Telephone Preference Service: a bluffer's guide

Looking at telemarketing, but unsure about the red tape?

Have no fear: our handy bluffer’s guide to staying on the right side of the regulators will see you through – and could save you time and money too.

What’s the deal? Under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Act 2003, individuals and businesses can choose protection from unsolicited marketing calls, by opting out through the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS).

Tell me there’s some good news! The TPS actually saves you time you might waste calling people who don’t want to talk to you. By cleaning your contact list of contacts who have stated they don’t want any telemarketing calls, it’s easier to focus on real prospects. Why would you pay your telemarketing team to call people who have already said they’re not interested?

What’s the worst that could happen? Well, there’s some bad news too. Calling a TPS registered number is an offence, and you could be liable for up to a £5,000 fine if you do so.

What should I do? The Telephone Preference Service offers its own number checking service, with both high and low volume options: click here for more information. Alternatively if you search online there are a range of number checking services available catering for large and small businesses alike. Check your numbers! And if you’re considering buying a telemarketing list, or using a telemarketing service, make sure your supplier uses lists are TPS/CTPS checked.

How long and how much? Checking numbers should take at most a few minutes – it’s usually just a matter of uploading a list of numbers to your chosen number checking service, and noting which if any are flagged up as TPS registered. Reckon on paying 1-25p per number, depending on the size of your list and the service you use.

How often should I check? If you’re making telemarketing calls on a regular basis, you should check new additions to your list every 28 days, or at the minimum before beginning a telemarketing campaign. As for existing customers, it’s recommended that you don’t make marketing calls to them if they’re TPS registered, unless they’ve clearly opted in to receiving your calls (eg by ticking a box on a form).

Don’t be put off by the regulations: telemarketing can be a great addition to your growth strategy. But don’t put it off either – your brand or even business reputation may depend on it!

To read more about the Telephone Preference Service, click here. For a summary of UK regulations governing direct marketing, click here.