Clampdown on nuisance callers

OFCOM says silent and abandoned calls are one of their most complained about subjects. The findings form part of a five-point action plan launched at the start of the year in efforts to resolve the problem.

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Your views on nuisance calls:

  • LP Timeline on Facebook says: "Definitely should be a clamp down, I get them constantly even though my number is never given out by myself, ex directory, ranging from accident compensation, to the latest who are borderline harassment free boilers, have asked them to be taken off their list."
  • Corrina Price on Facebook says: "I get at least 6 a day, don't answer my home phone anymore."

You can join the conversation on our Facebook page or on Twitter @ITVWales

Bill to tackle nuisance calls

Some people say they receive more than a dozen calls a day Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Conservative MP Alun Cairns wants to introduce a bill to legislate against nuisance calls and is asking for members of the public to come forward with evidence to back this bill. He says making businesses apply for permission to withhold their phone numbers could help stop us from getting them.

Alun Cairns MP says, "This is a significant issue, particularly for those who are at home during the day, many of whom are pensioners. It is not unusual for some to receive a dozen or more calls a day. The current process to complain is complicated and the laws are confusing."

Telephone Preference Service responds to nuisance call figures

The communications regulator Ofcom says it's cracking down on companies which make nuisance calls.

It's published research today, which found that people get an average of two calls a week, where someone tries to sell them something they don't want, or there's nobody on the end of the line.

To help stop these calls, you can register with the Telephone Preference Service. The company has responded to the latest Ofcom figures:

Companies by law can’t contact anyone registered on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) unless they’ve given specific permission to do so.

We’ve seen a significant increase in the complaints received over the past few months as they have tripled since January 2012. According to our figures, this is largely because of increased marketing activity of payment protection insurance (PPI), accident claims, energy comparison services, insulation grants and lifestyle surveys.

The TPS provides the tool for companies to comply with the law. It’s up to companies to choose to comply with the law, and up to the regulators to choose to take action against the companies that break the law.

The Information Commissioner's Office has the power to enforce these regulations and deal with companies operating outside of the law. I advise people receiving unwanted calls to make a complaint to us as we refer every single one to the regulator for investigation.

– John Mitchison, Head of the Telephone Preference Service


Nuisance calls: Your views

Christine Price on Facebook: My phone ringer is turned off these days - sort of defeats the object I know, but they were driving me bonkers!

Laurie Parker on Facebook: We get them all the time so our landline is now unplugged. They've also started phoning our mobiles too - it's really annoying!

Phillip Gilliver on Facebook: We get them four or five times a day. We've had to install a phone with an answering machine for family to leave messages. We just don't answer the phone anymore.

Here's how you can get in touch:

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Twitter - @itvwales

Facebook - ITV Wales

Ofcom: 'Action' needed to tackle nuisance calls problem

Ofcom says it is working hard to reduce the "growing problem" of nuisance calls - but has called for more action.

It wants current regulations to be reviewed, and says it is working on ways of tackling the "root causes" of nuisance calls, which it will share with the UK Government.

Two nuisance calls a week is too many and this detailed research will help us understand the root cause of the problem.

We will use the full range of our powers to tackle abandoned and silent calls, but this is a complex area that requires joint action from a number of different agencies and Government. We are therefore working with the Government and other regulators to help drive a coordinated and more effective response to nuisance calls.

– Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director

Ofcom has announced it is investigating suspected abandoned and silent calls made by claims management companies, "using the full extent of its legal powers."

In January, it published a five-point action plan for tackling the problem - including trying to better trace the companies behind nuisance calls, and better enforcement.

TalkTalk was fined £750,000 last month for making an excessive number of abandoned and silent calls.

Two nuisance calls received per week, study finds

People experiencing nuisance calls get an average of two every week, according to research from the communications industries regulator Ofcom.

Nuisance calls include unwanted sales calls, where a call centre worker is on the other end of the line, recorded messages, or silent calls, where there is nobody there when you pick up.

Ofcom's research found:

  • 82 percent of people received at least one unwanted call over a four-week period
  • Among these consumers, they received an average of two nuisance calls per week
  • More than half of identifiable unwanted recorded sales calls were from Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) claims companies
  • 86 percent of nuisance calls were considered 'annoying', 7 percent 'worrying', and 3 percent 'distressing'

853 people around the UK with home landline phones were spoken to for the study.

It asked consumers to keep a diary to record all unwanted calls.

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