Sunday, 11 July 2010

Universally hated

From time to time I do something, or say something on my blog, which is controversial or generates a lot of comments. Usually there are some dissenting voices. This is not a huge surprise - if was always able to say things that everyone agreed with I'd be prime minister by now...

But the tele-marketers do seem to be universally hated. This is quite amazing. I know I hate them, but wow - people all over the world have commented. Nobody likes them.

Now, there is some sympathy for the hard working, low paid legitimate tele-marketers. I.e the people that actually follow the rules and the law and call people trying desperately to sell some useful service. Sadly these seem few and far between.

But the illegal tele-marketers seem to be hated so much they are almost up there with burglars and rapists (OK, maybe not that bad). Yet the laws we have for protecting us from them are weak. There are laws, yes, but they are not very effective. They require (in the UK) people like the ICO to take action - AFAIK you cannot get the police involved.

For a business practice that really is so hated why do we not have better and more effective laws? Something that means we can actually stop the serious large scale illegal tele-marketing. But how?

A good start would be that anyone who was sold a service by one of these illegal tele-marketers can get out of the contract free and clear. That would be a simple step. Then we could all sign up for cheap calls and debt relief and simply not pay them. Reclaim direct debit payments and be free and clear. Perhaps laws arranged like that would be more effective as it could retrospectively (i.e. after the victim has signed up) allow them to reclaim money and the business model would fall apart.

Sadly one of the very junk calls we get are people helping you claim back mis-sold insurance. If we had a system for mis-sold services by illegal tele-sales we would have junk calls offering to help us reclaim what we spent!!!

So what is the answer I wonder?

Thanks everyone for the many comments, even the one that says you love me and want to bear my children (I did wonder if maybe you wanted to just borrow for them for a while :-) ). If we do set this up for the 4 million numbers we have going live I'll post more on the blog. It is tempting to make a web site and have a competition for the best one-sided conversation...

In the mean time we have many office numbers on the honey pot and I'll see how many I get on Monday. The set of recordings has increased to three and I may add more. I'll see about posting them for others to use...

By the way, we did send the first hour's recording to the ICO. No reply. What a surprise.

3 comments:

  1. The EU Distance Selling Directive (and its implementing laws in the Member States, including the EU) already does what you have in mind. To a degree. The buyer can cancel any sales contract made at a distance within 7 days. But this applies only to consumers, not businesses.

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  2. The EU Distance Selling Directive (and its implementing laws in the Member States, including the EU) already does what you have in mind. To a degree. The buyer can cancel any sales contract made at a distance within 7 days. But this applies only to consumers, not businesses.

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  3. Yes and no. Sadly the distance selling directive can stop applying as soon as the service is started even if before 7 days, so easy for these people to bypass. You need something longer term as it may take a while to realize if they are a con. If there was an unlimited option to get out of, and not even have to pay for services provided, if sold via an illegal marketing call, then people would sign up and not pay and that would mess up their business model big time.

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