Peers have accused the Government of dragging its feet over passing laws to protect consumers from being cold called by firms working for debt management companies, as new figures show the problem is escalating despite the recent crackdown.
The issue was highlighted in a House of Lords debate with Lord Harris of Haringey, chair of National Trading Standards, insisted the Government must do more to protect consumers from what he branded “scandalous tactics”.
Liberal Democrat Lord Sharkey said: “Every day sees more and more people exposed to faulty debt management advice. The real puzzle is this: cold calling for mortgages is banned, why is it allowed for debt management?”
Defending the Government’s recent overhaul of the laws governing telemarketing, business minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe pointed out that it was now much easier to fine companies found abusing the system.
She said the Government was looking at further measures – including new technology to block unwanted calls – which would be introduced next year. However, there was no mention of whether that would include mandatory caller-ID, a measure the DMA has been demanding for months.
Earlier this week, the Information Commissioner’s Office issued its first fine using the new powers introduced in April this year.
And last week Ofcom scrapped the need for complainants to name a specific company, a move which is now being replicated for mobile users.
Spam texts can also be reported to the ICO or to a network operator by sending them, free of charge, to ‘7726’. The networks are also working to block the worst offenders.
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