Consumer group Which? claims that millions of British homes are still bombarded with unsolicited cold calls despite joining an ‘opt-out’ database. Some homes have received up to 10 cold calls every month despite clearly voicing their disinterest.
Lead generation companies in the UK are required not to call phone numbers listed on the Telephone Preference Service. Despite this, homes that have opted out from receiving marketing calls continue to be affected by telemarketers.
The Telephone Preference Service claims that complaints are always followed up, but a large number of frustrated victims of telemarketing scams claim that firms simply don’t do enough to comply with the regulations.
Many of the companies deliberately target the elderly, offering ‘phone call blocking’ services that allegedly eliminate unwanted calls. The devices often cost as much as £100, which is automatically debited from the accounts of phone marketing targets.
Alex Neil, a Which? spokesman, claims that consumers are complaining about high volumes of unsolicited commercial phone calls more than ever before. Many homes receive upwards of 10 calls a month, often from unreliable direct marketers.
Despite its popularity with consumers, the Telephone Preference Service has little in the way of enforcement powers. The organisation is funded by the Direct Marketing Association and maintains a register of 19 million individuals.
John Mitchison, one of the service’s chief executives, claims that TPS calls companies that violate the law by calling them and ‘reminding them of their legal obligations’ as direct marketers. If complaints are referred to the IFO or Ofcom, they can result in fines of up to £500,000 for companies that repeatedly ignore the regulations.
People that are repeatedly targeted by cold callers should get in touch with the TPS and add themselves to its do-not-call database. They should also be sure that they do not give out personal information to unwanted or untrusted marketing firms.