Warning over bogus cold call blocking services
Published 28 September 2015
There’s been an increase in the amount of rogue traders selling bogus cold calling blocking services.
Cold calls are a nuisance, but even more so when they come from the very people that are supposed to be solving this problem. According to Citizens Advice, there’s been an increase in the number of people complaining about receiving cold calls from companies selling cold call blocking devices. The charity estimates that last year it helped 2,500 people with call blocking service issues.
Over the course of last year, the charity says it’s seen a 72 per cent increase in the number of cases they received in relation to the ‘bogus selling’ of cold call blocking services. This includes complaints about aggressive selling, the selling of faulty goods and being unable to cancel contracts.
Blocking devices are supposed to allow the owner to screen their calls, letting them decide which ones they want to accept. But it would seem that even once people have bought these cold call blockers, they still aren’t left alone. People on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), a service which should prevent the person from receiving unsolicited phone calls, have received these phone calls as well.
It is thought that some of the calls may be coming from abroad or that they’re the result of UK companies ignoring that by law, as they need to check if people are on the TPS list before calling them. The complaints vary, with some stating that fraudsters tried to deceive them into believing that their family or friends had already purchased the blocking devices, while others said that they received calls from people claiming to be working with the Government, Trading Standards or from the TPS.
Action is being taken
Although there are companies out there that do offer a good service, a certain number of rogue traders are trying to exploit the market. The main difference between the two is that legitimate companies offering these devices won’t cold call or charge you an upfront annual fee when you were expecting to pay monthly instalments.
But action is being taken – fines have already been handed out by the Information Commissioner’s Office. For example, Stop the Calls a company that offers a nuisance call blocking service was fined £50,000 last month for calling people registered with TPS, making repeated calls and ignoring requests from people to stop calling.
Putting a stop to it
If you’re being harassed by these types of calls, you can register with the Telephone Preference Service online or by calling 0845 070 0707. To take further action, you can report unsolicited marketing calls to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, you could invest in a telephone with a caller display so that you can avoid answering the calls with numbers that you don’t recognise.