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Two thirds of Brits receive regular nuisance calls to their mobiles, according to new study

23 June 2015: According to a survey of 2,500 mobile phone users carried out by broadband, TV and mobile comparison site Cable.co.uk, around two thirds (64.48%) of UK mobile users now receive regular nuisance calls to their mobiles. Those who receive them average nine such calls per month.

Commenting on the results, consumer telecoms expert and Cable.co.uk editor-in-chief Dan Howdle said:

“Nuisance calls are primarily those made by outbound marketers. In the modern context, these are mainly comprised of marketing firms who trawl en masse for accident or injury victims or those who may have been mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).

“They’re shooting in the dark. When they ‘hit’, they then sell your details as a ‘lead’ to accident and injury lawyers or PPI reclaim firms.

Commenting on the results, Cable.co.uk's consumer telecoms expert Dan Howdle said:

“These types of calls used to be mostly confined to landlines. This study shows that not only is this no longer the case, but that nuisance calls to mobiles are reaching pandemic proportions.

"There’s something more personal about the phone we carry in our pocket than the one that sits idly in our hallways, and as such, calls from robotic strangers – who, by occasional luck, appear to know something about our past misadventures – feel that much more invasive.

"The use of automated dialling systems and pre-recorded messages is particularly frustrating. A robot can provide us neither catharsis nor resolution, and we often have little idea how to make them stop.

“Marketing calls from firms who use automated diallers and pre-recorded messages must have your permission before calling you. If they do not, they are breaking the law.

“Those suffering frequent nuisance calls should take note of the name of the organisation (where possible), its number, the date and time of the call, and pass those details to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who may investigate."

Communications regulator Ofcom is cracking down on silent and abandoned calls, placing £2m in fines on companies that have breached the rules. In addition, the Chancellor has announced £3.5m funding specifically to tackle nuisance calls.

For information on how to prevent and report nuisance calls, see Ofcom's advice guide here:http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/phone/tackling-nuisance-calls-and-messages/protecting-yourself-from-nuisance-calls-and-messages/

Case studies

i.) Dee Searle, Green Party general election candidate for Tottenham, receives around three nuisance calls per week on her mobile and home phone combined. She told Cable.co.uk the mobile calls are usually automated messages urging her to call a number to claim financial compensation.

"They are not only irritating but I fear that they could be distressing to people who live on their own and/or who don't realise that these are nuisance calls and so might genuinely think they have had an accident, that their computer is at risk etc.

"To stop these calls we need stronger national and international controls; national strategies and international agreements to pursue and prosecute companies that breach the controls; and investigation to show the companies behind nuisance calls."

Fitness instructor Dougie Kennedy from South Lanarkshire receives one to two calls a day on his mobile. "Whenever I answer, there is silence and they usually hang up within five seconds", he told Cable.co.uk.

"I don't know why I keep getting these repeating calls but it gets very annoying. In my opinion, these calls should be banned. They are very repetitive.

"I would be interested to find out how many people in the UK are affected and what is being done about them."

ii.) Adrienne Robson, a retired licensee from Poole in Dorset, has received around 15 nuisance calls in the last week alone.

"There is never a number or company name given. I have many times requested to be taken off their call lists but to no avail. Although some seem to let me have a short reprieve before starting again. So I really have no idea as to what else can be done.

"I'm thinking of giving them a blast on a whistle to deter the more regular ones in the hope they'll stop. I've tried telling them to hang on a minute & just leaving the line open, but that doesn't seem to work either."

iii.) Susan Heywood, a homemaker from Bishopstoke in Hampshire has become frustrated with frequent nuisance calls at inappropriate times of the day,

"I've had many calls regarding 'compensation for my recent accident' – I have had no accident! Sometimes I get real people and other times it’s automated. I have tried to be nice & requested to be taken off their lists. They say yes and then I get another call. Patience gone. I am now rude, vulgar and sometimes threatening! I've been pushed to the limit with them.

"If there are no constraints on these calls there should be.They should never call on a weekend, not early morning or late either. They should not just hang up on you, you should also be taken off lists when you request it. Maybe fining for ignoring guidelines that are in place."

iv.) Business consultancy CEO John Caswell from London says his experience has been extreme and one that spans several years.

"Opting out, unsubscribing, sending STOP by reply, waiting to find which buttons to press — eventually speaking to some vacuous sales person — none of it seems to stop the toxic nightmare.

"Unless there’s permission these calls border on breaking and entering. I should be able to protect my home with reasonable force. The frustration is that I can’t."

Additional case study excerpts and photography are available on request.

Results

Do you ever receive unsolicited/nuisance calls to your mobile?

The past: the birth of mobile internet

On average, how many nuisance calls would you say you receive in an average month?

The past: the birth of mobile internet

Notes to editors

  • If using our research and/or commentary we would deeply appreciate a link either to this page or to https://www.cable.co.uk

-ends-

What is Cable.co.uk?

Cable.co.uk is a broadband, TV and phone comparator, unique news source and consumer champion.

Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades. Having spent 12 years at the coalface of consumer telecoms research, initiating and running projects both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now Director of Communications and in-house consumer telecoms expert for Cable.co.uk.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer who frequently appears on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers and their websites, Dan leads a team of journalists and communications folk who spend their days researching and reporting on problems faced by UK broadband, TV and mobile customers both on an individual and macro level.

Dan campaigns on many issues currently facing consumers of broadband, TV and mobile products in the UK. These include, but are not limited to: Rural broadband provision; mobile coverage; broadband, TV and mobile customer contract issues; broadband and mobile broadband speeds; switching and money-saving; infrastructural challenges; pricing, changes and structures; shifts in technology and the marketplace; telecoms regulation, policy and law; fines, adjudications and policy changes; mergers and closures of UK providers; annual financials and more.

Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality. He also administers and adjudicates the yearly Broadband Service Quality Awards and sits on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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