Fresh joint attack on phone ‘scourge’

The DM industry has backed a new Ofcom guide designed to help consumers deal with the ‘scourge’ of nuisance calls and spam texts, hailing it as a welcome step forward in the fight against rogue marketing firms.
Ofcom’s publication, the Nuisance Calls & Messages Consumer Guide, represents the first time that information for dealing with all forms of unwanted marketing calls and texts has been made available in one document.
Previously, the information was spread across the websites and publications of the various organisations responsible for enforcing the wide-ranging laws concerning call-based and mobile marketing. The new guide has been produced in conjunction with a host of organisations, including the Ministry of Justice, Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Telephone Preference Service (TPS), Office of Fair Trading and Citizen’s Advice Bureau, at a time when consumer complaints about unsolicited calls and spam texts have hit an all-time high.
According to Ofcom, complaints about unwanted marketing calls have trebled in the recent months with 9,803 complaints lodged in July 2012 alone, compared to 3,212 complaints in December 2011. Meanwhile, in the first six months of this year, 700,000 new consumers signed up to the TPS – compared to 800,000 for the whole of 2011. There a now 17.9 million people on the do-not-call database.
DMA chief of operations Mike Lordan said: “The scourge of unwanted cold calls and spam texts represent a great threat to the long-term interests of the telemarketing and mobile marketing sectors. We’ve welcomed recent action taken by Ofcom and the ICO against individuals and companies found to be breaking the law.
“Until now, it’s been difficult for consumers to find the information they need on stopping unwanted calls and texts and who to complain to. This simple all-in-one guide is the next step forward in protecting the industry by building consumer confidence and trust in legitimate mobile and call-based marketing.”
Earlier this month, the ICO revealed that it is poised to issue its first fines totalling more than £250,000 to two suspected SMS spammers.
The Nuisance Calls & Messages Consumer Guide is available via the Telephone Preference Service’s website.

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