The ICO summary of 2015 is both reassuring and disturbing in equal measure

Since the law changed in April 2015, the ICO has found it much easier to prosecute and fine companies for cold calling and nuisance calls, as the burden of proof has been reduced from causing “serious damage and distress” to causing a “nuisance”.

As a result, the total amount of fines imposed has trebled to over £1.1m.

There are a further £1m-worth of fines in the pipeline in existing, ongoing investigations.

The BBC article is, as always, here, and includes the naming and shaming of the biggest culprits towards the end of the article.

Mind you, how long does it take to even MAKE six million nuisance calls. And they’re only a nuisance if they’re answered, we would have thought, so how many more were they making that went unanswered?!

The irony of a firm being fined for making nuisance calls advertising call blocking services, however, may be too much for us to bear…

Hopefully this will lead to us all having a Happy (and quieter) New Year.

All the best from Consumer, Fight Back!

Advertisements

Another cold calling firm receives a heavy fine

A company calling themselves the National Advice Clinic made almost six million nuisance calls in the space of six months.

This fine is particularly important because many of those contacted by the company, which also trades as the Industrial Hearing Clinic and the Central Compensation Office, were on the Telephone Preference Service which is supposed to stop people receiving unsolicited cold calls.

As a result, almost 2,000 complaints were made to the industry regulator Ofcom.

They have been fined £850,000.

More info, as ever, here.

Genius

—-Original Message—–

Sent: 08 November 2012 11:53

Subject: Cashback Claim Rejected

Dear Mr XXX

RE: Your cashback claim for your mobile phone purchase

We’re writing to let you know that your month 15 cashback claim for this mobile number has been rejected because you’ve sent us your October 2012 bill and we need your October 2012 bill to pay your cashback claim.

So that we can process this quickly, please resubmit your claim by sending your October 2012 bill to us within 60 days from the date on the bill.

Yours sincerely

The cashback team

Cold Calling – Good News and Bad News

Firstly, the Bad News.

According to a BBC Panorama investigation broadcast in July of this year, the Telephone Preference Service is being ignored.

Now, for the unfamiliar, the Telephone Preference Service (and its lesser known sisters, the Fax Preference Service and the Mail Preference Service) are one of the longest standing, but coolest, bits of consumer protection legislation in the UK.

By registering your telephone number (or fax number or postal address) on a website, you are added to a list of numbers that cold calling marketing companies are NOT ALLOWED TO CALL.

See? How cool is that?

Sadly, if they lie, and say you asked them to call, or if they say they are not selling, but just conducting a survey, they can circumvent the rules. Naughty.

Or just pretend they have no idea what the TPS is.

The answer is, if you get a cold call, and you’ve put your number on the website (which takes all of thirty seconds, you’re a fool if you don’t), you just interrupt the blah and tell them:

“This number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service and you are therefore breaking the law by telephoning it. Please give me your name and company name so that I can report this to the Information Commissioner”.

You’ll hear a dialling tone by about “and”. Ideally, the first ‘and’, but at worst, definitely by the second.

The Telephone Preference Service can be found here:

http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/number_type.html

The left hand column contains links to the Fax and Mail Preference Service and also to the Baby Mail Preference Service.  It is sad that this is needed, but this is a truly wonderful and thoughtful service. It blocks people from sending you (or someone you care about) baby-related junk mail and adverts if your child has died.  It must be hard enough to deal with such a thing, without Pampers putting vouchers for nappies through your door every morning. What a wonderful idea.

A bit of the recent Panorama programme can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18670314.

Further advice on how to deal with cold callers can be found here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/learners/rip-off-britain/rip-off-britain-cold-calls

And now for The Good News: if you’re able to record your telephone calls, you can fight back.  The legal precedent has been set.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20068927

This man said “I am going to charge you £10 a minute for my time  if you keep talking to me”.  And then he sent them a bill. And when they didn’t pay, he sued them.

And he won.

So there is now no reason to put up with cold callers, unsolicited faxes or even unsolicited junk mail through your letterbox. You have the power. Take control. Consumer, Fight Back!

T-mobile

In 2009, a friend of mine went into a T-mobile shop to buy a new phone and change her tariff.

Her only requirement was that the new tariff must have cheap calls to the country where her father lived – he was ill at the time.

She asked the assistant at least three times if the tariff she was being sold had cheap calls to the relevant country and was told it did.

Two weeks later, when the first bill came, it was nearly £100.  The contract had been mis-sold and did not include cheap calls to the country she had specified.

She did the logical thing and telephoned Customer Services, free of charge, from her phone.  They assured her they would refund her and apologised.

But when she went into the store, they, and Customer Services – after around two hours on hold – denied all knowledge of the entire conversation.

It took precisely one carefully worded letter to head office to get the matter settled, a full refund, a new phone and an apology.

%d bloggers like this: