Scots call for action to tackle​ ​nuisance calls

As MSPs gather to discuss nuisance calls, our research finds Scots want to see further action to tackle this modern menace. 

New Which? research has found that nearly nine in 10 (85%) want the Scottish Government to crackdown on nuisance calls and a similar number (87%) want the Westminster Government to take action.

Our research in Scotland also found nine in 10 (90%) people want to see the director of a company to be held personally accountable and fined if the firm makes calls without the necessary permission.

The research comes as Graeme Dey MSP hosts a cross-party Parliamentary event in the Scottish Parliament today (28th January) to raise awareness of our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign.

​With a clear mandate for action from the Scottish public, Which? is calling on the Scottish Government to take ​t​h​e lead by setting out plans to tackle nuisance calls.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“With the vast majority of Scots wanting action to tackle nuisance calls, it is clear efforts must be re-doubled to crackdown on this modern menace.

“The Scottish Government should lead the way by setting out how it plans to fight back against nuisance callers and Scottish businesses should make senior executives take responsibility if their firm makes unlawful calls.”
Our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign in Scotland, supported by more than 19,000 people, is urging the Scottish Government to publish an action plan setting out how it will work with business and regulators to tackle nuisance calls, including:

  • Cracking down on businesses breaking the rules and holding senior executives to account.
  • Helping vulnerable people to cut the number of nuisance calls they receive.
  • Ensuring that new Scottish Government policy doesn’t lead to more nuisance calls.

Across the UK more than 350,000 people have signed up to our ‘Calling Time on Nuisance calls’ campaign and people can report nuisance calls to regulators for free on the Which? website at

Notes to editors

  1. Graeme Dey MSP is hosting a cross-party Parliamentary event in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 28th January between 1 and 2pm to raise awareness of the Which? campaign and inform MSPs about the problem of nuisance calls.
  2. Our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign in Scotland has been supported by more than 19,000 people. There have been more than 65,000 uses of the Which? nuisance calls reporting tool, enabling people to complain to the regulators.
  3. The energy company SSE is the first major company to sign up to all campaign calls, putting a stop to cold calling in 2013 and recently announcing a senior director who will be held responsible if the company is found to be making nuisance calls.
  4. Research Now, on behalf of Which?, surveyed 1,000 residents of Scotland online between 11thand 19th November 2015. Data were weighted to be representative of age and gender of residents in Scotland.
  5. In December 2014, the Which?-led Task Force made 15 recommendationsfor business, regulators and the UK Government. The recommendations focused on:

Calling on businesses to improve their direct marketing practices

  • Businesses should make compliance with the rules on consumer consent a board level matter, with senior executives held to account for the behaviour of their company.
  • Companies should allow consumers to easily revoke consent to being contacted and view Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance on a six-month time limit for third party consent as the minimum standard.
  • Marketing companies should ensure any sales leads they buy have been fairly and legally obtained and that they have a record of consumer consent being given.

Urging further action by the regulators

  • The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) should take account of the task force findings in any work it undertakes on the commercial use of personal data. The CMA should work with other regulators to understand issues which cause consumer harm and identify action to remedy problems.
  • The ICO should develop further practical solutions to causes of nuisance calls; and develop best practice for providing information to consumers, including wording for how people opt-in and opt-out of being contacted for marketing purposes.

Recommended action for UK Government

  • UK Government should lead a cross-sector business awareness campaign to ensure companies know their responsibilities when it comes to making marketing calls and texts; and consider how future legislation could tackle nuisance marketing, including making senior executives more responsible for the actions of their company.
  • Since publishing, the CMA has committed to reviewing personal data and the UK Government has committed funding to an awareness campaign. However action is still needed on other task force recommendations.

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