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PPI calls top source of nuisance calls, say Ofcom

The latest research from Ofcom on nuisance calls reveals that PPI-related calls are the main source of nuisance calls suffered by UK residents. 

A sample of 1136 residents with landline phones revealed that Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) calls made up 22 per cent of all nuisance calls, where those surveyed could provide a description of the service. 

Recorded and live sales calls were also most likely to be PPI-related, as were recorded and live marketing calls. Abandoned calls, where the call is terminated when you answer and a pre-recorded message is played, were also most likely to be PPI-based. 

PPI calls top source of nuisance calls, say Ofcom
Withheld Numbers – a 21st Century Schrödinger’s cat

After PPI calls, it was calls from energy and market research companies which generated the most irritation. 

Over the four week period, 82 per cent of adults surveyed reported getting a nuisance call of some form. Commenting on the findings John Mitchison, Head of the Telephone Preference, said:

“The TPS has seen a significant increase in the number of complaints received over the past 6 months. Although Ofcom’s latest findings on nuisance calls are not at all unexpected, 82 per cent is slightly higher than previously reported figures.”

The last lot of numbers from Ofcom reported a big spike in nuisance calls and perhaps unsurprisingly, the TPS pointed the finger at PPI claims and energy comparison services. The TPS regulates the behaviour of sales calls and if you ask for your home number to be placed on the TPS register, sales and marketing companies are obliged to not call you.

Heavy fines are imposed for companies that break the rules, with two agencies working on behalf of TalkTalk getting stung with a hefty £750,000 fine earlier in the year.

Of course, this can only be enforced if companies are on the TPS’ radar. Organisations that are perhaps not legit won’t be dissuaded by something like a TPS list. Mitchison adds that “most of these calls are not made by reputable companies, which is why the TPS has been urging the regulators for more enforcement action against companies operating outside of the law.”

Ofcom and the TPS are currently investigating how tracing of nuisance calls made from withheld numbers can be made easier. Withheld calls are hard to trace and are often made from locations outside the UK and therefore outside the jurisdiction of Ofcom. Greater availability of Customer Line Identification (CLI) should make it easier to trace and prosecute UK-based call centres that aren’t playing by the rules.


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