Nuisance call action is needed now, says MSP

The Scottish government is being urged to hasten plans to curb nuisance calls, following the launch of a nationwide crackdown.

Isles MSP Tavish Scott is raising the issue in light of a far-reaching campaign by Which?, a consumer rights charity.
The body’s new action plan is said to follow incidents in which residents from within the isles have received bogus calls claiming to be from BT.

Mr Scott is now contacting the deputy first minister, John Swinney, calling for immediate action on a pledge made in 2013, claiming harassment is reaching “intolerable levels”.

“Nuisance phone calls are a pain for everyone. Whether it’s an automated nobody or a scam, these calls have gone unaddressed for far too long,” he said.

“Too many people are receiving frequent cold calls and as a result are uncomfortable answering the phone in their own home. This new campaign by Which? to tackle the scourge of nuisance calls is good news. The overwhelming majority of people agreed that nuisance calls are an annoying interruption to their daily life, with four in 10 stating that they felt intimidated by them and eight in 10 have taken steps to prevent cold calls.

“Despite various initiatives over the years, this harassment seems to continue unabated and requires further, urgent action. That is why I am backing calls by Which? for legislation to hold board level executives to account and to see caller line identification made mandatory, enabling consumers to report companies of wrongdoing.

“The Scottish government promised to crack down on nuisance calls back in 2013. I am writing to the deputy first minister asking that his government now take action on that pledge to end the pain of these unsolicited calls.

“I would also encourage people in Shetland to be vigilant and avoid giving away personal information over the phone.”

The ambitions put forward by Which? include:

• A crack down on businesses breaking the rules and holding senior executives to account.
• Helping vulnerable people to cut the number of nuisance calls they receive.
• Ensuring that new Scottish government policy does not lead to more nuisance calls.

The body says nine out of 10 Scots received a nuisance call on their landline phone and that three quarters had been discouraged from answering the phone as a result.

The Shetland Times has contacted the Scottish government but has not yet received a response.


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