Doncaster MP welcomes changes on nuisance callers

Rosie Winterton
Rosie Winterton

A Doncaster MP leading a campaign against nuisance phone calls has welcomed proposals for a crackdown on companies who flout the law.

Officials say the Nuisance Calls Action Plan will lower the threshold for taking action against organisations which make unwanted calls.

Ultimately it will mean more can be fined.

Rosie Winterton, who is spearheading the Freeze Out Cold Calls campaign, launched in 2012, believes the changes are a step in the right direction.

The Doncaster Central MP said: “Only this weekend I met with a group of constituents in Bessacarr who have had some awful experiences with unwanted phone calls.

“Unfortunately their stories are just the tip of the iceberg – and that’s why I’ve been calling for the law to be beefed up for many months now.

“I’m glad the government have listened to my concerns, and those of the constituents who have contacted me, and announced their plans, which will certainly help to combat the problem.”

Rosie added: “There are still too many people in Doncaster getting phone calls they don’t want.

“Often the people receiving these calls are already registered with the Telephone Preference Service, meaning they have requested not to be contacted.

“I’ve had other constituents tell me they are getting as many as 10 unwanted telephone calls a day.

“It’s clear to me that some of the companies making these calls are breaking the law.”

Figures show that 120,310 complaints were made between April and November 2013 to the Information Commissioner’s Office about the calls.

Currently firms can only be fined if the calls cause ‘substantial damage’ or ‘substantial distress’.

The government, on the advice of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the regulator responsible for unsolicited marketing calls, wants action to be taken where “nuisance, annoyance, inconvenience, anxiety” are caused – even if a person receives just one call, but others report receiving similar calls.

Rosie said: “My advice to people receiving unwanted calls is still to gather as much information as possible and send it to Ofcom and to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

“There is still some way to go with this fight, but I will continue to keep the matter in the spotlight and keep people informed of the work being done to stamp out the problem.”

As part of her drive to tackle the problem of nuisance phone calls, Rosie joined cross-party meetings in Parliament and met with telecomms industry chiefs, including Ofcom.

Last year she appealed for victims of unwanted calls to send me the names of the companies making the calls, and the telephone numbers they are using.