An End to the Cold Calling Menace?

Updated: 20th September 2016

The UK government changed the law about nuisance phone calls and text messages in 2015. It has now become easier to impose large fines on companies that break the rules.

Public concern about the volume of unsolicited cold calling has grown steadily over the years. Cold callers have bombarded the public with offers to assist with debt advice, Scottish trust deeds, claiming back PPI, or personal injury claims.

It’s believed that 80% of people receive a call or text that they consider to be a nuisance every month. More than 30% of people experience a degree of distress or intimidation as a result of receiving them.

The Information Commissioner is the public body with responsibility for enforcing the existing rules about this activity. However, they were fighting with one arm tied behind their back under the old system. To impose a large fine on a firm the Information Commissioner previously had to prove that “substantial distress” or “substantial damage” had been experienced by the recipients of the calls.

Substantial “distress” or “damage” was a very high threshold to prove in terms of people receiving a phone call, so very few firms were subject to financial penalties for breaking the rules.

The government is acted in 2015 to reduce this “threshold of harm”. The Information Commissioner’s Office became in a much better position to impose fines upon cold calling companies where they consider such action appropriate.

One debt advisory firm to fall foul of the new system has been Vincent Bond & Co Ltd, which has been fined £40,000 after the Information Commissioner’s Office uncovered serious failings related to 346,162 text messages that the firm sent out as part of a marketing campaign.      

What should you do if you get a cold call or text message about using a protected trust deed in Scotland? We’d advise you to totally ignore it. If you need help with your debts, find a reputable insolvency practitioner or debt advisory service to assist you. Many of our forum visitors have expressed serious regret about having been “drawn in” by the dodgy promises of cold calling trust deed salesmen in the past.

Has the change in the cold-calling and spam texting rules proposed by the government been effective? Many people continue to receive such calls and text messages, so it appears likely that we’ll read further publicity about fines and enforcement action against firms in the future.

What can you do to stop spam these text messages? One option is to forward the messages to 7726. If other people are also reporting the same unwanted text message, the sending firm is likely to be investigated.

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