Consumers back government crackdown on nuisance calls but think it should go further

Article date: 1 April 2014

  • Aviva calls for change in law to prosecute those buying illegal data

Following the Government announcement of a crackdown on nuisance calls, brand new research from Aviva* finds consumers support these measures, but think more still needs to be done. Sixty three per cent support tighter government regulation, but 55% think all unsolicited marketing calls should be banned.

The average person receives nine un-solicited calls a month and 2% are contacted on a daily basis. Nearly 70% say they find the practice disruptive and frustrating and 13% say it makes them feel intimidated and anxious.

Promises of compensation pay-outs for accidents that never happened or PPI policies that were never bought top the list of the most common nuisance calls that UK consumers receive every week.

The majority of calls are from companies telling people they are entitled to claim for compensation. Many (64%) are made to those who have opted out of calls with the Telephone Preference Service and 16% are made to ex-directory land lines. More than 9-in-10 (93%) people think these companies are trying to take advantage of the consumer.

Maurice Tulloch, CEO Aviva UK General Insurance, said, “It’s time to hang up on nuisance calls. We welcome the Government cracking down on aggressive marketing tactics and unscrupulous behaviour by some of these firms. We know from our own research that the majority of consumers feel exactly the same. Aviva welcomes the Nuisance Calls Action Plan, particularly the consultation on making it easier for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to fine companies making nuisance calls.

“We believe that even more can be done, though, and are keen to work with the Government and all of the key regulators to ensure that breaches of the Data Protection Act by rogue individuals and companies result in appropriate enforcement action, fines, and for the most serious breaches, criminal charges being brought.”

Today Aviva is calling for the Government to consider actions beyond what they have already announced:

  • A change to the Data Protection Act so that it becomes a criminal offence not only to sell data obtained illegally, but also to knowingly or recklessly buy the data
  • Stricter regulation of the direct and automated marketing activities of unscrupulous firms with greater punishment for any unlawful activity
  • Stricter guidelines on the use of data where no contact can be made without a consumer having given specific and clear consent to be contacted

Last year the Ministry of Justice, which regulates claims management companies, issued 144 warnings, suspended 3 licenses and cancelled 200 licenses. Over 16,000 consumers contacted the regulator about the firms. The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department at the City of London Police have received nine reports of data theft since it launched in January 2012, seven of which remain under investigation.


If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Aviva Press Office:  Erik Nelson, 01603 682264,

* Research was conducted online by Opinion Matters with 2633 UK consumers between Monday March 24 and Wednesday March 26

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