The Telephone Preference Service - how many calls does it stop really?

The plague of unsolicited sales calls is nearly everyone’s bug-bear, but does signing up to the Telephone Preference Service stop them?

In theory, signing up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) allows you to prevent all sales and marketing calls that you haven't signed up to.

The rules say that companies are not allowed to phone people who are signed up to the TPS register and who haven't previously requested a call.

However, how often do you find yourself mid-way through the latest episode of EastEnders or neck deep in a hot bath when the phone rings? You have to answer it of course, because what if it's AN EMERGENCY? Nope, just an automated voice informing you that are eligible to claim for the accident that you (probably didn't) recently experienced.

So, if rogue companies are ignoring the rules, is being registered on the Telephone Preference Service worth it?

Research, commissioned by Ofcom, has found that people signed up the TPS reduce the number of unsolicited live i.e. in person, marketing and sales calls they get by around a third.

The study found that being registered also resulted in fewer nuisance calls of other types, such as silent and abandoned calls and recorded marketing messages - 35% less in fact.

A lucky 45% of people on the TPS register were completely free of unsolicited live marketing sales calls, significantly higher than the 26% of those who were not registered.

So if nuisance calls like this are your personal bug-bear it's still worth registering on the TPS.

"It's encouraging that people who register with the Telephone Preference Service see a significant reduction in nuisance calls.

"But we understand how frustrating it is to still receive some unsolicited sales calls despite being TPS-registered. That's why we welcome tough enforcement action against rogue companies who breach the rules as part of regulators' joint work to help tackle nuisance calls." said Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's consumer group director.

As well as registering with the TPS, you should also be careful about who you give your contact details to. With opt-in and opt-out options it's easy to tick the wrong box.

Some providers offer additional privacy features for your home phone, so it's worth speaking to your provider.

TalkTalk was the first broadband and home phone provider in the UK to make all of its landline privacy features free, allowing you to reject anonymous callers and bar future calls from the last caller, so if someone calls you from an unwanted number they'll get the busy tone instead.

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