In yet another example of their love for our privacy and peace, those meddlesome minions at the EU have decided that companies who constantly spam us with nuisance sales calls are paying far too much to inconvenience us.
The Telegraph reckons that spam calls could double or treble from this Autumn.
One company insider said BT was also worried the changes would see households swamped by even more cold calls, ambulance chasers and automated marketing messages.
The plan is to reduce the spammers’ call charges from an already paltry 0.3p per minute to an almost imperceptible 0.04p.
Andrew Bale, chief executive of telecoms specialist Resilient Networks, said the change would see internet levels of spam flying down the telephone line.
He said: “On the internet it costs nothing to send a million emails and we risk the same thing happening on the phone network.
The alarming prospect comes at a time watchdogs claim the nuisance call industry is already spiralling out of control with British homes receiving more than 3 billion of the calls a year.
I currently receive one or two a day, generally. Usually the same two or three companies trying to sell me solar panels. And the usual mis-sold PPI crowd as well, of course.
As I am registered with the TPS, I shouldn’t be getting these calls at all, but of course, these companies don’t follow the rules and some will promise to remove your number from their database, but don’t. I now report these criminal desk jockeys to the ICO, who recently fined a Cumbernauld bedroom company £90,000 for spamming,
DM Design, based in Glasgow, has been the subject of nearly 2,000 complaints to the ICO and the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The company consistently failed to check whether individuals had opted out of receiving marketing calls – in clear breach of the law.
The monetary penalty is the first the ICO has issued for a serious breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) relating to live marketing calls.
The first? Why has it taken so long? There are many websites out there, like this one, with tales of woe of daily harassment from these companies.
Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said of the DM Design fine:
“Today’s action sends out a clear message to the marketing industry that this menace will not be tolerated. This company showed a clear disregard for the law and a lamentable attitude toward the people whose day they were disturbing. This is not good enough.
“This fine will not be an isolated penalty. We know other companies are showing a similar disregard for the law and we’ve every intention of taking further enforcement action against companies that continue to bombard people with unlawful marketing texts and calls.
“All of this work has been made possible thanks to the information we are receiving from the public, which has assisted our investigation team in identifying the companies making these calls.”
Let’s hope so. So get cracking. Join the fun. They often withhold their number, but by no means always. Some of them simply will not tell you who they are or just hang up if you ask. Others have generic-sounding names which could come from anywhere. I ask if they have a website so I can look at their products. Sometimes this works. Then I know which company I am reporting to the ICO. If you have the time, you could use more imaginative ways.
I got the old chestnut the other day. One I hadn’t had in quite a while, “You or your wife filled in a questionnaire a few months ago.” About solar panels on a house I don’t own? I don’t think so.
Imagine calling strangers and starting off every conversation with a lie. I wonder how that sits with them, or if they can justify it within themselves to feed their families.
Another recent call started off with, “This is not a sales call”. It was from a company selling solar panels, so another lie, essentially.
But keeping us tied up with a mountain of peripheral nonsense (and sport and “entertainment” until it is coming out of our ears) is all part and parcel of creating the conditions for the EU to keep going. While we’re busy answering the same recorded messages from criminal call centres day after day, we have less time and energy for more important matters. Like getting rid of the EU.