Nuisance calls - your rights

If you are receiving unwanted calls then what should you do, from annoying sales calls to silent calls with no one there, how do you solve the problem, this weeks blog looks at your rights for the different situations.

Nuisance Calls

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Unwanted Phone calls

What would you do if you were faced with the same situation? It is simply not acceptable that you have to avoid answering your own phone. The first thing you should do is contact the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), run by the Direct Marketing Association. The service is free and allows you to opt out of receiving marketing communications and includes preventing marketing calls from business development firms, charities, voluntary organisations and political parties. You can register your home and mobile numbers with the scheme.

According to Ofcom research, your unwanted phone calls will reduce by one-third.
Once you are registered, organisations are not allowed to call you unless you have given prior consent. 45% of those registered on the list receive no more cold calls. 

Prior Consent

When you sign up with new websites there are often 2 tick boxes, one for their terms and conditions and the other to receive communications from select partners. Do not tick this box, ever! If you do, you are consenting that data can be sold legitimately to third party companies and this is considered prior consent.

Even though you may have opted out via the Telephone Preference Service you will still receive communications from companies that have your data via this process. This loophole is extremely unfair and the Government is now considering if this law should be changed. Personally, I find it unbelievable that this law still exists and it certainly needs to be amended as Alex’s case demonstrates!

Silent phone calls

If you are receiving silent calls this is usually from an automated system in a Contact Centre. The system automatically dials phone numbers and if you answer, you are then connected to a member of staff in the Contact Centre. However, if no one in the Contact Centre is available then you receive the silent call. 

If the company is using this system they must publish their phone number. Once you get off of the call, ring 1471 to find out the number or call your phone provider and request the caller’s phone number and then make a complaint.

Automated sales call

These are known as lead generation calls, looking to capture your details or leads to sell to a firm. Companies making these calls must have your permission to make these calls to you. If you have not given permission then you should contact the Information Commissioners Office with as much information as possible. Call them on 0303 123 1113.

Making a complaint

If you are still receiving unwanted phone calls then you should make a complaint to the Telephone Preference Service.
  • When you receive the phone call ask the person what company they work for and their telephone number. Be sure to make a note of the number. Top tip: sometimes you can also obtain the phone number after finishing the call but prior to the next call by dialling 1471 on your home phone. 
  • Contact the Telephone Preference Service and make an official complaint and it will be investigated. 

Unwanted text messages 

 The Telephone Preference Service cannot help with unwanted text messages. Forward unwanted texts to 7726 and these will register as unwanted text messages with your mobile provider.

Top tips for the phone 

If you receive a phone call requesting any financial details or PIN numbers stating that they are checking your details, we strongly recommend that you refuse to divulge any information.

Talk to your home or mobile phone provider about what options they have to deal with nuisance calls in order to resolve these issues. On the iPhone, you can choose to block a phone number. You can also obtain phone call identification but you will need to pay an additional charge for this service. You will be able to see the incoming call number. Get your phone number listed as ex-directory by contacting your phone provider. Your details will not be published anywhere.

Harassing phone calls 

If you are receiving rude or harassing phone calls then you should contact your phone provider for assistance and to investigate the issue. These calls are a criminal offence and will, therefore, be taken very seriously by your phone provider. You can contact your phone provider on one of the following numbers:

BT 0800 661 441 

Carphone Warehouse & Talk Talk 0870 444 1820

Post Office 0845 600 3210 

Sky 08442 414 141 

Tiscali 0871 222 3311 

Tesco 0845 300 7080 

Virgin Media 0800 953 3333 

If you are extremely concerned then contact the Police on 101 and they can trace the phone call.

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