Guide to the Telephone Preference Service

The Telephone Preference Service, or TPS, affects every UK business which uses the telephone. It doesn’t matter if you sell to the public or to businesses, the TPS still matters, so it’s worth reading our reminder of how the TPS works and its implications for your business.

The TPS is a central register of consumers who have chosen not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing phone calls an is operated and funded by the direct marketing industry. Regulation is overseen by the Information Commissioners Office. Since its introduction in 1999, around over 60% of UK households have registered their phone number with the TPS.

If you call a TPS or CTPS registered number on an unsolicited basis, you’ll be in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, which states it is unlawful to make unsolicited direct marketing calls to individuals who have indicated that they do not want to receive such calls. If reported and found to be in breach of these regulations, your business could face legal action and even a £5000 fine.

The TPS doesn’t just apply to residential phone numbers. Consumers can register their home phone number and mobile numbers, whilst Sole traders working from home can also register their telephone number at their residential address. Businesses can register their numbers with a B2B version called the Corporate Telephone Preference Service, or CTPS.

Around half of UK businesses have already registered with the CTPS. The register also includes organisations like charities and public bodies. Plus businesses can register individual extension or department numbers within the same organisation.

Whenever you buy a direct marketing list from Selectabase it will be screened against the latest TPS registrations just before it’s sent to you, or will have been checked on a regular monthly cycle.

If you have a mailing list or direct marketing list of your own which includes telephone numbers, then you should screen these numbers regularly to update TPS registrations, or should check a number against the TPS before calling it.