Which? response to the StepChange report ‘Got their number’

Responding to the StepChange report Got their number, Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“We launched our Calling Time campaign after we found that nuisance calls and texts are making people’s lives a misery, with many discouraged from answering their phone and others feeling intimidated. It is especially worrying that financially vulnerable consumers are being encouraged to take out extortionate payday loans they they can’t afford.

“We urgently need the Government to step in with a new approach, new laws and new technology to tackle this menace and put people back in control of their personal data.”

Notes to Editors:

1. Consumers can join the 92,000 people who are supporting the Which? Calling Time on nuisance calls and texts campaign by visiting www.which.co.uk/callingtime. People can also use our complaints tool which will direct them to the relevant regulator’s complaint form in a matter of seconds.

2. Our findings show that unsolicited calls and texts are more than a nuisance:

  • Three in 10 people (29%) say they have felt intimidated (people who’ve received calls on their landline and/or mobile).
  • Six in 10 people (58%) say it has discouraged them from answering their phone (people who’ve received calls on their landline).

[TNS, on behalf of Which?, interviewed a representative sample of 1010 GB adults between 6th and 10th February 2013. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults.]

3. Which? is calling on the Government to make changes to the way consumers’ data is used by:

  • Introducing an expiry date when a person consents to being contacted by ‘selected third parties.
  • Requiring businesses to demonstrate that they have consent to carry out marketing rather than the ICO having to ‘prove a negative’ by showing the business didn’t have consent.
  • Extending the rules to include firms selling on personal data, not just those that conduct direct marketing
  • Change the rules to make it easier for regulators to share information and for the threshold to be lowered on the level of detriment that has to be shown before enforcement action can be taken.

4. Our latest consumer tracker (consumerinsight.which.co.uk) shows that around 1 million households take out payday loans each month and nearly half (46%) of people are worried about their household level of debt.

[Populus, on behalf of Which?, interviewed 2,106 UK adults online between 13 and 15 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].

5. Other Which? research on credit finds:

  • nearly half (46%) of people who take out payday loans use them to pay for essentials like food or fuel
  • a quarter (24%) of people with payday loans use it to repay other credit
  • seven in ten (69%) of payday loan users have regretted taking out credit in the past
  • half (49%) of payday loan users have taken out credit they couldn’t repay.

[Populus, on behalf of Which?, interviewed a random sample of 4,031 GB adults aged 18+ online between 10th and 12th August 2012.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all GB adults. All stats referring to credit users are based on 3,195 consumers who said that they use at least one credit product.]

6. Which? has consumer advice on payday loans here.

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