Cold callers must display CLI

Friday 20 May 2016 News TPS Services

CLI stands for “Caller Line Identification”, in other words your phone number.

Whether you feel that showing your CLI when you’re making calls is a good or a bad thing, the fact is that the decision has been made and legislation is on its way to force companies making calls to show a valid CLI or else face the wrath of OFCOM and the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

The Department of Culture Media and Sport recently published its consultation on requiring companies to show their CLI. The consultation is in itself not very helpful save to say that it may give you an insight to why the decision was made.

Interestingly, 135 (76%) of the 170 contributors were members of the public.

Press Release from Department for Culture, Media & Sport and Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG dated 24th April 2016

Cold callers will no longer be able to hide or disguise their phone numbers as the Government continues to crack down on nuisance calls.

Baroness Neville Rolfe, minister responsible for Data Protection, is expected to confirm tomorrow that from Monday 16 May 2016, direct marketing companies registered in the UK will need to display their phone numbers when making unsolicited phone calls - even if their call centres are based abroad. The move follows positive backing in a public consultation and extensive work with regulators, industry, and consumer groups.

Baroness Neville Rolfe said:
Nuisance calls are incredibly intrusive and can cause significant harm to elderly and vulnerable members of society.
The Government is committed to tackling this problem, which is why we are making it easier for consumers to report companies by forcing them to display their phone numbers.

We’re sending a clear message to rogue direct marketing companies. Nuisance calls are unacceptable and we will not hesitate to take action against the companies behind them.

Department of Culture Media and Sport Consultation Download
This amendment in legislation will not only improve consumer protection, making it easier for people to refuse and report unwanted marketing calls, but it will also ensure the ICO can investigate and take enforcement action against callers who persistently and deliberately break the rules

This latest move by the Government follows news that a substantial number of fines totalling £895,000 have been issued by the ICO. In 2015, this Government made it easier to fine nuisance callers by removing the need for consumers to prove that unwanted marketing calls were causing substantial distress and damage.

Companies can risk fines of up to £2 million from Ofcom and a further £500,000 from the ICO if they continue to bombard consumers with unwanted calls.

ICO Head of Enforcement, Steve Eckersley said:
Any change that makes it easier for us to track down and take action against companies making nuisance calls is a change that will reduce the annoyance these calls cause.
We do investigate unscrupulous companies who hide their identities and we can track them down, but it certainly makes our job more difficult. And when people are able to identify the number behind the call they’ve received, they’re more likely to complain to us and that means we’re more able to take action.
We welcome this move, which we’ve been consulted on throughout.
Which? Executive director Richard Lloyd, said:
This is another important victory in the fight against nuisance calls. With marketing firms now being forced to display their numbers when making calls, it will make it much easier for people to report them and enforcement action to be taken when companies break the law.

Latest Update 20/05/2016

The proposed amendments have now been passed and the regulations on companies showing CLI’s for Direct Marketing calls comes into effect from 16th May 2016 as planned

Useful Documents

ICO Guide to Direct Marketing 2016

ICO Guide to Privacy Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR)