Scots receive more nuisance calls than the rest of the UK

Ahead of a Scottish Government nuisance calls summit being held in Edinburgh today, new research from Which? finds Scots are receiving more nuisance calls each month than those in the rest of the UK.  

New Which? research finds that 29% of Scottish residents said that they received 11 or more nuisance calls in the last month, compared to 17% in the rest of the UK. Overall, eight in ten (83%) people in Scotland say they have received nuisance calls on their landline.

People in Scotland are also significantly more likely to receive unsolicited calls on their landline about energy deals, home improvement and energy efficiency, with four in 10 (38%) people saying they received calls relating to energy efficiency compared to one in five (18%) in the rest of the UK. PPI, accident claims and silent calls continue to be the main reasons for nuisance calls both in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Although people in Scotland receive more nuisance calls, they’re more likely than the rest of the UK to try to block unwanted callers. Six in ten (60%) of those who reported picking up nuisance calls said that, in the last 12 months, they have asked to be removed from a database after receiving a nuisance call. This compares to more than half (53%) for the rest of the UK.

Scots are also more aware of the Telephone Preference Service, with over half (51%) of those with a landline confirming they had registered. A similar percentage of nearly six in ten (58%) said they had also asked not to be called again.

Today the new Scottish Government is hosting its first nuisance calls summit with industry and consumer groups. Which? Director of Policy and Campaigns, Alex Neill, will be attending along with Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, to consider the latest research and proposed next steps for tackling the issue.

Since Which? launched its ‘Stop Nuisance Calls in Scotland’ campaign in December 2015, more than 25,000 have signed the petition calling on the Scottish Government to take action. Which? is calling on the Scottish Government to publish an action plan for tackling nuisance calls that includes the following measures:

  • Pressure on Scottish businesses to adopt voluntary changes and make senior executives personally accountable if companies breach the law on nuisance calls – more than eight in ten (82%) Scots agree this should happen
  • More help for vulnerable people – such as installing call blocking technology
  • Ensuring the Scottish Government’s own policies, on increasing energy efficiency for example, don’t lead to more nuisance calls

Alex Neill, Which? Director of Campaigns and Policy, said:

“Millions of people are still being bombarded with nuisance calls and our latest research tells us that people in Scotland are being targeted far more than the rest of the UK. This summit is a major opportunity for businesses, regulators and the Scottish Government to make a difference by jointly committing to take action against this everyday menace.”

Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, said:

“Nuisance calls are simply unacceptable and the Scottish Government takes this issue extremely seriously. We will use our new consumer powers as a catalyst to protect Scots from the blight of these unwelcome calls.

“The summit is a key way to guide our work and brings together experts from regulators, consumer groups and industry who will work together to find practical ways of empowering and protecting consumers, as well as supporting businesses to be models of best practice. With some key powers also remaining reserved to Westminster, we will also be considering what more the UK Government could do, and how we best work with them to take concerted action.”

SSE are attending the summit and are one of the first major companies to sign up to our campaign including the idea of a senior executive being held accountable when their company has breached the law on nuisance calls.

Lee-Ann Fullerton, SSE, Head of Group Media of SSE, said: 

“We hung up on cold calling in 2013 because customers told us they wanted to talk to us on their own terms, not be interrupted at all times of the day by companies they’d had no previous relationship with.  SSE was the first major company to get behind Which?’s campaign to end nuisance calling and we’re delighted to be taking part in this Scottish summit to continue to tackle the issue and help empower and protect customers.”


  1. Which? surveyed 2,003 UK adults online (of which 1,070 reside in Scotland) between 20th May and 26th May 2016. Data was weighted to be demographically representative of the UK population.
  2. Which? launched it’s ‘Stop Nuisance Calls in Scotland’ campaign in December 2015 and more than 25,000 have signed the petition calling on the Scottish Government to take action.
  3. Which? launched its Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts campaign in 2013 and more than 370,000 people have pledged their support. The campaign has been able to help influence a number of new initiatives for consumers plagued by this everyday menace – most notably a Select Committee investigation in 2013 and subsequent report, a Government Action plan in 2014 and a Which? led cross-sector TaskForce on nuisance calls and consent.
  4. People can support our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign or use our online tool for reporting unwanted calls here – – Since launch more than 83,000 calls have been reported to the regulators using our tool.
  5. The Which? led Nuisance Calls Task Force recommended that Government should review the ability of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to hold to account board-level executives whose companies fail to comply with rules and guidance on the use of consumers’ personal data for marketing purposes, and amend legislation to give the ICO further powers as necessary. This would make it harder for companies to continue to flout the rules.

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