In brief…

You must not make marketing calls to any number listed on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or Corporate TPS (CTPS), unless that person has specifically consented to your calls. You can call a number if it is not listed on the TPS or CTPS. So you need to screen call lists against the TPS and CTPS. You must allow your number to be displayed.

In more detail…

What are the rules on making live calls?
What are the rules on automated calls?
What are the TPS and the CTPS?
When can we make marketing calls to individuals?
When can we make marketing calls to businesses?

What are the rules on making live calls?

The rules on live marketing calls are in regulation 21. In short, you must not make unsolicited live calls to:

  • anyone who has told you they don’t want your calls; or
  • any number registered with the TPS or CTPS, unless the person has specifically consented to your calls – even if they are an existing customer.

You must always say who is calling, allow your number (or an alternative contact number) to be displayed to the person receiving the call, and provide a contact address or freephone number if asked.

For further information, see our guidance on direct marketing.

What are the rules on automated calls?

The rules on automated calls are in regulation 19, and are stricter. You must not make an automated marketing call – that is, a call made by an automated dialling system that plays a recorded message – unless the person has specifically consented to receive this type of call from you. General consent for marketing, or even consent for live calls, is not enough – it must specifically cover automated calls. See What counts as consent?

All automated calls must include your name and a contact address or freephone number. You must also allow your number (or an alternative contact number) to be displayed to the person receiving the call.

What are the TPS and the CTPS?

The TPS is the Telephone Preference Service. It is a central register of individuals who have opted out of receiving live marketing calls.

The CTPS is the Corporate TPS. It works in the same way as the TPS, but for companies and other corporate bodies (limited liability partnerships, Scottish partnerships and government bodies).

For more information and details of how to subscribe to the TPS/CTPS, see www.tpsonline.org.uk.

When can we make marketing calls to individuals?

You can call any individual who has specifically consented to receive marketing calls from you – for example, by ticking an opt-in box. See What counts as consent?

You can also make live calls without consent to a number if it is not listed on the TPS – but only if that person hasn’t objected to your calls in the past.

In practice, this means you will need to screen most call lists against the TPS register. You will also need to keep your own ‘do not call’ list of people who object or opt out, and screen against that as well.

For further information, see our guidance on direct marketing.

When can we make marketing calls to businesses?

The rules are the same as for calls to individuals. So, you can call any business that has specifically consented to your calls – for example, by ticking an opt-in box.

You can also make live calls to any business number that is not registered on the TPS or the CTPS, but only if they haven’t objected to your calls in the past.

You should remember that some businesses (sole traders and some partnerships) register with the TPS, and others (companies, some partnerships and government bodies) register with the CTPS. For business-to-business (B2B) calls, you will therefore need to screen against both the TPS and the CTPS registers, as well as your own ‘do not call’ list.