The number of techniques that sales people use to try and gain a sale are getting more devious and more inconvenient to the user. I’ve experienced door-to-door sales people that have tried to use deceptive techniques to get me to change utility supplier by trying to make it appear that I was already their customer and they were just offering to change my tariff to save me money. The reality being that they were for a rival utility company wanting me to transfer to them.
But the technique being used by tele sales companies are getting even worse. Not only do sales companies phone you up to try and sell you something at the most inconvenient times, but now when they do it they don’t even have the manners to have someone on the other end to talk to. This would be an inconvenience for everyone, but could be particularly bad for the elderly or disabled people who may struggle to get to the phone. It may also be worrying for people that think that they may have missed and important call or those who, not unreasonably, feel intimidated by having a large number of calls that go dead when the phone is picked up.
The reason for these silent calls is that penny pinching companies call up more numbers than they have operators on the basis that many of the phones will ring unanswered. In an effort to maximise the number of calls they make they increase the amount of calls they dial so that some people end up picking up the phone with no operator available and hence don’t get anyone to talk to.
The Direct Marketing Association has issued guidelines that says it’s members should disclose their phone number using the UK’s “1471” scheme, but have not spoken out against these automatic dialers. The DMA doesn’t go far enough, and has no control over the companies that aren’t members. What is needed is law to stop called calling as well as to force companies to disclose their phone numbers.
For companies that don’t disclose their phone number making a complaint is very difficult, as the operators are unwilling to give the information. In the past I have been asking for the details of the company making the call for them to say that they were a off-shore company in India, but refuse to give any more information about the company, or contact details.
I would urge everyone to join the Telephone Preference Service by signing up on their website www.tpsonline.org.uk or by calling them on: 0845 070 0707. By registering to block all marketing calls you can get rid of most marketing calls including silent calls. It will also register your dissatisfaction at the techniques used by these companies, reducing their list of potential victims. 30 days after you’ve registered it is illegal for companies to call you to try and sell you products (unless you are already a registered customer of that company).