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Publication - Publication

Scotland's Nuisance Calls Commission: our response and action plan

Published: 11 Sep 2017
Part of:
Business, industry and innovation, Economy
ISBN:
9781788512008

Response to Scotland’s Nuisance Calls Commission, with actions to empower and protect individuals and encourage better business behaviour.

19 page PDF

744.4kB

19 page PDF

744.4kB

Contents
Scotland's Nuisance Calls Commission: our response and action plan
Foreword - Elma's experience of nuisance calls

19 page PDF

744.4kB

Foreword - Elma's experience of nuisance calls

I know from first-hand experience that the impact of nuisance calls can be devastating. To be honest, I never thought I would lose thousands of pounds to a scam and prided myself in always taking my time before making any financial decisions. So when it hit me that I had indeed fallen foul, I was distraught.

Nine out of ten Scottish households received a nuisance call on their landline in one month last year [1]

Unfortunately, my story is not an exception. I would go as far to say that it is a common occurrence and I daresay many more people are living in limbo not knowing where to go for help.

I felt that I was being plagued by nuisance calls and these started to take their toll on me. I felt constantly pestered and began to dread each time the telephone rang.

One day I received a call from an energy firm - the caller was an extremely pleasant young man and he encouraged me to have a home visit where more details and opportunities for saving money would be explained. The salesman who came was charming at first and I suppose I mistook his charm as a willingness to help me as opposed to sheer manipulation to make a sale.

He made it sound like such a good deal that I eventually agreed to sign up for solar panels and new windows. The work started almost immediately and that's when the salesman's personality shifted. He began visiting at strange times and would sometimes stay for hours. After a few of these visits, he aggressively informed me I had to pay £6000 for the solar panels to be certified into the network.

I didn't think I had a choice so I withdrew the money for the bank ready for his next visit. Once I handed over the money, I never heard from him again.

I was absolutely sickened after it and my confidence took a real dent. It wasn't until officers from Trading Standards Scotland came to speak to me about my case and informed me that I could benefit from a call blocking unit that I was able to begin taking steps to put my life back together.

To have the opportunity to meet with the Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown and tell my story gave me confidence that nuisance calls would not be tolerated in Scotland. I was delighted to hear he had established a Commission on Nuisance Calls, seeking practical solutions that would help improve the lives of people across the country.

Stories like mine prove that nuisance calls are more than an annoyance. And it's not just financial harm. They're an inconvenient distraction that take people away from important tasks, and they can make people feel unsafe in their own homes.

The actions you will read here are designed to tackle those consequences. For example, I warmly welcome the news that the Scottish Government has allocated funding for the provision of nuisance call blockers. I can say without question that the installation of one in my own home has changed my life. I feel safer and know that whenever the phone rings, it's a genuine caller. I hope that they do the same for everyone who receives one through this new scheme.

I am also happy that the Commission is working to make people aware that they can get help. When you are called relentlessly, it is easy to feel helpless and alone. I was lucky and had a network of people around me. However, there are people who don't live near their family and friends and who may feel lonely and isolated. If I could have one ask, I'd like the awareness raising actions in the plan to be targeted at people in those situations so that they know about the options for support; are encouraged to report the calls; and are reassured that action can and will be taken.

This leads me on to the fact that it is clear that stopping the harm from nuisance calls will only happen through working in partnership. No one agency can do it. I know the Commission became interested and tackling scams more generally, and I am pleased that this will result in a group which will work together to find more joined up ways to tackle them.

We all have a role to play in looking out for those around us. It has been my pleasure to have been asked not only to relay my story, but also to introduce this action plan. I look forward to hearing about the outcomes and seeing how these affect people.

I want to end by saying don't ever feel alone. Help is out there and I'm the living proof of that. This targeted action sends a strong message that unsolicited calls are not welcome in our Scottish communities.

Follow the link to see when Elma met with Mr Brown to talk about her experience of nuisance calls - https://twitter.com/scotgoveconomy/status/803936083142733824


Contact

Email: Corey Reilly, corey.reilly@gov.scot

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG