Under Government legislation introduced on 1st May 1999 and replaced on 11th December 2003 by the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, it is unlawful to make unsolicited direct marketing calls to individuals who have indicated that they do not want to receive such calls.
For some time, individuals have been able to do this by registering with the Telephone Preference Society. (Registering a mobile number will prevent voice calls but not text messages). The service works well and calls drop to almost nothing within a month or so.
The good news is that since June 2004, companies have also been able to register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales calls. It prevents most calls – and there is a certain satisfaction in being able to inform offenders that what they are doing is illegal. The click of a receiver being replaced is generally the last you will hear from them. Fax spam can also be prevented by registering with Fax Preference Society.