Telephone Preference Service is failing to stop nuisance calls, warns report


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The Independent Online

The Telephone Preference Service is a failure and needs to be replaced or given stronger powers.

In a hard-hitting report published today the consumer group Which? says the TPS is failing to cut off nuisance calls and texts leaving 57 per cent of those who register with the service unhappy.

It has demanded that the Government steps in to strengthen the law on consent and the use of personal data, to give regulators more powers to enforce the law, and to work with industry to provide technical fixes to filter out unwanted calls and texts.

Which? research shows that 85 per cent of people received an unsolicited call in the last month, with one in 10 being bombarded by 50 or more unwanted calls.

The biggest villains are firms flogging payment protection insurance compensation claims, which bothered 62 per cent of people with unwanted calls.

Accident claim firms were not far behind, hitting 48 per cent of people with nuisance calls.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: “Consumers are sick and tired of being bombarded with nuisance calls and texts.  The current system is failing the public and given the scale of this problem, it’s time for the Government to step in. 

“We urgently need to see a new approach, new laws and new technology to tackle this scourge on people’s lives. People must be put back in control of their personal data.”

John Mitchison, head of the TPS, said: “TPS registration stops unsolicited calls from law-abiding companies that check names against the 'do not call’ list. However, it can’t physically block calls from rogue companies that flout the law.

“We agree with Which? that further steps must be taken to stop nuisance calls. The legislation to support this already exists; companies breaking the law are liable to fines of hundreds of thousands of pounds. Government regulators need to enforce the law.”

The research showed that even after signing up with the Telephone Preference Service, people still received, on average, double the average number of unsolicited calls than those not signed up. While people who registered report a decrease in nuisance calls, they received on average 10 unsolicited calls in the last month. This compares to five on average for those who have not signed up.