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Sales and marketing calls are made with a view of promoting and selling you a product or service and there are three common types that people receive:
Live sales calls are your typical sales or marketing calls made by a call centre operator with a view to selling or promoting a product or service. You are likely to receive these from companies you regularly deal with, like your bank, but they can also be cold calls from companies you haven’t dealt with before.
While companies are allowed to make these calls, they must stop if you ask them to. Marketing or sales calls should always be courteous and you should never feel pressured or threatened. You also shouldn’t be receiving excessive numbers of calls over short periods of time.
Recorded messages are when calls are not made by an operator and instead you simply hear a recorded message. These aren’t usually made by the company or the service advertised, but rather by an organisation who will then sell on the information gathered to companies offering the service in question. You should not be receiving recorded messages without giving prior permission.
Silent or abandoned calls are where the phone rings but when you pick up you hear nothing on the other end. These come from call centres as well, but are where the call centre uses an automatic dialler to make calls. Once the call gets through to you, it’s supposed to connect to an operator. However, there’s not always an operator available, so the receiver is simply left with a dead line.
How can I prevent these?
There are a number of services and solutions available that can help you cut down on the number of cold calls you receive:
Telephone preference service (TPS): is a free service. It is the official central opt out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls. It is a legal requirement that all organisations (including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties) do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS unless they have your consent to do so.
Organisations with which you have an ongoing relationship, for example those who regard you as a customer, (or in the case of charities - a donor) may well gather your consent during the early stages of your relationship with them and will therefore be entitled to call you even if your number is registered on TPS, unless you have previously told them specifically that you object to them calling you for marketing purposes. Find out more.
If you are still receiving calls after signing up to the TPS, then you can complain to the Direct Marketing Commission.
If you are receiving unwanted recorded messages you can report these to the Information Commissioner's Office.
Ex-directory: making your phone number ex-directory means it won’t be available in the phone book or directory inquiries, making it harder for marketing companies to find in the first place.
It’s easy to make your number ex-directory with TalkTalk and you can do it from My Account.
Read the small print online: some online companies and social media sites can pass your contact details onto third party marketing companies when you sign up with them. Make sure you read the small print on anything you agree to and opt out of having your contact details passed on.
There are also TalkTalk Boosts that can help you avoid nuisance calls:
What else can I do?
Which? the consumer support group, are currently running a campaign to push for the government and regulators to do more to tackle the issue of nuisance calls. We’re happy to support the campaign and we encourage our customers to do the same.
You can find lots of other information on their page too. Including top tips for avoiding nuisance calls and the rights you have in place to protect you.
Every year countless people are targeted by telephone scammers, who try to talk them into buying services they do not need. Scams take many different forms, so you should always remain aware, even when you have made the call. You should be especially wary whenever you’re asked for information like your personal banking details.
Here is some advice that can help you avoid scams:
If you are an existing TalkTalk customer and we call you - remember we will never ask you to give us your bank account details. If you need to supply account details to us in order to set up or change up a direct debit instruction, you can do this through your My Account or call us on the number displayed on your bill. If in any doubt hang up, report their number to us or call us on 0870 444 1820 and tell us about the call.
Advice on scams
There’s plenty of help and advice on scams available on the internet. Scams are also a criminal offence, so if you think you’ve been a victim you should contact the police.
Here are some trusted sources who can offer professional help and advice:
Report fraud & internet crime
Report a nuisance caller: we take scam and nuisance calls very seriously and offer our customers the opportunity to Report unwanted calls. If you feel you have been receiving excessive numbers of calls from a single number, you can send us the details using our online form. These could be aggressive and persistent marketing calls, persistent silent or abandoned calls or calls you think could be scams. To do this:
When we receive your request we will start investigating, looking to block them across our entire phone network, if we can find evidence of misconduct. This means no calls can be made from the blocked number to anyone who is on the TalkTalk network.
Because blocks are made at network level, we are required to check each case against a strict set of criteria before we can block a number. For instance, there needs to have been an excessively high frequency of calls over a short period of time. We will also look for other tell-tale signs of abuse, like the originator attempting to hide their identity.
While we can block some marketing and sales companies, subject to our criteria, we cannot block private numbers from our network. We also won’t block banks, loans or debt collection companies.
We will always try to provide you with more information after you have reported a number, even if we are unable to block it. Our Homesafe team will update you after completing the investigation and provide you with more information if necessary.
Malicious calls are calls that contain obscene suggestions, abusive language or even personal threats. If you have been receiving malicious calls, we recommend the following:
Avoiding malicious calls
There are also a number of call features that can help you with malicious calls. These include:
Caller display: this will allow you to see the caller’s number before picking up, allowing you to avoid calls from specific numbers or allowing you to report the number. Find out more.
Last caller barring: this service will block the last number that called you. Find out more.
Anonymous caller reject: it’s quite likely that a malicious caller will hide their number when calling. You can block all anonymous callers using anonymous caller reject. Find out more.
Malicious, abusive or threatening calls are a crime, so if you continue to receive them or you feel the threats to you or your family are serious and immediate, you should speak to the police. Make sure you keep a note of call details like times, dates and content. This will make any potential investigation easier.