How to stop nuisance calls with the Telephone Preference Service


How to stop nuisance calls with the Telephone Preference Service main image

The Telephone Preference Service, also known as the TPS is the UK’s official ‘do not call’ register. As it’s illegal for organisations to make unsolicited calls to Telephone Preference Service registered numbers, the TPS is one of the best ways you can stop nuisance calls to landline and mobile phones.

The following information explains what the TPS is, how it works and how you can register to stop unwanted calls today.

What is the Telephone Preference Service?how do i stop unsolicited telephone calls

Operated by the Direct Marketing Association on behalf of the ICO, the Telephone Preference Service is a register you can join to stop unwanted sales and marketing calls. This is because legally, UK organisations aren’t allowed to make calls to people registered on the TPS unless they have consent.

By law, businesses are required to screen their customer contact lists against the TPS register every 28 days. Therefore, once you have registered, the number of unwanted sales calls you receive should reduce within a few weeks.

Is the Telephone Preference Service free?

The Telephone Preference Service is completely free to use. It is the UK’s only official ‘do not call’ register and you will never be asked for money to join. You can add as many landline and mobile numbers as you want and you will not be charged.

If anyone contacts you asking you to join for money, be aware that it is most probably a scam.

The Telephone Preference Service scam

The Telephone Preference Service scam has done the rounds a few times. To avoid being duped by scammers pretending to be calling from the TPS, just remember the genuine Telephone Preference Service will never:

  • contact you to ask you to renew your registration
  • contact you to check your details
  • ask for payment

So, if anyone contacts you, just end the call as its probably another Telephone Preference Scam doing the rounds.

How do I register with the Telephone Preference Service?

You can register with the Telephone Preference Service by phone on 0345 070 0707 or via the internet using the TPS online service. Alternatively, if you are wanting to register a mobile number, you can do this via text.

TPS online registration service

TPS online is a quick, easy way to join the Telephone Preference Service register. All you need is your name, address, the telephone numbers you want to add to the register and your email address. TPS online will then send you an activation link so you can confirm your registration.

TPS text registration service

If you want to register a mobile number with the Telephone Preference Service, you can use the free TPS text service. To join, just text ‘TPS’ along with your email address to 85095 from the mobile phone you want to register. The TPS will then send you a text message confirming your registration.

What is the TPS checker?

The TPS checker is a free service you can use if you’re not sure whether your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service. Simply enter your number into the TPS checker and it will immediately confirm if it’s registered or not.

Depending on whether the number is registered, you can then decide to register using the TPS online service, or where relevant, remove your number from the TPS register by emailing your details to tps@dma.org.uk.

How long does it take to stop nuisance calls?

Companies are legally required to screen their customer contact data against the TPS register every 28 days. Therefore, it will typically take around a month to stop nuisance calls from companies selling products and services without your permission.  

Does the Telephone Preference Service stop all unwanted calls?

The Telephone Preference Service’s remit is to stop unsolicited sales and marketing calls. Unfortunately, this means they can’t stop all unwanted calls. The type of calls they can’t prevent includes:

  • Automated or recorded messages
  • Silent calls
  • Market research
  • Overseas companies
  • Debt collection

They also can’t stop scam, nuisance and abusive calls however they do provide information on who to contact if you need to complain.

How else can I stop nuisance calls?

The Telephone Preference Service will help you stop nuisance calls from companies trying to sell you something. However, there are other things you can do to reduce the amount of unwanted calls you get.

  • Block numbers – either by speaking to your telecoms provider or is using a mobile, blocking the number yourself.
  • Screen calls – a service offered by telecoms providers that allows you to identify who is calling before agreeing to speak to them or block their call.
  • Report repeat offenders – especially if you have registered with the TPS. Unfortunately some companies do not comply with the 28 day TPS screening rule, so if you’re still receiving sales and marketing calls, you should report them to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) for further investigation.
  • Refuse future contact – when completing forms by ticking the appropriate box that prevents further marketing.

In addition, if a company does contact you, they are required to stop if you state you want no further contact of any kind.

How can I report nuisance calls?

To report nuisance calls or texts, scam calls and messages or spam emails, contact the Information Commissioner’s Office. If your complaint is about abandoned or silent calls where you answer the phone and no one is there, contact OFCOM.

Frequently asked questions

Is there a Telephone Preference Service for mobiles?

You can register both landline phone numbers and mobiles with the Telephone Preference Service. The service is free to use and you can register multiple numbers when you join.  

Simply use the TPS online service or the text service for mobiles to register.

How long does the Telephone Preference Service last?

Ones you have registered your number with the TPS it will remain on their central register to be screened against by companies every 28 days. There is no need to re-register and your details will never be removed, unless you ask to be taken off the register.

Don’t forget you can always check whether your number is on the register by using the TPS checker.

Will going ex-directory stop nuisance calls?

Whilst the Telephone Preference Service is one of the best ways to stop nuisance calls, going ex-directory can also help as some businesses use this directory to get contact numbers.

What is the Mailing Preference Service?

The Mailing Preference Service works in a similar way to the TPS however it prevents unsolicited direct mail rather than calls. Funded by the Direct Mail Industry and supported by the Royal mail and ICO, the Mailing Preference Service prevents unsolicited direct mailings sent from member companies of the DMA.



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