Time to ring the changes and get rid of these pests

Verity has been going around in call centre circles

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Angie Driscoll is not alone. Almost half of all adults with a landline received a nuisance call last year, with the number almost doubling since 2011.

She, like the rest of us who are plagued by these incessant calls, is at her wits’ end. And she wants something done about it.

The 61-year-old from Hayling Island has a husband who is convalescing in bed at home after a major operation. His peace is being shattered by the constant sound of the phone ringing.

You would think Mrs Driscoll had done the right thing by signing up to the Telephone Preference Service which is supposed to protect you from unwanted calls from companies.

But, as she has discovered to her cost, it does not bar those coming from abroad from call centres trying to sell services such as accident compensation and payment protection insurance (PPI).

How we all echo her resentment when she says: ‘They say the same thing, ‘‘hello, is it a nice sunny day?’’.

‘I don’t want to have a trivial conversation with somebody I don’t even know who’s trying to sell me something that I don’t even want in the first place. It’s a damn nuisance.’

These repeated calls are nothing more than harassment.

You would not expect a cold doorstep caller to keep turning up at your house incessantly ringing the bell. It’s an invasion of privacy. So why do these people think they can get away with it on the phone?

Ofcom has announced a plan to tackle what it says is a growing trend, bringing together industry, regulators and government to help address nuisance calls.

It has commissioned new research to build a clearer picture of the problem and establish why the number of such calls is rising so sharply.

It will also work closely with industry to find ways to trace the companies behind the calls that try to hide their identity, and to prevent the calls.

Companies that breach the rules on nuisance calls can face fines of up to £2m.

Fine theories. Now let’s see them put into effect. It’s time for the regulators to ring the changes.