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Annoying unsolicited telemarketing phone calls: your rights

November 15, 2005
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The number of unwanted telemarketing phone calls we receive have increased a lot after a recent telephone number change.

There are various ways dealing with such calls:

1. For a short term relief just hang up.

I am a honest and polite person and for the last 5 years I tried to be rational and sensible when dealing with unwanted telemarketing calls. This did not help. It was a waste of time.

Once I overcame this politeness, I can now terminate an unwanted call in just 10 seconds. "Hello I am calling from Super Cheap Calls, would you be interested in... CLICK".

2. The better solution is to register your number with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). By UK law it is unlawful to make unsolicited direct marketing calls to registered numbers.

Save the registration confirmation as it is required when submitting a complaint.

The registration can take up to 3 months to come into effect so wait this long before submitting any complaints.

It is the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) who enforces the above law. You can find handy complaint templates at their making a complaint page.

Even if the phone call is originating from abroad, there will be an UK company that is responsible for the offered product/service and is intended to receive your money.

Ask the caller who you will be paying to.

3. If you have a lot of spare time, a third approach is to try and waste as much as possible of the callers time.

The conversion rates (successful sales out of total calls) are low so the call centers rely on quick finishes on calls that do not result in a sale.

If enough people did this, the call center operation would become unprofitable due to high calling costs and amount of time spent on unsuccessful calls.

Ask about every single option in the offering, tell them to hold while you are getting a pen and paper, tell them you don't understand, ask about costs and cancelations, tell them to call back in 5 minutes and start asking the same questions.

My personal record is 8 minutes, can you beat that? (leave a comment)



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Comments

  1. Pedro Says:

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    It is also UNLAWFULL of BT to advertise the TPS as something that they provide. They were previously advertising "BT PRIVACY": Get a phone with us and we'll block unsolicited marketing calls.

    On a side note: What would happen with your phone is registered with TPS and YET SO you get a call? Is there any formal procedure to shaft the callers?

    David says:

    Yeah, I saw the BT privacy thing. A bit cheeky of them but they don't say TPS is theirs. They just say use "BT privacy".

    Read the article again, it says how to complain to the ICO.

  2. John Says:

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    I regularly get these types of calls, two or three times a day, particularly between 5pm - 7pm.

    It's usually during a favourite tv show like simpsons or doctor who.

    on Sunday i was rehearsing with my bass player, at about 6.45 the phone rings and i say hello... silence... then hello again... silence....
    then a voice cuts in.. it's a Pakistani male...
    "Hello sir, may i speak to the occupier of this property".
    I slammed the phone down.
    A minute late the phone rang again. I answered.
    "Why you hang up on me mister."
    "Cos I don't want to talk you. Stop wasting my time you F***ING TWAT!" - slam down the phone.
    Call back instantly.
    "Same to you mister" - I was disgraced!
    "Who the fuck do you think you are speaking to you f***ing wanker!" i yelled. "F**K OFFFF!!!".

    - As far as I am concerned I had the right to handle the call that way.

    David says:

    A bit harsh but I feel your pain brother. All bets are of when the other party abuses ones honesty and courtesy.

    Good luck with the music.

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