THE BLOG

Government Needs to Get a Grip on Nuisance Calls and Texts and Put Consumers Back in Control of Their Personal Data

10/06/2013 22:27 BST | Updated 10/08/2013 10:12 BST

We're all sick and tired of being bombarded with nuisance calls and texts and it's no wonder when you consider just how many of us are being affected.

Our latest research reveals that around eight in ten (85%) people received an unsolicited call in the last month, and of these a staggering one in 10 (8%) received 50 unwanted calls or more in the last month. This isn't a problem that's going to go away on its own.

Back in March Which? launched the Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts campaign and set a challenge for the regulators. We asked the Information Commissioners Office, the Ministry of Justice, Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading to form a joint taskforce to stop unwanted calls and texts - and gave them twelve weeks to achieve it.

The time is now up. Although some progress has been made and there has been more coordinated work, it's plain to see this is not enough given the scale of this nuisance.

That's why we are now calling for government to step in and get a grip on nuisance calls and texts once and for all. Consumers need to be put firmly back in control of their own personal data.

Right now there's not much that any of us as individuals can easily do about these calls and texts. It's clear the Telephone Preference Service isn't likely to help you stem the flow of unwanted nuisance approaches.

In fact our latest research shows that while people who signed up to this service did see a reduction in unsolicited calls they still received on average ten unsolicited calls in the last month - as opposed to five for those who hadn't signed up. So it's clear the system is still letting people down.

Which? is calling for a tough new government approach. One that strengthens the law on consent and use of personal data, and gives regulators the power to properly police and punish the offending companies. This will send a clear message that unlawful practices simply won't be tolerated.

We also want to see the government working with industry to develop new technology so that unwanted calls and texts can be filtered out.

A step in the right direction would be ministerial support for a Private Member's Bill we've drafted on 'Reducing Unwanted Telephone Calls and Texts'.

Since we launched our Calling Time campaign 30,000 people have registered their support. I want to assure these consumers, and the many more who are affected on a daily basis, that we mean business.

I wonder how many of you have received a nuisance call or text in the time it's taken to read this?

We won't stop until we are satisfied that the government is taking the right action on this. People should not have to put up with this modern menace.

Pledge your support for the Calling Time Campaign, and help us put an end to nuisance calls and texts.