Out in the community: helping older people with nuisance calls | DMA

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Out in the community: helping older people with nuisance calls

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John Mitchison (pictured), head of the Telephone Preference Services (TPS), and I spent Friday afternoon in the Wirral running a TPS stall at an event for older people.

We were told about some entertaining pranks. One older man pretended a cold caller had rung a classified government building, to which the caller quickly hung up. Another regularly led on cold callers before “going to make a cup of tea” – seeing how long they would wait.

While it was nice to see an element of humour around nuisance calls, local MP Esther McVey expressed that they are a common problem for her constituents. It is, by every means, a serious concern.

The stand was a great opportunity to offer advice on how to stop nuisance calls and explain the difficulties in combating them.

‘The TPS doesn’t work’ was a common refrain, but after explaining that the service only stops legitimate marketing calls – not rogue enterprises – people accepted that it did reduce the amount of nuisance calls.

It was evident that many of the calls came from abroad, and the community understood that tracking down these companies was a difficult task.

We explained that, wherever possible, people should make a complaint to the TPS so the TPS can pass the data onto the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who can then build a case against companies who break the law.

We also regularly iterated how careful people have to be about who they shared their data with – especially online. Once a person enters the data pool of rogue companies, it’s hard to put a stop to that data being shared.

It was refreshing to see that there was good level of knowledge around nuisance call issues among the public and that people dealt with the problem in a humorous way.

The TPS’ presence was helpful to many attendees. I’d like to say a big thank you to Esther McVey MP for hosting the event. I’m sure the TPS will partake in more events like this in the future, as being able to explain the issues to consumers in person is a fantastic opportunity.

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