Monday 10 August 2015

How effective is the Telephone Preference Service?

I don't know, either.

The TPS’s website provides individuals with an easy way to register their objection to receiving unsolicited direct marketing calls, but no information on how effective it is at stamping out these practices.

There’s no information on the volume of complaints it receives, and how these are trending over time.

There’s no information on the work it does to investigate these complaints, before handing them to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

There’s no information the disciplinary action it has taken against companies who fail to properly screen their lists.

Well, actually that's not quite right. The "make a complaint" page does explain that  “we are not the body responsible for enforcement and we are unable to take enforcement action against companies complained about.”

So what does it do?

Ah, that’s easy. “Complaints handled by TPS and CTPS are included in a regular report sent to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) who are the body responsible for enforcement. This enables them to identify trends in complaints being made and supports their investigation when taking enforcement action deemed necessary by them.”

And that’s it.

No wonder I’m getting sick and tired of reading about the ICO fining organisations that breach the PECR regulations. They appear to be the only body that generates headlines as they try to stop nuisance calls.

It might well be the case that the TPS is just as determined to deter miscreants – but it is evidently doing so in mysterious ways.

If the TPS were a public authority, I expect that the usual suspects would have made FOI requests by now, demanding to know just what it is doing and how effective it thinks it is.

What do we learn from it's website about the “TPS in the news and press releases?” 

Not much, considering that there’s only one link for 2015 - and that's over 4 months old. The next link is almost a year old. The TPS really needs to curate it's website more carefully if it is to avoid accusations that it's press officer, and the service itself, could be more proactive.

Perhaps the TPS really is being proactive. Perhaps it shares a great deal of information with the direct marketing industry, through the Direct Marketing Association.

And if that is the case, why shouldn't it share more information with consumers, too?

So, I’m looking forward to the TPS adding a new Frequently Asked Question on it's website soon: "How effective is the TPS?"