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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 November, 2004, 07:24 GMT
Calling time on 'cold callers'
By Richard Kimber
BBC Wales News website

Lynne Sellers
Lynne Sellers' time off work is disturbed by cold callers
A law to stop householders being pestered by so-called "cold callers" is being demanded by a Welsh Labour MP.

Kevin Brennan will ask fellow MPs on Tuesday to target what he describes as "corporate nuisance calls".

His bill would make it easier to prosecute the companies responsible, and trace the calls when their identity is withheld.

Although it stands little chance of becoming law soon, he hopes it will persuade the government to act.

Lynne Sellers, who lives in Mr Brennan's Cardiff West constituency, said she had been bothered at home by cold callers.

Ms Sellers said that she had taken repeated calls from companies while at home on time off work due to illness.

Although she once had a job selling windows, she told the BBC Wales News website that she had no sympathy with the sales companies.

"If it happens a lot you start to think that you're being stalked"
Lynne Sellers
"I never noticed how much they ring before because I was at work," she said.

"But now it's a real pain - the phone keeps ringing and ringing. Sometimes I do actually listen, but usually I just hang up."

The calls are often made by computerised dialling equipment.

Numbers are dialled at random, but when there are not enough operators, there may be no reply when the phone is answered.

These "silent calls" are Mr Brennan's main concern.

Jo Smith and her son Sam
Jo Smith, with son Sam, says she would never buy over the phone

"Many people are distressed when they receive silent calls, but do not realise that many of these calls come from firms selling products and services over the phone," he said.

For Mrs Sellers, these calls are the worst of all.

"If it happens a lot you start to think you're being stalked," she said.

"Often, I don't answer my phone unless I know someone's going to ring."

Jo Smith finds the repeated calls annoying when she is at home looking after her son, Sam.

"It's always for things you've already got, and they always ring at tea-time," she said.

"If I want something, I'll make my own inquiries. I would never buy anything over the phone."

Although her husband is a sales rep, she said she was blunt when turning sales offers down.

"I'm quite rude actually. I just say I'm not interested and hang up."

How to avoid the cold-callers
Contact the companies directly
Register with the Telephone Preference Service

Mr Brennan wants the government to force the industry to act to prevent people from receiving calls from marketing companies.

"It is outrageous that vulnerable people are being subjected to unnecessary and frightening nuisance calls by corporate concerns," he said.

One option for householders is signing up to the Telephone Preference Service - by registering your phone number the service puts companies under a legal obligation to stop making unsolicited calls.




SEE ALSO:
Cold call protection highlighted
07 Oct 04 |  Guernsey
UK firms hang up on cold callers
25 Jun 04 |  Business


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