Letter to Ed Vaizey MP on nuisance calls and texts

Ed Vaizey MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries

Dear Mr Vaizey

Nuisance calls and texts: we can’t hear you!

On the 10th June we asked you to call time on nuisance calls and texts by strengthening the law.

A month has passed and we’re still on hold. You have been worryingly silent on an issue that directly impacts eight in 10 people in the UK. In the past month alone, while we’ve been waiting for you to answer, we estimate that UK consumers have received 767 million unwanted calls.

We’ve heard John Whittingdale MP commit the CMS Select Committee to looking at the issue. And we have a new All Party Group and Private Members Bill thanks to Mike Crockart MP. But we are still waiting to hear how you will help to answer the calls of over 75,000 consumers who have pledged their support for our campaign, and want you to put a stop to this nuisance.

With only a handful of days before Parliament packs up for the long summer holiday, there is just time for you to say what you will do in the forthcoming Communications Review to deliver change. We urge you to review the existing rules without delay and commit to putting in place measures that would ultimately cut off nuisance calls and help consumers to screen and block unwanted calls.

Specifically changes must be made to the way consumers’ data is used by introducing:

  • An expiry date when a person consents to being contacted by ‘selected third parties’
  • An obligation on businesses to be able to prove to the Information Commissioner (ICO) that a person gave consent to being contacted.

We also ask that your Communications Review:

  • Extends the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) to include firms selling on personal data, not just those that conduct direct marketing
  • Lowers the threshold for the ICO under PECR to take enforcement action, so that it doesn’t have to find evidence of harm but just prove a breach of the rules
  • Strengthens enforcement action that can be taken against companies which call people registered with the Telephone Preference Service.

We urge you to make your voice heard and commit to calling time on nuisance calls. We don’t want to add a silent Minister to the problem of silent and nuisance calls.

Yours sincerely

 

Richard Lloyd

Executive Director, Which?

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