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Frequently asked questions

My company already operates an in-house "do-not-call" list. Do we need to sign up with the TPS as well?

The Regulations stipulate that you should not call an Individual who has previously notified you that such telemarketing calls are unwelcomed. The Regulations also stipulate that telemarketing calls should not be made to Individuals who have registered their objection to such calls with a central register. You will therefore need to ensure you do not contact an Individual who is registered with TPS as well as screening numbers against your own in-house "do-not-call" list.

Telesales are a major part of my business. Why should I subscribe to a service which precludes me from sourcing potential new customers?

Previously in the UK, the self-regulation of those companies making unsolicited sales and marketing calls fell largely under the remit of trade associations such as the DMA and the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) which incorporated best practice guidelines for telemarketers in their Codes of Practice.

However, as from 1st May 1999, it is unlawful to place a direct marketing call to an Individual who has objected, either directly to you as a company or with the central registration scheme - the TPS.

The Regulations require that companies comply with an Individual's request for suppression made to the central registration scheme no later than 28 days after the request was registered.

Can I call my customers?

The Regulations cover calls made to customer lists as well as non-customer lists. If you conduct out-bound telemarketing you will need to be clear on the requirements placed on you by the Regulations which have been effective since 1st May 1999. From that date you are required to ensure you do not phone Individuals who have registered that they do not want to receive direct marketing calls. This will include any of your own customers who have indicated to you directly that they do not wish you to call and those registered with the central register - the TPS. You will be able to continue to call a customer if they have previously indicated that they do not object to you calling them.

What are the differences between the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS)?

The TPS enables Individuals (consumers, sole traders, and (except in Scotland) partnerships) to register their objection to receiving direct marketing calls with a central service. This means that the TPS file contains consumer telephone numbers as well as some business numbers.

The CTPS includes corporate bodies such as a limited company in the UK, a limited liability partnership in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or any partnership in Scotland. It also includes schools, government departments and agencies, hospitals and other public bodies.

Therefore if you are contacting 'business' numbers for the purposes of sales and marketing, you must screen against both the TPS and CTPS files, as the TPS file contains business number also. If you are solely contacting consumers for the purposes of sales and marketing, then you only need to screen against the TPS file.

What happens if my company calls an Individual who has objected?

Enforcement of the Regulations is the responsibility of The Information Commissioner.s Office.

Should an Individual registered with the TPS make a complaint about calls from a company, the TPS office will investigate the circumstances in which the call was made. A full report will be made to The Information Commissioner.s Office who will take appropriate action under the new legislation.

Of course, an Individual could also contact the The Information Commissioner.s Office directly to complain about a call being received.

How do I obtain the TPS data?

You will need to sign the TPS Data File Licence and complete the Application Form. You will then be invoiced in accordance with your stated data selection. This invoice will need to be paid in full before data can be released.

Which membership category is appropriate to my company?

The 2 membership categories which are dependent upon how you wish to receive the data.

Annual Data Supply

Select "Annual Licence" if you know your company needs unlimited access to the full data via Web download, bulletin Board or a regular update every 28 days on any other media. You need to specify the data set you require as well as the medium you wish to use. Data will then be supplied automatically every 28 days. If you request access to the full data file via the download options, you will be issued with access and security instructions and you download the data whenever you need at your convenience.

Ad-hoc Data Supply

For organisations who wish to receive the full or partial on an ad-hoc basis. Once you have completed the application form and selected "Ad-Hoc Licence" and a Data File Licence, you will have access to the Data Ordering Hotline. Call the Hotline at least 7 days before your need an update of the data, or choose to take the data via the web and access it at your convenience.

Does the TPS take into account dialling codes changes ?

We take into account any number code changes, for instance those that took place in April 2000, by holding both the old and the new codes in accordance with OFCOM's guidance.

The information provided above on the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999 ("the regulations") does not purport to be comprehensive and is not intended to constitute legal advice. If you require specific legal advice on the regulations you should consult your solicitors.