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Hold the phone! Consultation under way in an effort to increase the regulations surrounding unsolicited marketing calls

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There are few people who haven’t been subjected to a “nuisance call”, whether it be selling pet insurance, advocating the benefits of double glazing that you just can’t do without or informing you of a PPI claim you are allegedly entitled to make.

The issues associated with nuisance calls are widely reported. Which? is working with the government and has implemented a nuisance calls and texts campaign because it wants to “stop you being bombarded by this menace”. Members of the public can report a nuisance call or text via its website. The Information Commissioner’s Office (the “ICO”) also wants to know about any nuisance calls and texts you receive – go to https://www.snapsurveys.com/swh/surveylogin.asp?k=138312369469 to complete their survey.

Once your number is registered with the telephone preference service (the “TPS”), you should be protected from unsolicited marketing calls 28 days following registration. Organisations are legally obliged to refer to the TPS before making calls. You can register for the TPS at http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/number_type.html.

In general, you should not receive marketing via e-mail or text messages unless you have given your prior consent.

If you would like further information in respect of nuisance calls, Ofcom has published a number of useful guides at http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/phone/tackling-nuisance-calls-and-messages/.

Does your company make unsolicited marketing calls?

You should also ensure you have the appropriate systems in place to record when a person requests that you do not make any further unsolicited calls to them, and that no further calls are made to the relevant individual.

The DCMS’ consultation centres on increasing the ICO’s ability to enforce the Regulations, particularly in respect of unsolicited calls.

The number of complaints made by consumers to the ICO in respect of unsolicited marketing phone calls (better known as “nuisance calls”) and text messages has increased significantly over the past three years from 7,526 to 161,620.

The deadline for responses to the consultation is 7 December 2014, after which a summary of the responses received will be published on the DCMS website. Depending on the outcome, amendments may need to be made to the Regulations.

If you are a company that makes unsolicited calls, you should ensure that you keep up to date with the progress of the consultation and any amendments to the Regulations.

 

If you an unwilling recipient of unsolicited calls, the end may be in sight…

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