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TPS launches first telemarketing industry certification scheme

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) has launched the first certification scheme for the UK telemarketing industry to combat the growing reputational threat of so-called ‘nuisance calls’ made by rogue businesses operating outside of the law.

TPS Assured will help companies involved in making legitimate outbound sales and marketing calls to UK consumers ensure they comply with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), as well as Ofcom guidelines and TPS Assured’s industry best practice guidelines. Companies that earn TPS Assured certification will have to undergo an annual audit to continue displaying the TPS Assured mark.

The certification scheme has been launched to counter the mounting reputational damage caused to the legitimate multi-billion pound telemarketing industry by rogue companies operating outside of the law. According to telecommunications regulator Ofcom, complaints about nuisance calls hit a record monthly high this year, with over 10,000 complaints in February. TPS Assured will enable companies to demonstrate to their clients, regulators and the public that they comply with all the rules governing telemarketing, as well as the highest standards of industry best practice.

Top-level roundtable discussions on how regulators, consumer groups and telecommunications providers can work together to tackle the issue of nuisance calls has been led by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which has been supportive of strengthening industry best practice.

Commenting on the launch of TPS Assured, the Hon. Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries said:

“Direct marketing is a legitimate industry but the public has had enough of nuisance calls from companies simply flouting the rules. We have encouraged regulators to take action against those who break the law but we are also keen for industry to improve best practice. I welcome this initiative by the TPS and hope that it helps to drive up standards.”

John Mitchison, Head of the Telephone Preference Service, added:

“Nuisance calls are not just a problem for consumers, they are also harmful to the legitimate telemarketing industry which is unfortunately tarred with the same brush. This undermines telemarketing’s effectiveness and the businesses that depend on it to drive sales.

“The TPS Assured scheme will help to restore confidence in telemarketing by helping businesses, consumers and regulators to clearly identify those companies that operate on the right side of the law.”

The TPS Assured scheme was piloted by Anglian Home Improvements and consumer group Which?. Martin Troughton, Marketing Director of Anglian Home Improvements, the first company to complete the scheme, said it will help ensure its telemarketing activity is more effective.

“Tighter regulation and higher standards are essential in order to ensure customer confidence in the TPS scheme. At Anglian, we are great believers in raising the standards in every aspect of our work and, as such, we are delighted to champion TPS Assured. We now know that we are 100 per cent TPS compliant, which gives us confidence that we are contacting people who are happy to receive calls, as well as removing the risk of being penalised and maximising our resources from a commercial point of view. We would encourage all businesses involved in telemarketing to sign up and go through the process”.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director said:

"We launched our Calling Time campaign after finding consumers bombarded with unwanted calls and texts. Too many firms flout cold calling rules, so we welcome the TPS Assured service which recognises responsible companies doing the right thing by consumers. We urge firms who make telemarketing calls to set themselves apart by gaining TPS Assured accreditation."

The latest research conducted by the Direct Marketing Association using Toluna QuickSurvey’s UK representative panel of 1000 consumers suggests that the general public are more likely to sign up to and recommend companies which meet the TPS Assured standard.

For more information on TPS Assured please visit tpsassured.co.uk

-Ends-

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the Telephone Preference Service
The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a FREE service, regulated by Ofcom, which enables individuals to opt out of live unsolicited sales and marketing calls by adding their number to a 'do not call' list. The TPS is not a call blocking or barring service, so it cannot physically stop you receiving calls. However, organisations are required by law to screen their list of telephone numbers against the TPS and not make live unsolicited sales and marketing calls to any number on the TPS register. The only exception is where you give an organisation specific consent to contact you.
About TPS Assured
TPS Assured is an annual audit and certification service operated by TPS that will assess whether your organisation complies with PECR regulations, Ofcom guidance and TPS Assured's guidance on outbound telemarketing best practice when interacting with UK consumers.

Contact

Ed Owen, Head of PR
Tel. 020 7291 3324
Email ed.owen@dma.org.uk

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