New government proposals could force marketers to show their phone number in bid to tackle nuisance calls
The government has proposed that all direct marketing companies should be legally obligated to display their phone numbers when contacting the public in a bid to reduce the impact of nuisance calls.
It is claimed a requirement for Calling Line Identification (CLI) would make it easier for people to reject and report unsolicited calls and make it easier for authorities such as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to investigate and punish companies who break the rules.
Figures from consumer watchdog Which? suggest the number of nuisance calls and texts has risen by 11 percent in the past year, with three quarters of landline users receiving unwanted calls in any month.
The government says it has made several moves to tackle nuisance calls in recent times, such as reducing the threshold that must be breached before authorities can take action. It says such calls can cause anxiety and stress, while leaving people open to scammers.
“Being pestered by marketing calls is annoying at the best of times and at its worst it can bring real misery for the people on the receiving end,” said Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister for data protection. “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.
“Companies are already being financially punished when they blatantly flout the rules, and mandatory caller ID is just another step we are taking as part of a closely coordinated effort with regulators, industry and consumer groups to tackle the problem.”
A consultation in the plans will take place over the next six weeks and the new requirement could come into effect next spring.
The ICO can already fine those who breach the regulations up to £500,000 and since January 2012 it has issued £2 million worth of penalties. In April 2013, Ofcom fined TalkTalk £750,000 for excessive nuisance calls. The UK’s four main operators have all signed up to the GSMA Spam Reporting Service, which allows users to report text messages without charge.
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