Recently, the Government said they would focus on nuisance calls – unwanted marketing calls from organisations trying to sell their services.
Our research* shows it was very welcome news indeed. 63% of people thoroughly support the move, the majority of which think these sorts of calls should be banned completely.
It’s a serious problem. On average, people receive nine of these unwanted, annoying calls every month. Some (2%) get them on a daily basis. Nearly 70% said they find it hugely frustrating and 13% said they feel intimidated and anxious.
Accident and PPI are the biggest offenders
Top of the list are companies promising to fight for compensation after an accident (that they’ve no idea whether the person’s had) and claiming back money spent on Payment Protection Insurance policies (that were probably never bought). Almost everyone (93%) think these companies are trying to take advantage of consumers.
Worse still, it seems you can’t avoid them. Many of the calls (64%) are to people who asked not to be contacted, and 16% are made to ex-directory landlines.
Maurice Tulloch, our CEO UK General Insurance, said, “It’s time to hang up on nuisance calls. 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.”
Some important success stories
The Ministry of Justice works hard to keep these companies in line. Last year, they issued 144 warnings and cancelled 200 licences. Over 16,000 consumers complained about these kinds of calls. And the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department at the City of London Police has had nine cases of data theft reported since it launched in January 2012 – seven are still being investigated.
A call to do more
Impressive as the figures are, though, more needs to be done. So, we’ve called for the government to go beyond what they’ve already announced and do the following:
- Make it a criminal offence to not only sell, but also buy data that’s been obtained illegally.
- Introduce stricter laws with greater punishments for companies who illegally call people from a call centre or, worse still, use an automated machine to ring customers.
- Create tougher guidelines to protect consumers who say they don’t want to be contacted.
* Research was conducted online by Opinion Matters with 2,633 UK consumers between Monday March 24 and Wednesday March 26.NFPZZA0347 Apr14