The TPS (Telephone Preference Service) has announced the launch of a new ‘TPS Assured’ kitemark designed to give customers peace of mind when they’re contacted by telemarketing companies.
A spike in marketing calls this year is thought to have been driven by disreputable and unscrupulous companies whose activities have caused distress for UK citizens.
The TPS and Ofcom regulate the behaviour and practices of telemarketing companies, but have found it hard to impose fines on illegitimate operations whose identities are hard to trace.
As a result of this, telemarketing companies who abide by the rules will be able to declare to customers that they’re certified TPS Assured companies. John Mitchison, Head of the Telephone Preference Service, says that this make it easier for customers to determine whether a sales company is genuine.
“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,” Mitchison said.
“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.”
For customers who’d rather not be contacted by marketing companies at all, the TPS runs a free directory service. Companies are obliged to not contact anyone if their home number is on the TPS’s register. Those who ignore the list and break the rules can be heavily fined.
This hasn’t stopped organisations with criminal intentions from flouting the rules. Such groups often make use of techniques such as number spoofing to hide their identities and make it virtually impossible for them to be traced.
Recently Ofcom announced plans to work with regulators in the US and Canada in a bid to tackle number spoofing. BT is also making it easier for customers to avoid spam calls by making international caller ID available, where it’s possible to do so.