Cold-callers forced out from the shadows

Cold calling madness

Telemarketers, payment protection insurance (PPI) claims handling companies, and other cold callers are no longer allowed to disguise or hide their phone numbers under new rules brought in today.

Companies must now display their numbers when calling consumers in the UK, even if they are based overseas.

The move is part of a co-ordinated crackdown on nuisance calls by the government, telecoms regulator Ofcom, and consumer protection groups.

If firms break the new rules, the worst offenders could be fined £2 million by Ofcom, plus further fines of £500,000 by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), which enforces data protection laws.


When the new rules were confirmed in April, Baroness Neville Rolfe, minister for data protection, said: “We’re sending a clear message to rogue direct marketing companies. Nuisance calls are unacceptable and we will not hesitate to take action against the companies behind them.”


Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO added: “We do investigate unscrupulous companies who hide their identities, and we can track them down, but it certainly makes our job more difficult. But when people are able to identify the number behind the call they’ve received, they’re more likely to complain to us and that means we’re more able to take action.
Recent fines issued by the ICO include:

  • A £50,000 fine for Brexit campaigners Better for the Country, which had sent half a million unsolicited texts.
  • A £20,000 fine for Advice Direct, which used a fake local number while marketing a service that it said would help people claim damages for hearing loss.
  • A £175,000 fine for Falcon & Pointer, a PPI claims company, which made two million automated calls to consumers, even though it had already had its data-handling licence revoked following an earlier intervention by the ICO.


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My father who is 86 was getting a lot of these calls. Every day when I visited he would get at least one call even though I had signed him up for TPS. Nearly all the time he would ignore them and wait to see if they left a message.  This worked up to a point but when his partner fell and broke her neck, the police and the hospital were trying to call him not leaving messages for something so serious. Eventually someone did leave a message and he got to the hospital he thinks just in time before she died. This makes it a lot more than just a nuisance.  A lot of the calls are from abroad such as the "Microsoft" something is wrong with your computer  ones. Those are the real bullying types but I am not sure a change in UK law can do anything about them.  We can but hope.