Is the Nuisance Phone Calls Nightmare Coming to an End?
A new law enforced next month by the Government will put an end to bombarding consumers with nuisance phone calls as companies behind them are facing up to £500,000 penalties.
Unwanted Marketing – Nuisance Phone Calls
We have all been there. Receiving calls with withheld ID, answering calls with automated messages or texts from companies we never shared our details with, at least knowingly.
Until now when a consumer receives unwanted marketing communications of any form they can complain at the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office). Nonetheless, even with proof that the caller is breaking the law, action can be taken only after there is proof of “substantial damage or distress” as the law states. According to the current, regulations organisations must have the consumer’s consent to make automated marketing calls or send marketing texts to that person. For live marketing calls, the organisation must not contact people that have opted out of receiving them.
Changes Are Coming – 6th April
And all that until the 6th of April, when the ICO will be able to press charges against companies harassing people with nuisance phone calls aiming to put a stop into this type of annoying marketing tactic. The ICO will then be given the power to interfere and crack down fines of up to half a million pounds.
With the present legislation, many telemarketing companies are still getting away with it. They escape fines due to insufficient evidence of damage or distress as stated by the current law. However, that’s all about to change as according to the new law board members of each company will be held accountable for nuisance phone calls and further accused of not complying with the law. After the six weeks discussions, it was also rumoured that a compulsory Caller Line Identification (CLI) will be put forward, compelling marketing callers to show their caller ID.
Over the recent years, there have been surveys conducted to back up this call for action by the Government. A research from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has shown that four out of five people participating receive nuisance calls at home, with a third of them feeling daunted. Only within a month the ICO had over 15,000 of complaints regarding nuisance phone calls. That sums up to more than 175,000 complaints in 2014 with already a total of 815,000 pounds worth fines to companies. On the same note, seven companies were penalised with a total of £1.6 million pounds for abandoned and silent calls by Ofcom, the communications regulator of UK.
Another national survey had some enlightening results. They found that 26,3 million Brits have been contacted by marketers for high-cost credit, 31,3 million have been contacted by fee-charging debt management companies, 3,2 million are afraid to answer their phones and 39.6 million feel they need more protection from these companies. There are several charities dealing with this matter, running campaigns to raise community awareness and help put a stop in the nuisance phone calls nightmare.
Stopping Nuisance Phone Calls
What consumers can do to deal with nuisance calls:
- When answering the phone or when recording a voice message don’t mention your personal details.
- Forward any texts from unknown numbers to your network’s mobile provider. O2, Orange and T-Mobile use the number 7726, Vodafone use 87726 and 3 use 37726.
- Send it to the Information Commissioner (see below).
- Make sure the person phoning you gives you their details first.
- Contact the Information Commissioner and file a complaint on 0303 123 1113 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.