JOHN SWINNEY WARNS OF NUISANCE CALLS
JOHN SWINNEY WARNS OF NUISANCE CALLS
Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney would like to warn householders about a recent spate of nuisance calls in the area. Mr Swinney is fully aware of the distress and annoyance these calls have been causing to his constituents. These calls are reported to be making false claims about the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS): Cashback Scheme.
The Scottish Government is currently reviewing the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS): Cashback Scheme, and are looking to exclude from eligibility any installers who engage in telephone marketing (certainly in cases where individuals caller are on the Telephone Preference Service) or cold calling. In addition the Scottish Government can, and will, take action against installers, where there is evidence of them wrongly claiming to be ‘working for the Scottish Government’.
As the issue of telecommunications, including nuisance calls, remains reserved to the UK Government the Scottish Government are unable to comment on specific issues. However, the Scotland Bill is devolving wider powers to the Scottish Government in the areas of competition and consumer protection, which will give us more of a chance to shape a more effective Scottish response to consumer issues such as nuisance calls and texts. In the meantime the Scottish Government will continue to work with the UK Government to ensure that the regime governing nuisance calls and texts is made as effective as possible.
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“I would like to stress that the Scottish Government has a number of schemes which offer households in the private sector assistance with the cost of installing eligible energy efficiency measures. However, none of these schemes involve installers being permitted or encouraged to carry out cold calling.
“Where they can be identified, action will be taken against installers or their agents misrepresenting themselves as having been contracted to work for the Scottish Government, or giving deliberate misinformation to pressurise households into taking up their services.
“It is categorically not the case that households are obliged to ensure that their boilers reach certain efficiency standards by a certain time, or that they must offer access to companies working in the area for the purpose of them carrying out inspections.
“I would encourage all householders looking for expert, independent advice and support with respect to energy efficiency in their homes to contact the Home Energy Scotland advice line, on 0808 808 2282.
“Constituents may also wish to visit Ofcom’s website, which provides guidance on how to reduce the number of nuisance calls they receive, at the following links: http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/phone/tackling-nuisance-calls-and messages/protecting-yourself-from-nuisance-calls-and-messages/ or http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/files/2012/10/A-quick-guide-to-nuisance-calls-and-texts.pdf
“In addition to this guidance, Ofcom have also published a joint action plan, which can be found at: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/silent-calls/joint-action-plan) and it aims to publish a further update on its work to tackle nuisance calls by the end of 2015.
“Consumer organisation Which? also offers guidance on how to deal with nuisance calls. They offer a complaints form, which can be filled out by anyone who keeps receiving the calls. Individuals can complain about a company or number making nuisance calls and texts to a number of organisations including the Telephone Preference Service, their phone operator, Ofcom (which covers silent and abandoned calls) or the Information Commissioners Office. More information is available at: http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/nuisance-calls-and-texts
“I hope that constituents find this information of use and are reassured that the Scottish Government is taking this matter seriously.”
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