Nuisance Calls and Junk Mail

Are you sick of telephone calls trying to sell you double-glazing or cheaper electricity?

There are two ways to deal with the problem.

In the UK and you want to stop unsolicited calls, you can register with the Telephone Preference Service .

The Privacy and Electronic (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 make it unlawful for companies to make unsolicited direct marketing calls to people who have said they do not want to receive them.

Even businesses and community groups can register.

The Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) is the central opt out register whereby corporate subscribers can register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls to either all their organisation's telephone numbers, or to certain numbers. It is a legal requirement that companies do not make such calls to numbers registered on the CTPS.

However you need to note that both services take 28 days for the registration to become fully effective.

Alternatively…

If you want to have some fun with cold-calling yourself, you will find an invaluable guide in the EGBG anti-telemarketing counterscript .

It explains: "Telemarketers make use of a telescript - a guideline for a telephone conversation. This script creates an imbalance in the conversation between the marketer and the consumer. It is this imbalance, most of all, that makes telemarketing successful. The EGBG Counterscript attempts to redress that balance," then gives you a script for derailing the cold caller's spiel.

It bombards the telemarketeer with a series of questions which get increasingly personal, such as: "How long have you been in the business" and "Do you get time off to go to the dentist."

The choicest titbits can be found in the section on questions to ask if the cold-caller does not wish to co-operate. When they want to know why you're asking them questions, you reply:

I would like to know more about the person I am speaking to right now Mr/Ms ... why don't we get back to my question?

If they still refuse, try this:

I can appreciate your hesitation Mr/Ms ... however, this is an important piece of information used for verification purposes and I will handle it with strict confidentiality. With that in mind, would you consider and provide me with the information?

If they still hold out, hit them with this pertinent killer question:

Do you have a problem answering questions to a stranger on the telephone about which you don't know the purpose?

Silent Calls?

Perhaps you have been troubled by calls where the phone rings but on answering there is no one there...

If you have been troubled by calls where the phone rings but on answering there is no one there, you may wish to register your number on the Silent Callgard Service on 0870 4443969.

These calls are generated by automatic dialling equipment, which dial more numbers than there are operators available to take the calls.

You have Won

In recent years there has been an increase in telephone calls telling you that you have won a competition or lottery that you have NEVER entered. Do not reply to these calls no matter how tempted you are by the prizes. They are the telephone scams that either insist you call back on premium telephone lines to find out what you have won, sales presentations or con's designed to get access to your bank account details. Unfortunately there are no cures for the calls at present as almost all originate abroad and are therefore not covered by British Telecommunication laws.

Junk Faxes:

Under Government legislation introduced on 1 May 1999 it is unlawful to send an individual an unsolicited sales and marketing fax without prior permission. Businesses have the opportunity to register fax numbers on which they do not wish to receive direct marketing faxes.

You can do this by registering with the Fax Preference Service . Although this Service is primarily aimed at businesses, as individuals have protection under the legislation, individuals may also register their fax numbers if they wish.

Junk Mail:

The Mailing Preference Service supports your right to choose the mail you want.

With UK consumers generating over £25 billion worth of postal sales per year, it's fair to say the majority welcome the information and special offers they receive by post. However, it's also understandable why some people might take a different view. The MPS is here to make your choice known - so you get the mail you want and need.

Unwanted, unread Direct Mail has no place in anyone's home. And if you're not interested in receiving it, we will update our records for Direct Mail companies to see and adjust their lists as you request.

Mailing Preference Service supports your right to choose the mail you want.

With UK consumers generating over £25 billion worth of postal sales per year, it's fair to say the majority welcome the information and special offers they receive by post. However, it's also understandable why some people might take a different view. The MPS is here to make your choice known - so you get the mail you want and need.

Unwanted, unread Direct Mail has no place in anyone's home. And if you're not interested in receiving it, we will update our records for Direct Mail companies to see and adjust their lists as you request.

Is there any charge for registering with ANY of these services? No, they are free to register.

Useful links:

OFCOM

Riverside House, 2a Southwark Bridge Road, London

Tel 020 7981 3000

Fax 020 7981 3333

Email contact@ofcom.org.uk

Web

The Office of the Information Commissioner

Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Tel 01625 545745

Fax 01625 524510

Email data@ico.gsi.gov.uk