Listening to our members and supporters, it was clear by 2013 that nuisance calls had become a real menace for people up and down the country – but we wanted to know the true extent of the problem.
So we carried out research and what we learnt was staggering: 7 in 10 people received unsolicited calls and 4 in 10 unwanted texts in 2013.
We took this research to our members and supporters and you told us thousands of your nuisance call stories. We listened – and took your case studies and our research to the regulators and demanded urgent action.
Leading the fight
With tens of thousands joining our campaign in the first few months, the government soon acted. They announced a clampdown on nuisance calls and texts, making it easier for regulators to punish companies who break the rules.
Action was taken on our other demands soon afterwards, the government announcing a Nuisance Calls Action Plan – the first ever coordinated attempt effort to tackle cold calling.
A task force of experts, which we were picked to lead, was also set up to review how consumers give and withdraw their consent to be contacted.
We took the task force’s recommendations to the government, demanding it be made easier for you to revoke your consent to be contacted, and demanding senior executives be made accountable for the actions of their company.
Big fines for big offenders
Just months later, in early 2015, the government announced fines of up to £500,000 could be dished out to firms which make repeated, unwanted nuisance calls.
The new rules also meant that regulators would no longer have to prove ‘substantial damage and distress’ before prosecuting.
Next, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) joined the crackdown on cold calling, demanding information from over 1,000 companies potentially involved in nuisances calls on the data they hold and share and their practices.
Phone companies were next to join the campaign against nuisance calls. BT announced in early 2016 that they’d launch a new free service aimed at blocking tens of millions of nuisance calls.
With over 400,000 people now behind our campaign, the government and regulators continued acting on our demands.
In late 2016, in the next crackdown on cold calling, the government announced directors of companies behind nuisance calls will face personal fines of up to £500,000.
Just a few months later, the government also announced nuisance calls firms will be forced to display their phone numbers when they call you – making it easier for the public to avoid nuisance calls and report callers to the regulator.
Soon our campaign claimed another landmark victory: in early 2017 the Prime Minister announced nuisance callers would soon be blocked from contacting the most vulnerable in society, hi-tech call-blocking systems being installed in the homes of some of the most vulnerable people in the UK.
But it didn’t end there. Nuisance calls firms – and bosses – can only be held accountable if people report them. So we developed an easy to use nuisance calls reporting tool to hold companies feet to the fire and ensure big fines are dished out to big offenders.