The first step in stopping cold calling is to register your phone number with the 'Telephone Preference Service' (TPS). The TPS hold a central opt-out register which consumers can request they be added to if they do not wish to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls. It is a legal requirement that companies do not make unsolicited calls to numbers registered on the TPS database. Once registered it can take up to 28 days before you will notice a reduction in cold calling. It takes less than a minute to register your preference with the TPS and it's free! (Don't forget to register your mobile number too!) Join here
If you're a BT residential customer you can cleverly manage nuisance callers with 'BT Call Protect'. It's a free service designed to automatically blacklist and divert, known nuisance callers to a junk Voice Mail number. You can also manually divert additional numbers. For a more robust filter, you can opt to block unrecognised or international numbers which will drastically reduce nuisance callers. As part of the BT group Plusnet customers can also subscribe to the same service. Simply log in to your Plusnet account and under the phone tab select call features, then tick 'Plusnet Call Protect'. The service is free and will be active within 24hrs.
Unsolicited text messages appear to be on the increase. The most common type of texts received relate to debt management, accident claims and fake courier parcels. To report unsolicited text messages, forward the unwanted SMS to 7726 this will report the message as spam to your mobile phone provider.
If you're receiving nuisance calls or text spam you can report it to the 'Information Commissioner's Office' (ICO). They are an independent UK body set up to uphold information rights. It only takes a few minutes to report a call via the online form. ICO will not respond directly to individual cases but by submitting your nuisance calls to them they can use this data to help investigate and take action against those responsible. Report nuisance calls to ICO
There are many reasons why you may wish to stop direct marketing material (i.e. junk mail) from landing on your doormat. For some people, it's environmental principles, others may be receiving mail for a previous occupier or deceased family member. Registering your marketing preferences on the 'UK Mailing Preference Service' (MPS) website will help to reduce junk mail. This service is also free and registration only takes a minute to complete. It can take up to 4 months to notice a reduction in junk mail. Register with the MPS here
There is a separate mailing preference database that covers baby-related mailings. Whilst many new parents are happy to receive marketing material and free product trials, this is not always the case. If you wish to opt-out, the service is effective, sympathetic and free! Register online here
Unaddressed mail - Royal Mail is legally obliged to deliver all addressed mail, which includes mail that is addressed “To the Occupier” (or with any other generic recipient information) as well as mail that is personally addressed to you. It is not possible for Royal Mail to separate material you don’t want from material that you do want, such as advertising offers or leaflets from Central and Local Government. Opting out of Royal Mail 'Door to Door' stops all unaddressed items from being delivered by Royal Mail. Election material is not delivered by the 'Door to Door' service and is therefore unaffected. Opting out means that nobody at the address should receive unaddressed mail items. The opt-out will not cover any other distributors, who will continue to deliver unaddressed mail items. If you would like to opt out of receiving unaddressed items delivered by Royal Mail, you can email your details to:
If you would like to opt-out from deliveries from other unaddressed mail distributors who are members of the Direct Marketing Association, you may wish to register with the 'Your Choice' preference scheme run by the Direct Marketing Association. The contacts details are as follows:
Preference Scheme Direct Marketing Association
70 Margaret Street
London W1W 8SS
Telephone: 020 7291 3300
Alternatively you can download the DMA form here and post it to them. (Your Choice - DMA opt-out form)