The Telephone Preference Service (TPS)

 
 

Ever wondered how to prevent unsolicited telephone calls? Well, the answer is the Telephone Preference Service, or TPS for short.

What is the TPS?

The TPS is, in effect, a register of “Do not call” telephone numbers. It is a free service that you can register your telephone numbers with. Doing so tells companies you don’t want to receive any unsolicited sales calls.
 
The service began in 1999, with Ofcom as its Regulator. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) enforces it. They have the power to investigate companies who breach the rules. Where deemed necessary, they have the power to issue fines against those companies. The Direct Marketing industry funds the service and the UK taxpayer bears no costs.
 
The TPS doesn’t stop companies calling that you have given your permission to. But it does stop those who you haven’t given your permission to. It also stretches to include charities, voluntary organisations and political parties.

What about market research calls and surveys?

The TPS does NOT apply to genuine market research calls. Conducting a survey is fine, providing they don’t try to sell to you during the call. Event invitations and donation requests are classed as sales calls. Also, if they make a follow-up call later, they can’t then try to sell to you. That would be a breach of the TPS rules. In such circumstances, you have the right to report them to the ICO.

How do I register with the TPS?

You can register any UK telephone number by the following methods:
 
 
Call from a mobile or landline: 0345 070 0707
 
Text from a mobile: Text “TPS”, along with an email address, to 85095
 
In writing: The Telephone Preference Service, DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London W1W 8SS
 
You can register both landlines and mobiles. It takes 28 days for the number to become active on the register. Any sales & marketing calls received within that time frame are ok. Your registration remains on there forever, but it’s worth checking on occasion. You can do this online. If you notice a sudden raft of unsolicited sales & marketing calls, check again. You can always re-register if need be.

What should I do if I receive an unsolicited call after registering with the TPS?

Take a note of the company they represent and the name of the person calling. They must provide you with this, as well as their telephone number. Once you have this, tell them that you have registered with the TPS. This usually brings about a swift end to the call. It’s also worth noting the date & time of the call (and any later calls).
 
Once the call has ended, you have the option of reporting them to the ICO. You can do this via their website https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/ or by calling them on 0303 123 1113.

Is the Service Available to Companies?

Yes it is, and it’s called the Corporate TPS (CTPS). It’s open to Corporate bodies (Limited Companies, LLPs etc). Companies must register every number they wish to include on the list. Registering the main switchboard number will only add that number to the list. Unsolicited calls made to any unregistered numbers are allowable, subject to other Laws and Regulations surrounding sales and marketing calls.

As a Company that undertakes telemarketing, how do I comply with TPS?

Companies that conduct sales or marketing calls must check the TPS / CTPS registers first. This should be done every 28 days. Should they fail to do so, they risk calling a number registered with the service. To call a registered number could be breaking the law. This could leave them open to receiving a fine from the ICO.
Screening your data against the register is easy and inexpensive. For more information, email us at info.databubble.info or call us on 01274 965411.

What About Invitations to Events, Seminars, Networking etc?

Invitations like these are still classed as sales calls. As such, you must screen against the TPS / CTPS file before making any unsolicited calls.
 
We hope you find this information helpful. Should you have further queries, please email info@databubble.info or call us on 01274 965411.
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