Telephone Preference Service
The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 opt-out telephone
The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

 list that is intended to prevent telemarketing
Telemarketing is a method of direct marketing in which a salesperson solicits prospective customers to buy products or services, either over the phone or through a subsequent face to face or Web conferencing appointment scheduled during the call.Telemarketing can also include recorded sales pitches...

 calls to those who do not wish to receive them. The list is administered on behalf of Ofcom
Ofcom is the government-approved regulatory authority for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries in the United Kingdom. Ofcom was initially established by the Office of Communications Act 2002. It received its full authority from the Communications Act 2003...

 by the British direct marketing industry, who also run the Mailing Preference Service and Fax Preference Service. In 2005, the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 reported that there were 10.5 million numbers registered.
At the end of the year 2007, 14.8 million numbers were registered.

The TPS should not be confused with the Government Telephone Preference Scheme which refers exclusively to the system used by the General Post Office
General Post Office
General Post Office is the name of the British postal system from 1660 until 1969.General Post Office may also refer to:* General Post Office, Perth* General Post Office, Sydney* General Post Office, Melbourne* General Post Office, Brisbane...

 since 1952 and later BT
BT Group
BT Group plc is a global telecommunications services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is one of the largest telecommunications services companies in the world and has operations in more than 170 countries. Through its BT Global Services division it is a major supplier of...

 to keep selected telephones operating during wartime when access to the telephone system by the general public would be denied.


Residential users have been able to register on the list since May 1999 under the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999. The list has statutory force under the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003
Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003
The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 is a law in the United Kingdom which made it unlawful to, amongst other things, transmit an automated recorded message for direct marketing purposes via a telephone, without prior consent of the subscriber.This is somewhat similar to the...

. From 25 June 2004 corporate subscribers were also allowed to register on the list under Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2004


Companies can still contact their own customers regardless of TPS to offer new products and services so long as the customer has "already notified you that they do not object to receiving such calls" Genuine market research (from companies like Ipsos MORI and RCU) are also allowed and calls from overseas made by overseas companies on their own account cannot be controlled by registering with the TPS. Individuals and businesses may opt out
The term opt-out refers to several methods by which individuals can avoid receiving unsolicited product or service information. This ability is usually associated with direct marketing campaigns such as telemarketing, e-mail marketing, or direct mail. A list of those who have opted-out is called a...

 on a case-by-case basis by objecting to these types of organisations directly. Unlike its foreign counterparts, TPS does not exempt charities, religious organisations and political parties.


Once a number is registered it may take up to 28 days to become fully effective. Then, it is unlawful for telemarketers to call a number on the list. The TPS has no enforcement power, so all complaints are passed on to the Information Commissioner's Office. The maximum penalty is currently £5,000. However, there have been no prosecutions undertaken as the legislation does not allow for prosecutions.

See also

  • Robinson list
    Robinson list
    A Robinson list or Mail Preference Service list is an opt-out list of people who do not wish to receive marketing transmissions. The marketing can be via e-mail, postal mail, telephone, or fax. In each case, contact details will be placed on a blacklist...

  • Canadian Do Not Call List
    Canadian Do Not Call List
    The National Do Not Call List allows residents of Canada to decide whether or not to receive telemarketing calls. It was first announced by the Government of Canada on December 13, 2004.The DNC list has been labelled a "disaster"...

  • New Zealand Name Removal Service
    New Zealand Name Removal Service
    The New Zealand Name Removal Service provides a way for New Zealanders to reduce the amount of junk mail and telemarketing calls they receive.The service is provided voluntarily by the Marketing Association of New Zealand and stops only calls and mail from their 500 members...

  • United States National Do Not Call Registry
    United States National Do Not Call Registry
    The National Do Not Call Registry is intended to give U.S. consumers an opportunity to limit the telemarketing calls they receive. To register by telephone , consumers may call 1-888-382-1222. The registry was set to begin in 2003, but a court challenge delayed its implementation until 2004. The...

External links

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