UK data cleaning provider, Selectabase, has announced that the numbers of UK home and business phone numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service, or TPS, have reached a new high.
Online PR News – 19-July-2010 – – Almost 18 million UK addresses have now registered a telephone number with the TPS, and almost 2 million businesses are registered with the business version of the register, the CTPS.
The findings increase pressure on any organisation using the telephone for commercial purposes to ensure that numbers are checked against the relevant preference service before being called. If a complaint about unsolicited phone calls is upheld, a £5000 fine can be imposed.
The TPS, which is run by the direct marketing industry, acts as a central register of numbers whose owners have chosen not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing phone calls, sometimes known as cold calls. Consumers or businesses can register with the TPS or CTPS free of charge.
If a business calls a TPS registered number on an unsolicited basis, it is in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, which states that it is unlawful to make unsolicited direct marketing calls to individuals who have indicated that they do not want to receive such calls. If found to be in breach of these regulations, the business could face legal action and even a £5000 fine.
Companies using telesales or telemarketing in the b2b sector are now more at risk than in the past, as the number of UK businesses registering their telephone numbers with the Corporate Telephone Preference Service has increased at a far greater rate over the last 18 months. There are now almost 2 million UK business phone numbers registered with the CTPS, and in larger organisations CTPS registration can even vary from department to department.
Whilst the continuing growth in popularity of the TPS continues to change the landscape for direct marketing, it does not mean that the telephone has stopped being used as a business tool completely. Instead, outbound callers have had to become more sophisticated and better organised in their activities to ensure they respect the preferences of the people they call.
To help them, a number of low cost solutions have emerged to help callers check the phone numbers in their database against the latest versions of the Telephone Preference Service suppression file, which is updated monthly.
One such provider is Selectabase, which provides a TPS check website and free list cleaning software for smaller end users. Steve Sellwood of Selectabase has seen their service grow in steadily in popularity; “it’s probably fair to say that a few years ago there was far less awareness of the TPS amongst businesses using the phone and possibly even a degree of complacency, but we’ve seen such growth in uptake of our main services, 1check and Easycheck, that we feel businesses are now far more aware of their legal and ethical obligations”.
Consumers and businesses can register their phone number with the Telephone Preference Service free online at tpsonline.org.uk. Organisations such as businesses and charities using the phone for commercial purposes can check phone numbers against the latest TPS register before they call individually at http://www.tpscheck.co.uk, or check larger lists of numbers with Easycheck software from https://www.selectabase.co.uk/i-have-a-list/easycheck/.