A new organisation has been created to help protect dealers’ rights to make customer sales calls.
It is called Call For Action On The TPS and hopes to reform the Telephone Preference Service.
The group is inviting all interested parties to attend its first meeting on November 24.
The group has been formed to create and lobby for more effective workable telemarketing regulation that better protects the public from rogue calling, while defending the interests of companies that undertake ethical sales and marketing practice.
A key subject the group will tackle will be the Information Commissioners Office introducing regulation that stipulates customers may not be called unless they have opted in based on specific subject.
If such a rule were to be introduced it would jeopardise the ability to call customers about car servicing and MoTs.
The initial meeting has been called to listen to proposals to update the existing TPS system, which according to Ofcom’s own research, causes an 18% increase in calls when consumers sign up to it.
Also, a recent nationwide survey by BBC1’s consumer affairs programme Watchdog, found 58% of TPS users say it does not work.
Producing recommendations to improve TPS may prevent more stringent rules from being imposed by the regulator.
Although this year Ofcom has issued more than £2.5 million in fines to companies that break TPS rules the majority simply go into liquidation and remerge under a new name, says Call For Action On The TPS.
With regulation compliant companies being increasingly squeezed by TPS, rogues are filling the vacuum created.
Call For Action On TPS has been established in an attempt to find a balanced way forward that will accommodate the interests of regulation compliant businesses and members of the public.
Once proposed changes are established, a campaign will be launched to lobby politicians, the press and regulators.
Founder Charlie McKelvey, editor of direct marketing magazine Decision Marketing, said: “There are more registrations on TPS than there are active telephone numbers, and joining TPS leads to far more nuisance calls from rogue companies.
“This is because a registration by a member of the public flags up the fact that a number is live, plus rogue callers knows complaint companies will leave registered numbers alone. This gives the rogues competitive advantage.”
The publication decided to start a forum to discuss alternatives to the present system. Once alternative regulation has been drafted it will be put to politicians, the Information Commissioners Office, Ofcom and other interested parties.
“The alternative is to wait for rules that will curtail outbound calls, which ironically would be likely to lead to an increase in rogue calls due to the market being clear. This is something long recognised in telemarketing circles.”
So far more than 30 companies have said they will get involved, plus two trade bodies.
“Mostly they are from the telemarketing sector, which is to be expect, but in order to get as broad a contribution of views and ideas as possible, it is important to get a diverse range of businesses involved.
“Dealerships should have something valuable to say. They have a vested interest in protecting the ability to make outbound calls to support their service business.
“By giving them a voice and building a strong case for change we may, just may be able to persuade Ofcom and, in turn, the Government that there is another way. The alternative is not pretty. Do we really want to give the Government an excuse to outlaw outbound telemarketing?”
The open meeting to listen to ideas will be on Thursday, November 24 at 11am at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London.
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