TPS and the Importance of Compliance

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a register which gives both business and the general public the opportunity to opt out of unwanted sales and marketing calls. This official register is completely free to join.

The legislation governing TPS was launched in May 1999. Since then it has been updated and is now known as the Privacy and Electronic (EC Directive) Regulations 2003. The TPS is funded solely by the direct marketing industry. Whilst the TPS prevents unwelcome sales and marketing calls, it does not prevent any silent calls, calls from overseas companies, debt collection, nuisance calls, scam and abusive calls as well as recorded and automated messages.

Mobile phone numbers can be added to the register, however this does not prevent the use of SMS messages. SMS marketing messages can usually be stopped by sending a direct request to the company in question. Whilst customers who sign up to the TPS register can expect to see a decline in calls from initial sign up, the registration process does not become fully effective up until 28 days after. Once successfully registered the contact telephone number will be placed on the national ‘do not call’ register. There is no need to re subscribe to this service as once registered your telephone number remains active on the register.

You can sign up to the register by visiting the Telephone Preference Services (TPS) website, sending in a written request or calling the Telephone Preference Services (TPS) registration line. Corporate businesses, limited companies, public limited companies and Scottish Partnerships also have the opportunity to register to an opt out scheme. The Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) was introduced in June 2004 and operates on the same basis as the Telephone Preference Service. (TPS).

All organisations including charities and voluntary organisations have a legal requirement to abide by the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 demands that all businesses screen their data against the TPS register. Failure to comply with the legislation will result in monetary penalties for the offending company. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can put forward fines of up to £500,000.

Anyone registered to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) who is still receiving unsolicited direct marketing calls can register a complaint directly on the TPS website. Whilst the TPS do not have the facility to track or trace telephone lines the complaint will be investigated. The TPS offers a free complaint handling service. One thing to note is the the Telephone Preference Service has no physical presence on the telephone line. The TPS is a ‘Do Not Call’ register as apposed to a call blocking or baring service.

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