As part of a new government crackdown, penalties have been increased to up to £500,000 to companies making unsolicited calls to householders – Telephone Preference Service is alone not effective enough. Thankfully, Retell’s Sense TPS product provides a better solution.

On Wednesday, ministers will confirm a change to the law making it much easier to impose large fines on firms making persistent unsolicited calls and texts, mainly concerning payment protection insurance (PPI) and sales of solar panels.

Under the new legislation, it will no longer be necessary for the Information Commissioner’s Office to have to prove that these calls or messages are producing a ‘substantial damage or stress’ allowing them to take action sooner, against those companies responsible.

Despite there being more than 175,000 complaints made to the ICO concerning nuisance text messages and calls in 2014, only a few prosecutions have succeeded.

Which? the consumer groups has been lobbying extensively to lower the threshold for legal action, warning that 4 in 5 people regularly receive unsolicited calls, with a third of all householders feeling intimidated.

Ed Vaizey, the minister for culture, said he was ‘shocked’ by the evidence, and intends to press forward with action, meaning the changes to the legislation will certainly be in effect before the general election, and possibly even within a few days.

Telephone Preferential Service ‘not working’

Last year OfCom, the regulator for the telecoms industry admitted the telephone preference service, a system designed specifically to block calls, was failing to catch two thirds of all unsolicited calls and messages, proving that alone, this service is not working.

As part of their study, Which also found that six in 10 telephone preference service (TPS) users were unsatisfied with the service they received.

Flaw in the way TPS handles the blocking of calls

The poor service comes as a result of a flaw in the way the telephone preference service handles calls.

The head of the TPS, John Mitchison said:

“TPS registration stops unsolicited calls from law-abiding companies that check names against the TPS’ ‘do not call’ list. However, it can’t physically block calls from rogue companies that flout the law.

“We agree with Which? that further steps must be taken to stop nuisance calls. Government regulators need to enforce the law to punish those breaking the law, which would deter others from doing so.”

So in essence, in order for the telephone preference service to be effective, companies must ensure that they are both checking the tps list, but also blocking the calls to registered users.

A better solution to handle TPS

Thankfully for companies who wish to stay on the right side of the law, Retell Sense TPS not only checks the telephone preference list, but the software also blocks calls that are attempted to be made to such numbers registered. This ensures that business owners receive peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that they will not make any unsolicited calls to consumers.

How does Sense TPS work?

  • Calls are blocked for all TPS numbers that are included/updated in the Sense TPS database
  • All calls that try to contact TPS registered numbers are marked with red in the main Sense Grid followed by a comment: “TPS blacklist: Call blocked”
  • An audio message will be played to the agent informing them that the current call is TPS registered and will not be connected
  • In cases where you have active clients that are TPS registered, these need to be added separately to the allow list to enable you to contact your client.