Move to end nuisance ‘phone calls

Mike Weir
Mike Weir

A pressure group set up to end the misery of nuisance telephone calls met for the first time last week with the aim to tighten up the law in this area.

Angus MP Mike Weir, a founding member of the group, attended the meeting when they held a question and answer session with Ofcom, the industry regulator, and the Information Commissioners Office who both have responsibility of areas of enforcement.

Commenting after the meeting Mr Weir said: “What is clear is that the law in this area is totally inadequate.

“I have had many approaches from constituents who are being plagued by such calls, often receiving many in one day.

“It is frustrating, annoying and in the case of silent calls can be quite frightening.

“We are always advised to join the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) but I know from personal experience that this does not stop such calls, although it may reduce them.

“The law already allows for heavy fines for those who breach the rules but the main difficulty for constituents who complain is that the regulator can only take action if they know the number of the person calling, and in practise that is almost impossible to get.

“Another major problem is that many of the calls are from international numbers, which makes enforcement overseas difficult, although we were assured by the regulator that if overseas call centres are phoning on behalf of UK based companies these companies can be held responsible and face penalties.

“It appears, however, that all may not be what it seems in this area since many “international” calls are not international at all but rerouted through different exchanges to look like they originate overseas.

“I sincerely hope that more pressure and the Private Members Bill will result in real action to tackle this growing problem.”