Please note: The following information has not been updated since the Data Protection Act 2018 became law. Although there may be some subtle differences between the guidance on this page and guidance reflecting the new law – we still consider the information useful to those in the media. This guidance will be updated soon to reflect the changes.
What are nuisance calls?
Nuisance marketing calls are unwanted phone calls that attempt to promote a product, service, aim or ideal to you. For example a caller could try to sell you something or ask you to support a particular cause.
There are two types of marketing calls:
- Live marketing calls: unwanted marketing calls from a real person.
- Automated marketing calls: pre-recorded marketing messages that are played when you answer the phone.
Live marketing calls
What does the law say?
The ICO enforces the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 which cover the way organisations make live direct marketing telephone calls.
Live marketing calls should not be made to anyone who has registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS), unless they have told the caller that they wish to receive such calls from them. Live marketing calls should also not be made to anyone who has told the caller directly that they do not wish to receive marketing calls.
What can I do to avoid nuisance live marketing calls?
To help stop nuisance live marketing calls you can:
- register with the TPS free of charge (you can register mobile numbers as well as landlines). The TPS is a central register of individuals who have opted out of receiving live marketing calls;
- register with the CPTS if you are a company (the CPTS works in the same way as TPS but for companies and other corporate bodies);
- check privacy statements when you provide your phone number; and
- tell organisations you deal with if you don’t want them to market you by phone.
Please note, if you agreed that a particular organisation could make live marketing calls to you but you then subsequently registered your number with the TPS, your initial consent to that organisation still remains. You can of course withdraw your consent to marketing calls however you will need to contact the organisation directly to do this.
What can I do if I am receiving nuisance live marketing calls?
You should tell the caller that you don’t want to receive marketing calls from them. The organisation should then stop the marketing calls.
If the organisation continues to make marketing calls even though you have asked them to stop you can report your concerns to us.