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Receiving a sales call from a company you don’t know can be a nuisance at the best of times, but even more so when you feel compelled to pick up the phone as the number is withheld. Previously, companies could phone up customers without having to display their phone numbers, but that’s all set to change thanks to new legislation being brought in by the Government.

New legislation

Plans for a change in the law are thought to be underway, with the Government set to force cold callers to display their caller ID when calling customers. This will make it easier for people to decline the phone call or make formal complaints about firms to regulators.

The consultation for these plans is set to launch this month and if approved, will start to be enforced in April. The aim of this legal requirement is to put a stop to British companies being able to make anonymous phone calls from call centres based in the UK and overseas.

It is believed that ministers are looking to alleviate the stress and anxiety that frequent unsolicited phone calls can bring, particularly to older people who tend to rely more on their telephones as a line of communication. Vulnerable customers can also be more susceptible to fraudsters posing as marketing agents.

According to figures from the Information Commissioner’s Office(ICO), one in five marketing calls show no caller ID and more than 14,000 complaints are made about nuisance phone calls every month. Through these proposals, companies that flout the rules by repeatedly making nuisance phone calls will be easier to track and could face fines of up to £500,000 or have their licence revoked.

Stop nuisance calls

Before these plans are put into place, there are a few things that you can do to stop or at least limit the nuisance phone calls that you receive.

You can register with the Telephone Preference Service online or by calling 0345 070 0707. Doing so will opt you out of receiving unsolicited sales or marketing calls, as firms are legally not supposed to call you if you’ve signed up to the register.

As a general rule, be careful of the details that you give out when filing in forms and only provide the necessary information. For any complaints that you have about a cold caller, register this with the ICO’s website. Alternatively, if the cold caller is from a claims management company complain through the Government website.

To make sure you’re prepared for when these measures get bought in, you could invest in a telephone with caller display to help you screen calls and avoid those numbers that you don’t recognise.

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