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Text service allows mobile users to opt out of nuisance sales calls

Friday, May 27th 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Mobile users can now opt out of unsolicited sales and marketing calls by sending a single text message.

A ‘text-to-register’ service is being launched today by the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and Ofcom.

By texting ‘TPS’ and their email address to 78070, mobile phone users can add their number to the UK’s official ‘do not call’ database.

Registering your number with the TPS makes it illegal for companies to contact you with unsolicited sales and marketing calls unless you give them prior permission.

But according to research by Ofcom, only half (48%) of people familiar with the TPS are aware that mobile numbers can be registered.

This compares to the 88% who know that landline phone numbers can be added to the list.

Only 2.9m, or around 3%, of the UK’s mobile numbers are registered on the TPS database compared to 18.5m landline numbers (around 85%).

The TPS said people registering their mobile number using the new text service should see a gradual reduction in the number of unwanted calls “after a few days”.

It can take up to 28 days for the service to become fully effective.

A study commissioned by Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found people registered with the TPS received 31% fewer live sales and marketing calls.

Registering with the TPS, however, does not prevent spam text messages.

John Mitchison, head of the TPS, said: “Rogue callers operate illegally and against the interests of ordinary people.

'More ammunition'

“Texting will make it easier for people to register their mobile numbers on the TPS, which is the only official no-call list, and help us stamp out rogue callers once and for all by giving the Information Commissioner more ammunition to prosecute these cases.”

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director, said: “Many millions of landline customers already take advantage of the protection the TPS gives against nuisance calls, and we want to ensure it’s as easy as possible for mobile users to do the same.

“We encourage anyone who wants to reduce the number of frustrating and unwanted calls to their mobile phone to register with the TPS today.”

Baroness Neville Rolfe, the minister responsible for data protection, added: “Nuisance calls are incredibly intrusive and can cause significant distress, particularly to elderly and vulnerable members of society.

“Government is committed to tackling this problem, and we have introduced a series of measures that have already seen record fines handed out to combat these rogue callers.

“This new service from the TPS and Ofcom will help protect people with mobile phones, making it easier for them to register via text and opt out of the call list.”

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