Direct marketing industry demands for tougher action on nuisance marketing calls and spam texts have finally been recognised by Parliament, after the Culture, Media & Sport Committee said it would hold an inquiry into the issue.
The DMA has been calling for more robust enforcement for years, to protect legitimate businesses operating in the sector, amid claims it takes far too long to take rogue firms to task.
Both the Information Commissioner’s Office and Ofcom currently have the power to fine firms, although it often takes many months to build a dossier of evidence.
The ICO gained greater powers last year and has so far clamped down on a number of businesses, including two firms featured in the BBC programme The Call Centre, a Glasgow-based kitchen design company as well as a Manchester-based duo who ran a spam text scam.
Now the parliamentary committee will investigate whether more can be done to stamp out rogue practices, as well as whether the Telephone Preference Service – run by the DMA – is fit for purpose.
A spokesman said: “The Culture, Media & Sport Committee has decided to hold an inquiry into nuisance telephone calls and text messages, focusing on the current regulatory system and its enforcement, the effectiveness of the Telephone Preference Service, and practical measures by communications service providers to curtail such communications.”
The committee has invited written evidence from those who wish to contribute to the inquiry, the results of which could lead to a change in the law.
A number of MPs – including Liberal Democrat’s Mike Crockart and Sir Bob Smith – have demanded an outright ban on cold telemarketing calls, in a move which would bring the UK in line with Germany where the practice is outlawed.
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