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Calling Time on Nuisance Calls

Scotland is the most affected area of the UK in regards to nuisance calls. 3 of the top 5 affected cities across the UK are in Scotland: Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Because of the prevalence of nuisance calls in Scotland, the Scottish Government formed the Nuisance Calls Commission that included experts, regulators, businesses, consumer charities, and enforcement agencies. The conclusion of the commission was that more has to be done to help protect consumers, in particular vulnerable people.

In September 2017 we worked with Which? to inform consumers about the practical steps they can take to reduce nuisance calls.

The campaign

The Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign ran for one week from Monday 11th September 2017. Citizens Advice Scotland, 33 citizens advice bureaux, and Which? promoted the campaign through events, press and social media to support people to protect themselves and loved ones from nuisance calls.

This campaign aimed to:

  • raise awareness of the problems of nuisance calls,
  • highlight ways that these can be tackled,
  • empower the Scottish public to take actions that could help cut down the nuisance calls they receive,
  • and provide advice and tools to help individuals complain.

You can read our campaign evaluation here: Calling Time on Nuisance Calls - Campaign Evaluation

Nuisance calls in Scotland - key stats

Research by Which? has shown that nuisance calls are a significant problem for consumers across the UK, but that Scottish consumers appear to be relatively more affected:

  • Scotland as a whole is the worst affected nation in the UK.
  • 3 of the top 5 worst affected cities in the UK are in Scotland: Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Nuisance calls can lead to significant emotional and sometimes financial detriment:

  • 9 in 10 Scots received a nuisance call to their landline during the study and three quarters were discouraged from answering their phone as a result.
  • The most common calls were about PPI, silent calls and about energy efficiency schemes.
  • 9 in 10 thought these calls are an annoying interruption, and
  • 4 in 10 were intimidated by them.

Nuisance Calls - more information

Nuisance calls can also be known as:

  • Unsolicited calls 
  • Unwanted calls
  • Cold calling

Nuisance calls can take several different forms, such as;

  • Live marketing/ sales call: When there is a real person trying to sell you something, sign you up to something (including charitable donations) or promoting a product or service. 
  • Recorded marketing/ sales call: This is when you hear a recorded message (rather than a real person) trying to sell you something or promoting a product or a service. The message may also ask you to press a button to speak to someone.
  • Recorded message saying that a business has tried to contact you (Abandoned call): This is when you hear a recorded message saying that an organisation has tried to contact you, but that when the call was put through there was no one available to speak to you. These normally happen when a call centre dialling system automatically rings you but when you answer there is no operator available to take the call. There is nothing being sold or offered in this message.
  • Silent call: This is where there seems to be no one on the line, although you may hear someone talking in the background (but they are not talking to you).
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