A survey by Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson has found that 88 per cent of residents across the Sunderland area have been the victim of nuisance phone calls on either a daily or weekly basis. The residents, responding to a detailed survey on the issue of nuisance phone calls, have demand more action to be taken by the regulator and government.

The survey found:

  • 51% reported nuisance phone calls daily, 37% weekly and just 12% occasionally or rarely.
  • 55% described them as ‘annoying’ with just 9% saying ‘stressful’.
  • 90% dealt with calls by hanging up. Others use methods from ignoring or screening via answer phone to blowing a whistle at particularly irritating callers.
  • 62% were registered with the Telephone Preference Service, but of these just 12% rated the service good or excellent -; with 75% rating poor or substandard.
  • 89% thought call centres should have to be licensed, 72% and 98% thought regulators should be able to ban companies from using telephone marketing if they continually flouted the rules.

Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, recently reported that UK households receive too many nuisance calls. In addition, the consumer campaign group Which? has found households registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) received double the number of nuisance phone calls compared to those who had not signed up to the opt-out service.

Bridget has now written to the Rt Hon Maria Miller, Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, asking what more the government can do to strengthen the powers of the regulator and cut the numbers of nuisance calls.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Bridget Phillipson MP said:

“The true scale of the problem was really quite surprising. Many constituents told me that nuisance calls can be unsettling and stressful – particularly for older people.

“There should be heavy penalties for companies that don’t observe the rules, and they should be banned from cold calling if they do.

“I have written to the government asking what more they can do to strengthen the powers of the regulator.”

Letter from Bridget Phillipson MP to Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller MP

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