The head of the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), the body which regulates and blocks sales calls, has hit out at companies claiming to offer a similar service.
Following a noted spike in junk calls, the TPS reveals a subsequenty rise in organisations calling customers and claiming to be affiliated with TPS or BT, and offering customers a way to reduce spam calls – for a fee.
While we’ve got to love the irony of companies spamming customers with anti-spam services, John Mitchison, Head of Preference Services isn’t as amused:
“We are aware of a number of different cold calling scams or bogus TPS companies all of which follow a similar pattern. The caller pretends to be from the TPS, or a company claiming to offer a similar service, and asks the consumer for payment in order to register for this so-called service. We have seen a rise in the number of complaints over the last 18 months, which seems to correspond with a sharp rise in the number of these types of organisations.”
All companies that engage in sales and marketing calls are legally required to register with the TPS. Individuals who don’t want to receive sales calls at home can register their home number with the TPS and then companies will be instructed not to call them.
Of course, this method isn’t totally effective at blocking out spam calls, because there are disreputable organisations who won’t register and do their best to remain anonymous. But the service is free, regulated and the TPS works closely with Ofcom in order to curb aggressive marketing and silent calls. Recently, a hefty fine was handed down to two companies working on behalf of TalkTalk, who were responsible for thousands of spam calls.
Organisations like the Nuisance Call Registry and the Anti-Marketing Group promise to block the majority of unwanted calls like the TPS does, but for money. The Nuisance Call Registry charges £42.62 and the Anti-Marketing Group £79.99 to pretty much do the same thing the TPS does.
“There are other organisations that claim to offer a similar or more enhanced service to the TPS that advertise their services on the web, these also charge people a fee,” added Mitchison. “Although these may not necessarily be scams they are unregulated commercial organisations, that are misleading people about the effectiveness of their service.”
The TPS lists companies claiming to offer a similar or better service. Many of the sites listed are not available or have contact forms that don’t work and 08 numbers that are unrecognised. None of the services we contacted (those that we were able to) have responded to our requests for comment.