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Unsolicited Goods and Services: Telephones

Volume 502: debated on Monday 7 December 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department has taken to protect telecommunications customers from unsolicited telephone calls from companies claiming to be processing a refund and seeking to obtain bank account details for fraudulent purposes. (304140)

The Department for Trade and Industry introduced the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) scheme in 1999 under the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations, which were updated by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations in 2003. The TPS scheme currently has 15.4 million registered numbers and reports an 85 per cent. success rate in preventing unsolicited calls. The TPS scheme provides protection from unsolicited marketing calls after subscribers have been registered for 28 days or have previously notified the caller that they do not wish to receive such calls, which under Regulation 21 also applies to those who are not TPS registered. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has responsibility for the enforcement of the TPS scheme and considers complaints about breaches. Recipients of these types of calls are advised to be cautious about disclosing personal details without first checking to ensure that the call is genuine. Suspected fraudulent activity should be reported to the police.