Nuisance Calls Taken Under Control
Picture this: you’ve walked into the house after work, put on your favorite sweats, and sat down to dinner. You’re starting to relax when the phone rings – and when you get up to answer it, the caller isn’t a family member or old friend. Instead, it’s an unfamiliar voice trying to sell you some service or item, and they are far more persistent than your tired self can manage. The nuisance call is a rising problem in today’s consumer-centric world, and the Culture Media and Sport Committee of the British Parliament has just published a long-awaited report pertaining to the issue.
The number of nuisance calls in the UK reached record heights over this past year, and the Committee’s report puts forward a number of suggestions for cutting back on the problem. In particular, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) and Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) should wield their power to act against nuisance calls. More specifically, the report recommends the dismissal of nuisance calls for a single regulator, a ban on cold calling, a fixed duration for consent and clarification of its rules, and an increased use of call tracing facilities by phone companies. The report also proposed harsher penalties to discourage breaches in nuisance-call regulations.
In spite of the Committee’s suggestions, many people in the UK are not entirely receptive of the report, thinking that more drastic steps than the Committee offered will be required to put a stop to nuisance calls. The Fair Telecoms Campaign has advocated for serious change for some time now, and its response to the recent report indicate its desire to push forward in nuisance-call regulations. For instance, it noted that while the Committee’s report did recommend consumers not to answer direct-marketing calls, it failed to acknowledge anything about regulators prohibiting telemarketing as a practice. The Fair Telecoms Campaign also stated that the Committee’s focus on caller display is misplaced, pointing out that those who wish to conceal their telephone numbers will find ways around caller display anyway. The primary recommendation of the Fair Telecoms Campaign was a single nuisance-call helpline, staffed by Ofcom, ICO or both, to direct individuals to aid.
Whether the approach turns more radical or remains as guidelines, any step toward the controlling of nuisance calls is a step worth taking – maybe now, when you get home from a long day, you can enjoy your dinner in peace.
Edited by Ryan Sartor