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Telephone Preference Service

The Telephone Preference Service is a UK communication initiative set up with the aim of preventing unwanted unsolicited commercial phone calls, telesales, and business-related nuisance calls. But before you leap at the chance of having your phone put on the prohibited list, let's go over a few of the important facts:

Most of the problems of misuse of the telephone system by slash-and-burn telemarketing are the fault of a small number of rogue companies. Bad practices, including misuse of powerdiallers, are not endemic, but only down to a few problem companies.

The Telephone Preference Service has only one option, BAN ALL COMMERCIAL CALLS. There is no "preference", no justice for honourable practices among businesses who try to get it right.

If you still feel that no businesses should be allowed to phone you, then sign up and have yourself added to the list. If you feel you are plagued by unsolicited callers, then the Telephone Preference Service may be a way towards resolving this. Of course it won't stop the very worst of rogues, nor anyone phoning from outside the UK, but it will stop most companies from phoning you.

The phone number of the TPS is 0845 070 0707 (UK local-rate) and the website is www.tpsonline.org.uk

I have a different view of Telephone Preference. I believe that bad practice should be eliminated and that you should be able to specify actual preferences for whom you want to ban, not just "ban everyone". It seems unfair to punish all business for the inappropriate behaviour of a small minority.

Business should be encouraged, and in a free trade capitalist society it seems reasonable that business should be able to ask if you are interested. This can be done sensibly and without being a nuisance.

Other points: A national telephone system can be regulated, so the Telephone Preference Service is generally effective, (apart from the international call aspect). The same idea does not work with e-mail, because it is not possible to regulate e-mail in parts of the world outside the jurisdiction. The problem of junk e-mail or spam is not something governments can do anything about. It requires more individual initiatives.

My advice about commercial nuisance calls is to put in complaints about specific companies who misuse the system. These days, with the Internet, news of bad practice spreads fast, and companies that would have got away with it years ago are now finding themselves being talked about online. It's in the interests of companies to avoid getting a reputation for bad practice and phone misuse.

Also see communication companies, advice, British Telecom, how to complain, other things with knowing about the phone, the decent advertising policy at this site. Also powerdiallers, spam, and the Rogues Gallery of Suspicious e-mails

The phone number of the Telephone Preference Service is 0845 070 0707 (UK local-rate) and the website is www.tpsonline.org.uk

You can also opt into the Telephone Preference Service through BT Privacy

It's worth pointing out that the Telephone Preference Service is NOT a substitute for having a company's own in-house opt-out list of people to avoid phoning. It's no excuse for a dodgy company to say "If you don't want us to keep phoning you, you can go on the Telephone Preference Service", because that would then ban ALL commercial calls, from all companies whether good or bad. This problem is further explained in Using the Telephone Preference Service as the company's phone opt-out