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Telemarketing should be banned

I support some, but not all, of the initiatives to legislate for better telemarketing. Which one gets your vote?

The Commons Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee
The Government published its Report into Nuisance Calls on 5 December 2013. Broadly welcomed by SCi and the DMA it says:

  • Nuisance calls are irritating and distressing. Scattergun marketing is needlessly disruptive; it benefits few, and at worst is unscrupulous or fraudulent. The challenge is to curtail bad and illegal practice while allowing legitimate marketing and reasonable unsolicited calls.
  • Some scope for tighter regulations – e.g. compulsory Call Line Identification and lower threshold for ICO enforcement action.
  • ICO and Ofcom should use their powers more broadly and frequently to punish wrongdoers.

The DCMS will respond on behalf of the Government to the Select Committee’s report within the next few months.

DCMS/Ofcom Joint Action Plan Report
The Joint Action Plan Report on nuisance calls will be published soon. The key elements are:

  • Ongoing, targeted enforcement action
  • Improving the tracing of nuisance calls and messages
  • Effective coordinated action, including a review of the impact of the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)

The Communication (Unsolicited Telephone Calls and Texts) Bill
Mike Crockart MP Private Member’s Bill addresses two issues. Firstly, how consent to being contacted for marketing purposes is given and used and, secondly, giving regulators more tools to enforce the law.

He was not in the Commons to name another date for a Second Reading of the Bill, so it stalled. The Bill will not be passed.

The Unsolicited Telephone Communications Bill
Proposed by Lord Selsdon, the Bill planned to bring the UK in line with Germany, where companies are banned from making outbound telemarketing calls unless consumers have opted in to receive them.

However, the Government did not favour Lord Selsdon’s approach. The Bill will not be passed.

But many of these proposals could become academic when/if the new EU Data Protection Regulation comes into force (2017?). It may change telemarketing from an opt-out system to an opt-in rule. Will you vote for that?