Which? response to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issuing a fine to payday loan company, First Financial, for sending millions of unlawful spam texts

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director said:

“Consumers need the regulators to get tough to stop companies persistently bombarding us with unwanted calls and texts so the ICO fine is another welcome step to keep the pressure on firms who break the rules.

“The Government must make it easier for regulators to take enforcement action and we look forward to seeing their upcoming action plan for tackling nuisance calls and texts.”

Which? research on nuisance calls and texts:

  • Half (48%) of people reported that they had received an unsolicited text on their mobile phone in the past month.
  • 3 in 10 (28%) people said that they now receive more unsolicited texts than they did 6 months ago.
  • More than 8 in 10 people (83%) reported that they had received an unsolicited call on their home landline in the past month.
  • Eight in ten people (79%) say that cold calls are an annoying interruption to their daily lives.
  • One third (33%) say they have felt intimidated by them.
  • More than half of people (56%) say they have been discouraged from picking up their landline phone when it rings owing to cold calls.

Notes to Editors

1. Populus surveyed 2065 UK adults, of whom 1988 own a mobile phone, online between 25-26 September 2013.  Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all UK adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules

2. More than 107,000 people are supporting the Which? Calling Time on nuisance calls and texts campaign. Consumers can show their support at www.which.co.uk/callingtime and can also use our online complaints tool which will direct them to the relevant regulator’s complaint form in a matter of seconds.

3. Which? has been campaigning for the Government to take action against nuisance calls by:

  • Encouraging all organisations making marketing calls to commit to sending Caller Line Identification;
  • Developing a Code of Practice for the lead generation industry to provide assurances that best practice is followed and all data is collected in accordance with current regulations;
  • Introducing a range of measures to give consumers more control over their data;
  • Making it easier for the Information Commissioner’s Office to issue fines, having only to prove nuisance rather than substantial distress has occurred;
  • Raising awareness of the consequences of ignoring regulations through an information and enforcement campaign targeting marketing and lead generation companies.

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