Nuisance calls/texts, scams and ease of reporting Bookmark and Share Button

Nuisance calls/texts, scams and ease of reporting

Ofcom has estimated that the overall number of nuisance calls made to UK consumers is around 5 billion per year. Silent calls comprise about 1.5 billion calls, abandoned calls around 200 million, live sales 1.7 billion calls and recorded sales messages 940 million, annually. Ofcom estimate the harm caused by all nuisance calls to landlines is £406m per year.

Despite some progress, nuisance calls/texts from businesses – including live marketing calls, silent calls, abandoned calls, and recorded marketing message calls – remain a major cause of consumer irritation, anxiety and distress. They can cause micro businesses to waste their resources. There is also a risk that these unwanted contacts adversely affect people’s likelihood of engaging with commercial services by phone, which in turn could mean lost business for some firms. The potential loss of people’s trust in their communications service is bad both for consumers and businesses.

Nuisance calls remain a significant concern for the Panel. We have worked closely with a range of stakeholders and have seen some tangible progress in this area e.g. the DCMS Nuisance Calls Action Plan, the Which? Taskforce’s report, the budget announcement of a £3.5 million package to explore ways of protecting vulnerable people from nuisance calls, the lowering of the Information Commissioner's Office’s (ICO) threshold for enforcing the regulations and the amendment of the legislation to make it easier to exchange information between Ofcom and the ICO and some CPs’ moves to block nuisance calls at a network level.

Specific Objective

To help reduce both the incidence and the impact of nuisance calls/texts including silent calls and unrequested marketing calls and texts, the Panel will continue to work with Governments, Ofcom, the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), the ICO, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), industry and other consumer groups to encourage: implementation of the recommendations of the taskforce’s review of consumer consent; co-operative efforts between agencies; effective use of the available technology; and support for consumers and micro businesses wishing to report nuisance calls - so that people are well informed and better protected. We will continue to urge communications providers to provide free caller line identification (CLI) for consumers, and look to consolidate progress following our call for all business calls to carry an authentic and returnable CLI - with an exemption process for those that may have a legitimate reason for withholding e.g. abuse shelters.

Previous work includes: