & also paid £40 to block these calls but we are still being called at very inconvenient times, Not ashamed at all of my actions because the tps is not good enough I have taken to these callers & shouted abuse at them because we are at the end of our tether, if they cannot understand why I do this its because companies who take money off you to stop this dont work, so, I had to take it in my own hands it as worked but still get the odd niggly ones, I really dont like to resort to this as I am normally a nice person but this just overstepped the mark with me!

“Also, we will be making it a requirement for marketing callers to reveal their CLI”, Err NO. It should be all organisations ( with the obvious exceptions). My mum had a call from someone claiming to be a solicitor wand when quizzed about why as she was registered with the TPS his lame excuse was we’re not a marketing company.

“By lowering or removing the legal threshold” stop pussy footing around, just remove it.

“before firms doing it could be hit with fines of up to £500,000. ” That all ? And why not ban company directors from ever holding such a position again.

“There’s some evidence that the scale of the problem is reducing,” By doing nothing for so long and forcing people to take measures into their hands.

And you also need to add to whatever legislation you come up with that if asked to prove I’ve consented to be contacted the company must be able to provide written proof (that will help with round marketing calls which will opt you in as there won’t be any written proof), no proof being the same as I haven’t consented.

Marketing/surveys whatever calls should be opt in only.

I see the ICO have launched a new webpage for reporting calls. It does seem rather lacking 🙁

Do they understand the scope of the problem ?

Hi all, you may be interested to read all 15 of the recommendations from the Nuisance Calls Task Force – you can do so here: http://www.which.co.uk/documents/pdf/nuisance-calls-task-force-recommendations-388317.pdf or read the summary here: http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/nuisance-calls-and-texts/know-the-issue/

Thanks for the links Patrick, I couldn’t get into them earlier.

There is one major flaw in these recommendations….. Most unsolicited calls originate from foreign call centres and nothing is being done to tackle this.

I’ve just finished doing a interview with BBC Radio WM and just before me someone from Which came on (Pete) who said the TPS does work.

It’s shocked me a little tbh, I take part in all these topics on cold calling and most of the comments say how the TPS is useless.

Why does Which think it works Patrick?

If the Government’s Nuisance Calls Task Force were to take the time to read even some of the hundreds and hundreds of comments on this website, they might actually realise how bad the problem really is and how ineffective the TPS is.

Hi Lee, we do not think the TPS is currently working for consumers. One of our first posts on this topic was about it not working well enough, with a poll that helped make the case for us to campaign to tackle nuisance calls: https://conversation.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/telephone-preference-service-nuisance-sales-calls-texts-phone/

I’ve checked with Pete and he said that TPS can help reduce nuisance calls, but it doesn’t stop them. It is good advice to register with the TPS as only then are these unsolicited marketing calls illegal. You can read more about registering with the TPS here: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/action/how-to-stop-nuisance-phone-calls-

We will see what was said when it’s uploaded to the BBCIPlayer later today haha. That’s the good thing about the BBC, it’s all uploaded into the IPlayer, but to me it sounded like he was giving them a pat on the back.

If I’m wrong I will apologize 🙂

When I have mentioned to nuisance callers that I am registered with TPS I have received various responses such as: ‘sorry – we must have made a mistake’ or ‘we don’t use it’.

I have had thousands of nuisance calls on my landline but only my service provider calls me on my mobile, or did until I made it clear that I would switch provider if they continued to do so. It is frequently suggested that registration with TPS results in more nuisance calls. That could easily be tested by Which?, if this has not already been done.

I very much appreciate that Which? has devoted a great deal of effort to getting rid of nuisance calls but I will continue to push for more drastic action than anything proposed so far.

Sorry for the late come back on this, I’ve just been busy the last few days. I have listened back to the show and this is what was said…..

==

Danny Kelly: “Pete is head of campaigns at Which, good morning Pete”

Pete: “Good morning Danny”

Danny: “Now i’ve been talking about cold calls on this show for years, but it’s only the other day, erm, the other month that I signed up for the TPS and the number of calls has reduced dramatically.

Pete: “Well that’s really good news and ya know people who are with the TPS do report to us a decrease in calls when they sign up to it. But often they don’t stop totally and I think often people are still frustrated by them and the scale of this problem is huge.

Danny: “Mmm yeah” (in a moan / agree kind of way)

==

Maybe I was being too hard on him the other day listening back. (sorry Pete), But when he said “Well that’s really good news and ya know people who are with the TPS do report to us a decrease in calls when they sign up to it.” that is what really got my goat up & I kind of didn’t listen to much after that as I was waiting for my part next.

At one time, spam email was my problem and at its worst I received a hundred or more unwanted emails a day via my work email account. Hotmail and other free email services were the main culprits, and so that I could cope I filtered calls from the free services into the bin for several years. The problem was addressed and for years I have received few spam emails. As far as I know, it was technical solutions rather than threats of fines and other action that succeeded in solving the problem of spam email. Perhaps the same approach could work with nuisance phone calls.

A very simple way to deal with companies that make nuisance phone calls would be to instruct their telephone service provider to shut down their service for anything other than emergency calls for increasing periods (such as an hour, a day, a week, a month) until compliance has been achieved. Obviously this will disadvantage existing customers, and the amount of negative publicity generated by treating companies in this way is likely to be effective.

Fines seem an obvious solution, but may just be treated as one of the expenses of running a company and do little more than increase prices.

Both my landline and mobile have been on TPS for nearly three years, and the problem is actually getting worse; here’s a sample of the excuses I have been given by cold callers this year:-
1) TPS doesn’t cover mobile phones (FALSE)
2) You have re-register with TPS each year (FALSE)
3) We are following up the survey you completed last week/month/year (No such survey)
4) You responded to our text message (No such text was ever sent)
5) You phoned us last week/month/year to report an accident/PPI/etc (FALSE)
6) Your details have been sent to us by Company X, who you have previously contacted (FALSE)
7) This is a survey (usually overseas)
8) This is an information call (usually about PPI/Energy/Debt w/offs/other)
and the usual
9) Your phone number is not on the TPS according to our computer
10) Sorry wrong phone number (really, to my mobile!)
11) What is the TPS? (Yes-a lot of marketing companies have never heard of it)

The vast majority of these cold calls actually come from the UK, the overseas callers tend to specialise in surveys/Computer problems and automated phone calls. Of course phone numbers are withheld, spoofed and false names are given making reporting worthless.

So either scrap the TPS and give the responsibility to the ICO, or give it the same powers as the ICO. TPS is 15 years old and it clearly doesn’t work.

TPS or to give it its correct name; Totally Pointless Service

“These include making it easier for you to revoke your consent to be contacted,” As a previous poster said, I never ever give out my landline number and I’m ex directory so these companies are getting my number from somewhere, aren’t they?

“There’s some evidence that the scale of the problem is reducing,” No, there is no evidence of this. I have been registered with TPS since it’s inception and for a few years it worked but the unwanted calls I receive are increasing year on year as these companies hide behind false numbers and ignore TPS. One company told me that 20% of the calls they make are to people registered with TPS because it isn’t accurate.

Now off to read the 15 recommendations…

My one hope is that Ed Vaizey has taken a few hours out of his day to read the other thread and see first hand the distress and upset it is causing to so many householders. Even I was shocked and I am one of the victims of this.

“These include making it easier for you to revoke your consent to be contacted,”
How do you revoke your, (non existent), consent when the caller refuses to tell you who they are, what address do we then write to when they provide a false address or who do we phone when we are given a false number.

The problem is not reducing, more likely the public have got fed up of complaining and nothing getting done, so the number of recorded complaints have fallen. Bigger penalties and more action will see an increase in complaints!

Included amongst the recommendations is for the ICO guidance to be implemented by marketing companies. Rather than just guidance it should be statute.

At my previous home where I had a landline, I used to receive all kinds of nuisance calls, ranging from marketing of third party Sky warranties to Indians pretending to work for Microsoft as well as fake market research. I used to enjoy swearing at these callers, or in the case of the fake Microsoft employees, I kept them on hold for ages, once 90 minutes, just wasting their time while I got on with something else. I do recommend swearing at nuisance callers; it did seem to reduce the number of calls I received and had the added benefit of allowing me to voice my feelings about this intrusive practice. Perhaps I was put on a blacklist of people whom they shouldn’t call.

In my new home I don’t have a landline and I’m never disturbed by this nuisance.

NFH, nothing wrong with swearing at them, good for you, and you should hear how I speak to them (or perhaps not) and if that results in being blacklisted and they don’t call anymore then that suits me just fine.

And to any cold callers who might have been offended by the language I’ve used on you. if you don’t want to be spoken to that way stop making intrusive unsolicited calls to me. Easy really isn’t it?

Regarding how we might move forward with legislation. Well, ban unsolicited calls for marketing and “surveys” unless you actually opt in. And phone service providers should give customers the option to turn on or off international call barring. This is the only sure fire solution to the current pain in the neck problem, as far as I can see.

Mandatory CLI, ban cold calls (marketing, charity and anything else that can be described as ‘nuisance’) to ex-directory numbers. Award enormous fines to perpetrators. Handsomely pay rewards to whistle-blowers on conviction of a company making unsolicited cold calls. (Finance this from fines and closing the toothless TPS.)

Block all non-CLI calls at the source exchange. We have the technology to stamp this out: let’s use it.

Award enormous fines to perpetrators. Handsomely pay rewards to whistle-blowers on conviction of a company making unsolicited cold calls.” – This is an excellent idea. Self-financing enforcement! Some of the people working for cold callers might realise that they can make more money from whistle-blowing than from cold calling.

“Block all non-CLI calls at the source exchange” – How would this work when many of the culprits are outside the UK?

For the avoidance of all doubt, let it be clearly understood by the government, regulators, service providers, and others, that any call we do not want is a nuisance. It’s time to stop this wishy-washy, pussy-footing, is- it-this or is-it-that, sort of fancy-dancing around the problem and take the action that everyone in these Conversations is collectively demanding. Without actually counting every contribution I would go so far as to say that the vote is unanimous. This is one of the few things the government could do that would cost very little but spread a lot of happiness.

Search for the ‘Most commented’ Conversation and there is a poll in which we were asked: “Are you fed up with nuisance calls and texts?” The Yes vote was 100%. Even if Which? Conversation is not representative, I believe that there is strong public feeling about nuisance calls.

Richard Lloyd discussing nuisance calls on BBC TV this evening: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30378298

Despite previous promises of fines for companies involved in making nuisance calls, I can see only SIX examples of fines mentioned in the Enforcement section of the ICO website. In a Freedom of Information request made last year, there is mention of appeals, prompt payment discount and failure to pay fines. It would be very interesting to know what fines have actually been collected and how much this has cost the taxpayer.

As I have suggested before, the telephone service of offending companies should be cut off.

If the company does not pay then transfer the fine to the Directors. Simples!

The £500 000 level has been available for at least 18 months. This is nothing new.

The ICO can never be effective at dealing with this issue. The rules under which they operate do not allow them to cause financial hardship to any company. In any case, from millions of complaints, there have been just a handful of actions.

Many of the regulators covering specific business sectors have the power to suspend or revoke the licences to trade of the businesses they regulate. This option has been ignored for the last decade or more, which is why the problem remains unsolved.

Readers interested in what the fair telecoms campaign has to say on the matter, and in hearing what we said on the BBC can check out our News | News Feed.

Essentially, we fear that the ICO is indeed “outgunned on this”. It is good to know that Which? shares this view, despite having spent a lot of energy focussing on refinement on its ineffective powers.

David – Why not support Which? rather than sniping at them? I have little doubt that we will still be complaining about nuisance calls for some time to come but I strongly feel that we should pull together and do what we can.

I wholly agree that those of us who share a common interest only in getting something effective done about Nuisance Calls should work together. In reality, and especially for those in the world of Politics, people have other interests to pursue. We recognise, and respect, the desire of Which? to be seen as the sole champion of the consumer interest.

We will continue to put forward constructive and positive ideas for meaningful action that could be taken. If others prefer to fiddle about with tweaks to a failed regime, that is for them. Over the 10 years that I have been engaged in campaigning on this issue there have been many regulatory initiatives as modest as those proposed by this Task Force – albeit that not all of them have had the power of the Which? PR machine behind them. In every case, implementation has had no discernible beneficial effect.

Although we cannot expect acknowledgement, I note that some of the points we have been making for many years are starting to be reflected in comments made – essentially a recognition that the role of the ICO (and that of Ofcom) can only ever be subsidiary to that of the powerful sector regulators (e.g. FCA, CMR and Ofgem, in respect of the most widely reported cases of Nuisance Calls).

My personal view if that there should be no opportunity to consent to unsolicited telemarketing (by voice or text) in respect of Payday Loans, PPI or Accident Claims and Green Deal arrangements – because that means of obtaining leads (including via third parties) should be quite simply prohibited. Only those responsible for regulating specific markets may make such decisions and impose and enforce the relevant prohibitions. Similar consideration should be made in respect of other areas (in addition to these examples), because that is how regulation is designed to work in the UK.

To the victim it makes no difference – nuisance is nuisance wherever it comes from. Effective intervention by regulators must however be focussed – it cannot be quite as closely aligned to the consumer experience as would be the case in an ideal world. It may have taken a long time, but I am starting to get the felling that this is, at last, being recognised.

For the telephone user, there has to be some effective means of allowing all wanted calls to get through, whilst doing as much as possible to filter out the Nuisance Calls that will continue to be made. There is one design which has been shown to be very effective in doing this. We believe that this must be made available to all telephone users, via the networks, as soon as possible.

Thanks David. I have never seen Which? as being the sole champion of consumer interest and I hope that they don’t make that claim.

You know more about legislation than I do, so could you please comment on my suggestion that companies shown to be making nuisance calls should have their phone service interrupted for increasing periods until they comply with the law? I cannot see any drawback other than legislation to permit this penalty might need to be pushed through as soon as possible, and that it would need the cooperation of the phone service provider.

I work for a couple of charities and have my landline and mobile numbers on websites, for the benefit of callers that could help us. Obviously I do not want to do anything that might discourage callers, so I don’t see call blocking devices as an option. Incidentally, I don’t get nuisance calls on my mobile phone so I don’t see that publicising my contact details is the cause of the problem.

Hi David, when we first published our post on the PECR consultation, we wanted to do so as quickly as possible after it was announced to give consumers as much time as possible to feed into it. As you may recall, the DCMS issued their press release on a Saturday (25 October) and the media coverage that followed did focus on ‘anxiety, inconvenience and annoyance’. In our original Convo we outlined the options as we understood them at that point. You pointed out that we sounded like we were backing one particular option, and so we edited the piece to mitigate that. What happened then was we had to consider what our formal response would be by the closing date of the consultation: Sunday 7 December. We could only do this once we had time to consider the actual consultation paper which we received on Monday 27 October. As you know, our consultation response backs the Government and ICO’s preferred option to remove the ‘test’ altogether but we have done so with two important qualifications.

1. Under the Government’s preferred option, there is still a requirement to prove the PECR infringement was ‘serious’. We have suggested to Government that clear guidance may be needed as to what constitutes a serious contravention to ensure that this “seriousness” requirement isn’t used to resurrect the “substantial damage and distress” threshold via the back door.

2. The Government must keep under review whether ICO has adequate funding to take any additional necessary enforcement action under PECR.

For those that are interested (in fact, you’d have to be VERY interested) in the policy detail, our short consultation response is here:
http://www.staticwhich.co.uk/documents/pdf/which-response-to-dcms-consultation-document-on-pecr–388479.pdf

There is one final bit of good news. At the launch of the Task Force report, the Ministers who received the report – Ed Vaizey MP from DCMS and Simon Hughes MP from MoJ – both committed to responding to their PECR consultation by the end of the year. Yes, this year: 2014. This might mean the law could change early in 2015. We hope by April 2015 at the very latest.

“Under the Government’s preferred option, there is still a requirement to prove the PECR infringement was ‘serious’”

As others have mentioned any call I have not requested should be viewed as a potential nuisance call, regardless of how it makes me feel. Certainly calls from companies I do not have any form of contract with.

I have signed up to a register to not get cold calls, not get some on the off chance they don’t cause get me stress etc

Companies making just one cold call against the rules should be gone after not after they’ve reached some arbitrary number.

Or maybe I can start up a company cold call people make n – 1 calls , close that company start again repeat. And I’d never have to worry about regulators/government etc. In fact I’d be laughing at them.

I DON’T WANT THEM FULL STOP.

“This might mean the law could change early in 2015. We hope by April 2015 at the very latest.”

Guess what’s happening in May…

Oh! An election! Quelle surprise!

Discussing the criteria of “Serious Infringement” is a red herring.

If you receive an unsolicited marketing call – especially if you are registered with the TPS – must be a serious infringement. It’s like saying ‘how many mph must I be doing to break the speed limit law’.

I frequently get ‘dead’ calls. These calls are due to automated dialling equipment that simply dials random numbers and passes them through to available operators when they are answered. These companies don’t give a rat’s a**e if one, two, 1,000 or 5,000 calls get answered whilst there are no operators free to answer them. All they are interested in is keeping their operators continuously busy pushing their (usually suspect) services or wares.

Going back to CLID: it should be mandatory that every call must be identified with a genuine number that can be reached and will be answered. I’m quite happy for doctors and other (IMPORTANT) services can use a different number than they are calling from. For example, a doctor’s phone can display the general enquiry number for the surgery. But it just must be a genuine number.

It’s not rocket science to stop all these unwanted calls. It just need effective legislation with effective punishments for all the transgressors. I pay for my telephone and the monthly rental for the line: I should be able to know who is calling and abusing my line.

I think it is important that some actions are made illegal with criminal sanctions, these include:

Passing on customer contact details without consent
Spoofing the caller-id or failing to provide a valid caller id
Using false company names
Pretending to be conducting market research

I totally agree. Your first point us vital. Too often businesses hide behind the Data Protection Act whilst flagrantly breaking it. Privacy flies out the window if it means making profit.

CallerID must be made compulsory. The TPS needs to be scrapped and replaced with a regulator with teeth.

I hope that most people are aware that the TPS is funded by the Direct Marketing Association, which supports telephone sales calls. It is unable to enforce compliance and according to Wikipedia, “… a 2013 survey by Which? found that people registered on the TPS list received twice as many marketing calls as those not on the list.” We don’t entrust running the police force to criminals, so it seems daft to let the DMA run the TPS. 🙂

I would be interested to know if the actions mentioned by AJ are already illegal.

The actions mentioned by AJ breach the 1998 DPA (data sharing without consent) and the PECR2003 (failure to give the caller’s name) and if your TPS registered, breaches the PECR2003 by making a marketing call (even though they claim otherwise). I don’t think spoofing of their number is specifically covered by DPA or PECR but I may be wrong on that point.

But as mentioned numerous times, TPS has no statutory powers, all it can do is to kick their member out of the DMA and report their findings to the ICO. Since most nuisance callers are not members of the DMA, it’s pointless.

My poor mum is currently in hospital and guess what she’s already had a call about PPI.

From the website of the Direct Marketing Association: “The EU Data Regulation (EUDR) is real. It’s coming and few are prepared for the impact. The new law (enforceable during 2017) clearly states that brands will need permission before sending emails, direct mail or calling prospective customers. Right across Europe, the broadly opt-out system for direct marketing consent will change to an opt-in rule.”

I had missed this very encouraging news.

Good news if the law is enforced; but virtually all of my current nuisance calls, texts and emails are already being sent without my permission and when challenged, the senders are unable to provide any evidence that I consented to their marketing. Some of the classic excuses include:-
1)Your friend signed you up (very popular with emails)
2) It was entered on a web site ( 5years ago; the web site didn’t exist then)
3) The government gave us your number to call on their behalf!
4) You took part in a survey 4 years ago, but we only keep your phone number but no other details
5) You asked for an insurance quote (7 years ago) so that allows us to phone you again
Actually no 5 is true, I did ask for a quote, but online and I had a different phone number then!

Here is what Ofcom has to say about consent, which goes some way to address the concerns that Castle has mentioned:

“However, TPS registration does not work if you have directly given consent to receive live marketing calls to a particular organisation (Note 4). There are a number of ways that you may have given direct consent. Tick boxes at the bottom of forms are one common example. On some forms you may have had the chance to opt-in, or in some cases opt-out, of direct marketing by that organisation. By opting-in (or not opting-out) you may have provided consent to that organisation to make sales and marketing calls to you, even if your number is registered with the TPS. You should therefore always take care when completing forms that you have not opted-in to such marketing by not explicitly opting-out.”

Note 4. “Consent given for marketing calls is only valid for that particular organisation that receives it. Other organisations that buy or rent lists of numbers cannot rely on the consent already obtained, and must screen those lists against the TPS register to avoid breaching the regulations.”

I believe that Which? is pushing for uniformity in how we do give consent. We should also think about how long consent should last. When I decide to leave an insurance company I phone them to explain why I have left and to instruct them not to contact me by phone or email, warning that if they do their company will be blacklisted. I have had some success with this approach.

Wavechange, thanks for the information about Ofcom,

I think the most important controls should be:-
1) How long consent should last for; personally I think it should only be 6 months from when you gave consent for 3rd parties and at most 2 years for the company with whom you have a direct relationship, unless you opt out earlier. Maybe there should be an annual opt in requirement so that consent automatically lapses after 1 year.

2) You must be given the names of all of the 3rd parties at the time your details are collected.

3) 3rd parties to be prohibited from passing your details on; 6 months use only by them

4) Caller is required to provide proof of consent: at present in virtually every case the caller claims that they has obtained my phone number from another 3rd party, and that I had given consent to that 3rd party. Clearly this does not comply with Note 4, but the caller is not required to provide proof, and the 3rd parties may not actually exist.

I very much hope that the government will put the needs of its citizens as a higher priority than companies, especially considering how much hassle we have endured in recent years. In my view, telephone marketing should never have been permitted without prior consent.

I’m glad the EU is good for something. If the EU can bring in these laws, why can’t the UK?

Stuart says:
11 December 2014

Just stopping the legal profession from cold calling or companies doing so on their behalf would in my view remove over ninety percent of this curse. First it was PPI then hearing claims. I had a minor car accident in the summer that resulted in well over one hundred calls no one else was involved, there was no one to litigate against just someone released my contact details. Finally in October a company contacted me with an offer to register me with TPS and monitor my calls so reducing them. I declined as I am already registered with the useless TPS. I then had a sharp increase in calls of this nature followed by further offers from the same company. This in my book is extortion as most of these calls I suspect originated from that same company. If any other bunch of crooks caused so much misery to the rest of the community I’m sure action at a governmental level would have already been effectively taken but as this problem has its roots firmly buried within our own legal profession there seems to be great reluctance to do anything robust to stop this blight on our community. Making it easier and free to block no caller id calls at network level would be a very quick fix for some of these calls. After all most of us pay a lot of money to the providers for our land line and mobile services but because of these calls ignore most incoming calls totally.