It is fair to say that there is nothing new about concerns over the Telephone Preference Service. Back in 2013, the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee heard how many in the industry believed it was no longer fit for purpose.
As BT’s head of customer service said at the time: “One of our concerns is that the TPS can’t help with the many rogue companies that actually – in the UK, but particularly overseas – are embarking on [nuisance calls]. The TPS has no power over that.”
And while the Parliamentary inquiry resulted in new powers for the Information Commissioner’s Office to fine companies which abuse the system, we are left with a preference service which still far from ideal.
Of course, this is a complex area which needs to be handled with care. It would be easy to point the finger at Ofcom or even the DMA but the fact remains that something needs to be done – and by that we don’t mean that the service needs to be scrapped but it definitely needs to be overhauled and conversations need to be had.
We know most MPs get more complaints about nuisance calls than anything else – and it is easy to see why as they just keep on coming. In fact, you are likely to get more nuisance calls if you register for the TPS than if you don’t.
Of course, it is always easier to do nothing and hope it all goes away and here at Decision Marketing we don’t claim to have the solution. But there are many companies out there which may. By giving them a voice and building a strong case for change we may, just may be able to persuade Ofcom and, in turn, the Government that there is another way.
The alternative is not pretty. Do we really want to give the Government an excuse to outlaw outbound telemarketing?
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Charlie McKelvey is publishing editor of Decision Marketing