Government clamps down on nuisance calls

The government has announced new measures to clamp down on nuisance calls. When they come into effect, companies will be required to display working phone numbers so customers can identify who’s calling them

Many of us with landlines are regularly subjected to unsolicited calls. They're often pretty annoying, but at their worst they can cause stress, anxiety, and lead to people being scammed by unscrupulous types.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will lay out proposals this week to address the problem. It idea is that forcing companies to provide a caller ID will make it easier for people to refuse to take the call as it will clearer when a marketing call is incoming. It'll also make it easier for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to take action on those companies that do break the rules.

The government says that one in five live and automated marketing calls investigated by the ICO didn't provide a number. And increasing numbers of us are being bothered by these calls - 72% of people said that they have had at least one call to their mobile in the space of a month. That's a 20% increase in just two years.

Lucy Neville Rolfe, minister for data protection, said: "There is no simple solution to the problem of nuisance calls, but making direct marketing companies display their telephone number will help consumers and regulators take action."

The proposals have been broadly welcomed, but some don't think they're enough to fully address the problem of unwanted calls.

Tristia Harrison, the managing director of TalkTalk's consumer business said: "Whilst Government is right to focus on the growing problem of nuisance and scam calls, we'd like to see even stronger action than this, both in going after the scammers themselves and tackling the problem at source.

She also argued that its fellow providers should be doing more to help customers avoid them. "TalkTalk is currently the only provider to offer free call blocking services, and we believe other providers should have to offer their customers the same protection."


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