Two regulators are to look into the work of the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) to see if it is doing its job of protecting consumers from nuisance phone calls.

Ofcom and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) have teamed up to launch a new driveto tackle the problem of nuisance calls. (See our tips for how to Stop Junk Calls.)

The free TPS allows people to opt out of receiving live, unsolicited sales or marketing calls. It's illegal for firms to call numbers which are registered with TPS, unless they already have permission from the individual whose number it is.

Now Ofcom and the ICO are to assess the service to "evaluate how well the TPS is currently working for consumers".

The two organisations are to work together on a series of initiatives to tackle live calls, silent calls and abandoned calls.

Ofcom research says 22% of unwanted calls come from companies offering to deal with PPI claims, and is investigating silent and abandoned calls made by claims management firms.

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The two watchdogs say they will:

  • Improve their call and message tracing processes to track down those responsible for making nuisance calls.
  • Target enforcement, which includes fines against non-compliant organisations, including silent callers.
  • Publish revised guidelines on how consumers give their permission to receive calls, and what enforcement the ICO can take against those who ignore the rules.

The move follows the Government's announcement yesterday that it's planning a number of measures to combat nuisance calls (see the Government mulls nuisance calls crackdown MSE News story).

Earlier this year, Ofcom also launched a five point action plan to battle nuisance calls (see the Ofcom to tackle nuisance calls MSE News story).

Ofcom uses its powers to deal with silent and abandoned calls, while the ICO has responsibility for dealing with nuisance marketing calls and unsolicited text messages.

Simon Entwisle, ICO director of operations says: "Only concerted, joint action can tackle the consumer menace of nuisance calls.

"This plan shows we mean business and outlines how we will continue our work with Ofcom to tackle the problem."

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