Ac­tion on cold calls de­manded

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Jonathan Ged­des

Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang’s most se­nior politi­cians have called for more ac­tion on cold­callers.

A firm based at the Cam­bus­lang In­vest­ment Park was given a record fine for the nui­sance calls.

So­lar pan­els firm Home Energy and Lifestyle Man­age­ment Lim­ited (Helms) made na­tional news last week when it was fined £200,000 by the In­for­ma­tion Com­mis­sioner’s Of­fice.

ICO found that the com­pany had been mak­ing calls on an in­dus­trial scale and that they had “made peo­ple’s lives a mis­ery” as part of a cam­paign of­fer­ing ‘free’ so­lar pan­els.

The ICO re­ceived 242 com­plaints over the cam­paign from Oc­to­ber to De­cem­ber 2014.

Mar­garet Ferrier, MP for Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West, said: “This case high­lights the need for more ac­tion to be taken to com­bat this shady prac­tice.

“The ICO re­ceived more than 180,000 com­plaints about nui­sance calls last year, an in­crease of 20,000 com­pared to two years ago.

“Peo­ple are fed up with be­ing pestered by sales calls.

“My con­stituency of­fice is bom­barded with cold calls fol­low­ing our re­cent per­ma­nent tele­phone line in­stal­la­tion and I fully un­der­stand how much they can in­con­ve­nience.

“Whilst the UK Gov­ern­ment has given more power to the ICO to deal with this nui­sance, more needs to be done to truly tackle this is­sue once and for all.

“Tough fines on nui­sance call­ers is a great de­ter­rent but on­go­ing ac­tion is needed to stamp out this men­ace.”

MSP James Kelly led a Holy­rood de­bate in which he asked the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to do more on the is­sue, start­ing with pub­lish­ing an ac­tion plan.

He said: “I know from my own surg­eries that nui­sance calls and texts are a huge is­sue for peo­ple here in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang, in­fring­ing on their pri­vacy and mak­ing daily life a mis­ery, par­tic­u­larly for older and more vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

“Na­tional con­sumer re­search shows huge frus­tra­tion and many sim­ply do not know what ac­tion they can take.

“There is plenty that the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment can do to help tackle un­wanted calls and the first step should be to en­sure that com­pa­nies they are work­ing with through pro­cure­ment are as­sured through the Tele­phone Pref­er­ence Ser­vice.

“There a num­ber of rec­om­men­da­tions from con­sumer or­gan­i­sa­tions which the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment can im­ple­ment.

“It’s time for the SNP to look at this is­sue af­fect­ing peo­ple right here in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang and pub­lish an ac­tion plan, set­ting out ex­actly what it will do to tackle nui­sance calls.”

Helms have an­nounced they in­tend to ap­peal the de­ci­sion.

Do more James Kelly led de­bate at Holy­rood

Fed up Mar­garet Ferrier MP

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