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Brits waste two working days a year on nuisance calls and texts

Wednesday, December 2nd 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Britons waste more than 15 hours a year dealing with nuisance calls, texts and spam emails, new research has revealed.

A YouGov survey of more than 2,000 adults, commissioned by the National Accident Helpline, found that 15.24 hours a year are wasted a year, equivalent to six weeks (40 days) across their adult lives.

Almost eight hours a year is wasted through deleting spam emails, and nearly five hours through answering nuisance calls.

70% of people have been interrupted by a cold call while doing something important – nearly half (46%) of these when spending time with family and 24% during a sensitive conversation.

People also reported being interrupted by a nuisance call during a funeral, when handling live wires, whilst operating a chainsaw and even whilst giving birth.

Russell Atkinson, chief executive of National Accident Helpline, which is calling for improved standards on marketing, said: “We have all experienced the disruptive impact that nuisance marketing has – deep in thought at our desks, out with family and friends or in the middle of cooking a meal, the phone rings only for it to be a cold call.

“Whilst each call might only last for a minute or less, this can quickly add up over the course of a month or year.

“National Accident Helpline wants to put an end to this disruption, and as part of our Stop Nuisance Calls campaign we’re continuing to raise awareness of the practical steps that people can take to prevent and report nuisance marketing.”

He said other organisations are being encouraged to sign-up to the Ethical Marketing Charter – an industry-led initiative calling on businesses in the personal injury sector to commit to never cold calling, texting or emailing consumers.

Watching paint dry

“All of this will help people to start reclaiming their time and spend more of it doing the things they enjoy most,” Mr Atkinson added.

As part of the research, respondents were asked how they would spend the time wasted on nuisance marketing if they were able to reclaim it – with many wanting to spend time on a hobby, with family and friends or take a well-earned break from their hectic schedule.

Popular responses were relaxing and catching up on sleep, spending time with family and loved ones, working or studying, reading, gardening and walking and watching TV.

But other suggestions put forward by consumers for how the time could be better spent included cage fighting and watching paint dry.

Mike Lordan, director of external affairs at the Direct Marketing Association, said: “This research highlights that nuisance calls and texts continue to be a key source of frustration for consumers, and we would encourage people to sign up to the Telephone Preference Service to ensure they are provided with more protection from unsolicited marketing.”

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