Modern Marketing

Which? pressures government into tackling cold callers

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

June 10, 2015 | 3 min read

Consumer watchdog Which? has urged the government, regulators and businesses to clamp down on nuisance calls and texts with complaints about the practice numbering in the tens of thousand in the last few months.

Since December, a nuisance calls and texts task force chaired by Which? has noted 61,500 complaints sent to the Information Commissioner’s Office about the marketing technique, documenting the intense consumer distaste for such schemes.

The body is urging – and informing – consumers to complain about unwanted calls and texts to pressurise the industry to change.

Plans outlined by Which? want to make company executives legally accountable for cold calling and give consumers more control of their personal data.

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Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Despite a clear action plan from the nuisance calls task force, it’s disappointing that so many unwanted calls and texts are still being received. People are sick of being bombarded with nuisance calls that invade their privacy and waste their time.

“The government knows what’s required to tackle nuisance calls, so we need to see more sustained action, with senior executives held to account, to help put an end to this everyday menace.”

John Mitchison, head of preference services at the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), added: "Successful marketers need to think about the consumer and what they want. The DMA's new principles-based code of practice promotes corporate responsibility above and beyond legal compliance, which is enforced by an independent watchdog; and we have established an industry accreditation scheme, TPS Assured.

"If more consumers complain, this begins a virtuous circle, where rogue callers can be held to account and prosecuted by the Information Commissioner’s Office. This in turn will act as a deterrent for those considering rogue telemarketing.”

Nearly 200,000 people have backed Which?'s 'Calling Time', while companies including BT and SSE publicly pledging their support.

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