Self Help Strengthens the Barrier
There are bodies in place that can help you if you are suffering from regular cold calls on your telephone. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) both have regulatory powers over business. The Citizens Advice Bureau has also been involved in supporting the consumer against intrusions. There is pressure to use the existing legislation more stringently and more frequently. There is also pressure to strengthen the legislation itself.
Reputable companies generally comply with the regulations and certainly stop when told to do so. There is such a thing as bad publicity, whatever anyone says. There have been examples of huge fines that certainly stand out on a balance sheet and get shareholders asking questions at the AGM.
That said; the subject of nuisance telephone calls is still being regularly aired because they have not gone away. There are vulnerable people whose link to the outside world in the evening is their telephone. They should be able to have their privacy respected.
The problem revolves around the less reputable companies who see an opportunity. The current one is most certainly relating to Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) where everyone knows the financial institutions have made huge provisions to compensate consumers for previous mis-selling of the product. Companies that claim to be able to help and in return take a percentage of the settlement may not be interested in compliance. They come well prepared. Their identity is elusive, their sales script thorough and persuasive.
Callers may mislead consumers into thinking that they have been specifically chosen for a particular service, perhaps dropping a reputable name or an official body into the conversation. They will certainly be told something that sounds like good news, but the question is often whether it can be substantiated. Experienced callers may sense they are getting an excellent response and even bring up the question of an initial fee.
Cold calling in itself is not illegal; it is just that there are guidelines as to what is acceptable and what is forbidden. That does not help the consumer who does not want the cold call at all. The answer is to obtain a system that will reduce these nuisance calls to a trickle and an idea of what is available can be seen on the website http://www.grouputilities.com/.
The principle is one where numbers that are not recognised simply cannot get through without being questioned first. While the unscrupulous may lie and get through a single time, it will not happen again. Over time, more and more sales and marketing companies will find that they cannot penetrate into households and perhaps realise that the telephone is no longer the best tool to promote their goods and services.
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