Friday, 11 October 2013

Unwanted telephone calls start to ring alarm bells

There was a time when having your telephone number as ex-directory saved you from a lot of nuisance calls, from the ubiquitous double glazing salesperson to prank calls from the neighbourhood kids. Then the number of telecommunication service providers grew, along with the directory enquiry operators and it seemed as if the telephone never stopped ringing. No matter how many times you tell the caller that you are ex-directory, and try to get taken off whatever list they have bought into, then another batch of callers come along, and this time they are linked directly to the services you, as a consumer, buy into. The bank, the building society and the gas company have all called this week, despite pointing out to them verbally, and on every form filled in, that the landline number is ex-directory and such calls are not welcome. One company, to be fair, finally did take the hint and then telephoned on the mobile. The others waited a few weeks and  called back, asking to speak to the other half.

Removing your telephone number from marketing lists

Trying to find out how to complain about these calls has led to logging onto consumer complaints sites, writing into various companies to ask to be taken off certain lists and making sure that, if any products or services are bought over the internet, all the boxes are ticked that states the vendor will not sell on personal details nor be in contact themselves. All this however does take a fair amount of time and effort finding out who to contact in the first place, and, it is not so much a complaint as a request. To take your number off telephone mailing lists in the UK, then you can register, free of charge, with the Telephone Preference Service via the internet for those who are interested.

Registering an interest in your details

Yesterday evening a very pleasant young woman called purporting to be from a reputable company, asking questions about potential voting in the next election. She gave, when asked, confirmation numbers and website details along with her managers name and number. She also clarified the right to refuse to give her any personal data. The questions she asked were around voting for the next general election, she was polite and professional and so I went through the survey with her. When asked where she had got my ex-directory number from she said the details she had on the household were bought from the edited Electoral Register.

The edited register is, apparently available for general sale and when you register to vote, you can choose to opt out of this edited version meaning your details can’t be used for marketing purposes. You can opt out at any time by making a declaration to the Electoral Registration Officer and your council will be able to advise you further on this. This also will hopefully stop a lot of the unwanted post that comes through the door as well, saving the environment as well as giving you a little peace and quiet.

So if you have any unwanted or persistent sales then we'd love to hear from you - just don't ring me up around teatime or on my ex-directory number - tweet, message us, email or carrier pigeon are probably the best bet!



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