New Ofcom Guides on nuisance calls for vulnerable callers


Nuisance calls are a big problem. Ofcom research has shown that four in five participants (84%) received at least one unwanted call a month, and that 81% of these calls are seen as ‘annoying’ and 9% as distressing. Most calls are about PPI, but can also be about insurance, home improvements and financial products or services.

Helplines Partnership has concerns about nuisance calls because they could lead to people having less trust in the telephone as a means of communication and can also encourage vulnerable people to consider products or services that may not fully meet their needs, especially on debt management. These guides compliment other work that we have undertaken on the issue of vulnerable callers, particularly around payphone access and looking at other options to support vulnerable people to communicate with helplines.

Helplines Partnership has been working with Ofcom, the telephone regulator, on a range of guides to help give information on how people can reduce the number of unwanted nuisance calls. The first guide is a short online educational video that offers tips and advice on nuisance calls. It is available with subtitles to help people with hearing impairments.

The second guide provides advice on preventing nuisance calls in an Easy Read’ format, designed to be easily understood by people with learning disabilities. Easy Read presents information clearly and simply, using pictures to support the meaning of the text. It can also be helpful for those with a limited knowledge of the English language.

The guides could be particularly useful if your helpline works with older callers, people who are hard of hearing or people who have a learning disability or where English is not their first language. They can provide information on how people can reduce the number of unwanted calls that they receive, or how to get further help from other sources.

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