Nuisance cold calls: How to stop nuisance phone calls – What are your rights?

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Britons receive an average of four nuisance calls each week, with almost half of Britons admitting to having their sleep disturbed by nuisance calls during the night. The mental health of Britons across the country is being tested and for many nuisance calls are causing even more unwarranted stress. has compiled a guide to explain how you can stop these unwanted calls and what rights you have.

What are nuisance cold calls?

Nuisance calls are any calls or messages which are unwanted and unsolicited.

Common types of nuisance calls include prank calls, telemarketing calls and silent calls.

Nuisance marketing calls are unwanted phone calls that attempt to promote a product, service, aim or ideal to you, such as a caller could try to sell you something, offering compensation after an accident or asking you to support a particular cause.

What does the law say about nuisance calls?

The ICO enforces the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 which cover the way organisations make live direct marketing telephone calls.

It is against the law for companies to make unsolicited phone calls to consumers who are registered with the TPS without their consent.

This law applies to those who live both in the UK and abroad.

The ICO is entitled to fine companies which break laws related to nuisance calls.

How to stop nuisance calls

If you are receiving nuisance calls or messages from a company or telephone number there are a number of organisations you can report this contact to including the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), your phone operator, Ofcom or the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The TPS is a free to use service where you can register your preference not to receive unsolicited calls or marketing calls.

If you have registered with the TPS and still receive unwanted calls, you are entitled to make a complaint to the TPS here.

You can register your mobile phone with the TPS by texting “TPS” to 85095.

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If you wish to report the nuisance calls to your phone company, you should speak to your phone company and report the phone number.

Most providers offer products, services and advice to block unwanted calls, much of which is freely available.

You can find the relevant information for your phone company here:

  • BT
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • Virgin Media.

If your phone operator is not one of the above, you should contact the company’s customer services department and ask for advice about how to stop nuisance calls.

If you receive unwanted telesales calls, automated messages or spam messages from a company and wish to stop these, you can complain to the ICO here.

You can complain to the ICO or report spam text messages by forwarding the text to 7726 for free.

If you have received a silent or abandoned call, complain to Ofcom.

Ofcom has compiled a helpful guide about how to reduce nuisance and unwanted calls and messages here.

You can also consider call blocking technology which helps to reduce unwanted calls.

Some of these services are freely available, but for many, the monthly charges still apply.

Many depend upon which package you sign up to.

Services include caller display which shows you the incoming call blocking and prevents certain numbers from reaching you.

Some local councils provide call blockers through their trading standards teams.

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