Millions Still Suffer In Silence Over Nuisance Calls, Six Months After Task Force Demands Action

Chief Executor Reuben Singh joined Adam Parsons and David Jones on this morning’s BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money podcast to discuss the fight against nuisance calls. The podcast follows after millions of people continue to be hounded with nuisance cold calls six months after the official task force urged action against the rogues.

Radio 5 Live Interview With Reuben Singh On Nuisance Calls and Text Messages

Radio 5 Live: How many times do you pick up the phone [as your client] and it’s someone calling about an accident you had?

Reuben Singh: Not often. However, as we answer phone calls for 23,000 businesses we do receive a lot of nuisance calls.

Radio 5 Live: From your perspective what is the most trying, persistent type of nuisance call?

Reuben Singh: As we answer phone calls for a lot of small businesses who may also use their phone as their personal line, we do get a lot of consumer loans and PPI type calls coming through, because the caller believes they’re coming through to their work number. So, we do screen a lot of these nuisance calls for our clients. However, I’ve noticed more and more people just make nuisance calls to fish for information.

Radio 5 Live: We’re seeing cold calling as a massive industry for PPI, claiming compensation and insurance. The companies making these calls are getting more professional and efficient. Do most of these calls come from within the UK or do we have call centres set up abroad making these outbound calls?

Reuben Singh: It really is a mixture of both. As we’re based in the UK, we can easily pick up if the call originates from the UK or not. However, more and more people are becoming savvy. There is a lot more date on people out there, so cold callers are not ringing up blind these days. Our staff have been trained extremely well to screen those calls quickly. Businesses can lose business while they’re trying to deal with nuisance calls as they could be missing a call from a genuine client.

Radio 5 Live: Reuben, what’s the trick? How do you spot a nuisance call from a genuine call?

Reuben Singh: These days, it’s not how much information these guys have that is the problem, but rather how slick they’re at throwing this information out to you. It’s not longer the ignorant caller calling, but rather the very sleek caller calling. Nuisance callers are becoming difficult to spot.

Which? Pushes For More Action Against Nuisance Calls

The task force set up by the Government and headed by experts at Which? outlined an action plan to cut off the cold calling firms in December, including personal fines for directors of the companies behind the harassment. However, ministers have delayed making changes to the policy regime, leaving the rogues to continue annoying consumers.

Which? said there have been 61,500 official complaints to the Information Commissioner’s since the task force was founded, showing little has changed.

The consumer champion said just two per cent of people who receive what they deem a nuisance cold calls makes a complaint, which implies the real number is likely to have been over three million so far this year.

Richard Lloyds Executive Director at Which? said: “The Government has made it easier for regulators to prosecute businesses who don’t comply with the law. But we now need to see individuals, such as senior executives, held to account.”

“In law, if nuisance callers don’t comply with the rules and then the regulators should throw the book at people individually. However, it’s really important consumers complain. So, we are making it much easier to complain from today.”

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