Marketing by telephone or fax - law and the TPS and FPS 'Preference Services'

by Telephone and Fax Preference Service

Know your obligations under the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999

The Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999 place a number of obligations on organisations that market their products and services by telephone and fax.

Marketing and Selling by Telephone

The Regulations give individuals the opportunity to register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls through a central opt out register - The Telephone Preference Service.

The term individual covers not just consumers at residential addresses but also (except in Scotland) sole traders and partnerships.  The consequence of this is that sole traders and partnerships, and from 25th June 2004 PLCs and Ltd. Companies can register on the TPS - so if you are calling businesses you will need to make sure that your lists are screened against the TPS.

Organisations must also keep an internal do not call list of numbers where such requests have been made directly to them.

The Regulations require that a registration is effective 28 days after registration.  Enforcement is through the Office of the Information Commissioner.

How to Obtain the TPS File

To obtain full details on how to access the TPS data file visit the TPS website.  You can complete the application form online and download the licence, which all subscribers need to complete.  On the application form you can specify if you want the whole file or selections of it.  Selections are based on NND (National Number Dial) codes.  There are options to take the file on a regular or adhoc basis and on a variety of media.  If you take the data by CD, tape etc we ensure that you receive it on a regular basis so you are compliant with the Regulations.  If you choose to download the file via the website you can download it as often as you like, at your convenience.

TPS is run on a non-profit basis, the company receives no money from the Government or any other body; the service is funded by the industry purchasing the data files.  A full listing of prices is available on the site.  All prices have to be agreed by the Secretary of State.

If you do not wish to screen your data in-house a number of subscribers to the file offer a variety of list screening services, full details of these are on the website.  TPS also offers an online list screening service on the website which is specifically aimed at small businesses.

Marketing by Fax

The Regulations covering marketing by fax are stricter than marketing by phone.  It is unlawful to send a sales and marketing fax to an individual without their prior permission.  Remember, the term individual covers not only consumers at residential addresses but also (except in Scotland) sole traders and partnerships.

The FPS is principally a service which allows businesses (limited companies and plcs) to register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing faxes.  However, individuals can also register on the FPS if they wish.

How to Obtain the FPS File

As with the TPS full details are on the website.  The site allows you to complete the application form to become a subscriber and to download the licence. Selections based on NND codes are available and you can choose to take the file on an adhoc or annual basis.  The file is available on a variety of media including web download.  If you take the file by web download you can download it as often as you wish at your convenience.

Again there are a number of subscribers who offer list screening services and full details of these are available on the website.  FPS offers an online interrogation service aimed at small businesses.


Call the following numbers if you have any queries:

TPS 020 7766 4420

FPS 020 7766 4422

Or email us on

Reviewed January 2011

last updated : 21/01/2011

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