Fed up of cold calls? Some anti-social callers are beyond even the TPS

28 November 2011

coldcallingYou know what it’s like. On a Sunday afternoon, you are enjoying your post-Church day of rest with your family when you realise there is something missing from your day. If only a random stranger could call you up on the telephone and ask you what you think about toothpaste. Or, while snuggled up with your loved ones, top of your list would be a late night phone call after 10.30pm, because that wouldn’t cause alarm, no, it would generate excitement about garden centres.

Tragic as it is, junk mail and cold calls seem to be a fact of life. Some people don’t mind if the calls are made at sensible times, others will chat to anyone and some see cold callers as sport for the baiting. However, the best way to prevent this type of call is to register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). Once registered, all calls should be stopped and any that do get through can be reported using a simple online form.

So imagine the distress of a lonely old pensioner, for example, who has registered with the TPS, but who gets called at 10.30pm. Who on earth could it be? Upon answering, our old dear is invited to participate in an Ipsos- Mori survey. Her cries of Telephone Preference Service are drowned out by the start of the survey questions…

You see, it is only a legal requirement under The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 for companies or organisations that are making unsolicited calls (cold calling) for sales or marketing purposes to filter those calls against the TPS lists. There are no legal or regulatory requirements to filter unsolicited calls made for research purposes against the TPS. This means that market research firms like Ipsos-Mori can legitimately call you as many times as they like, at whatever time they like, mentioning whatever brands they like. And they do.

Now, Ipsos-Mori claim that “we are required to ensure that the individuals who take part are fully representative of the target audience being researched. To exclude individuals with TPS registered telephone numbers could bias the results,” which could be true, but do they have to call, repeatedly, at antisocial times? Are their customers aware that, by using this company to make these calls, they could be antagonising potential customers in their own homes, meaning they will be less, rather than more likely to buy their products?

Ipsos-Mori use random generated telephone numbers, so the only way to prevent these calls is to specifically opt-out with the individual research company. For Ipsos-Mori specifically, you can email [email protected] providing your contact telephone number. Note that in order to stop the calls, they will need to store your number on a database, although they “absolutely guarantee” that your details will not be disclosed to any third party, nor will it be used for any other purpose. Good job we trust them...


  • Dick
    I like the callers from Indian call centres. I always congratulate them for calling just as I decide to have a curry and for obviously being great mystic mind readers. They never seem to deliver my curry though, no matter how many times I tell them what I want.
  • heywood j.
    maybe everyone in the UK should start "surveying" ipsos-mori's offices at the same time, therefore clogging up their phone and e-mail systems ;)
  • Yue
    TPS was a brilliant move for me. A cold call a day gone for good. Except the poor woman from Talk Talk who got an ear bashing and hasn't called back since.
  • David
    I get these calls fairly regularly. I ask them to hold the line, then mute it and put it on one side. After an hour or so they have usually given up.
  • Jeebus
    I got one from sky last month advising me the guarantee period on my box was expiring and asking if I wanted to pay an extra 9 quid or so a month to cover it. I politely informed her that with the contract period also being up that if the box broke down I'd simply cancel and get Virgin or BT and I only watch Sky Sports anyway (and failing that stream!). She got off the phone sharpish and no-one's called back since.
  • jo
    My mum and dad are very regularly bothered by calls from foreign people claiming to be from 'Windows'. No matter how many times we claim not to have a computer they just keep quoting our name and address back to us (as if we arent aware that information is easily attainable through the electoral roll and does not verify their authenticity in the slightest). Obviously we are aware it is a scam and we make that clear to them also, my mum often tells them that Allah will judge them. (Whether or not that's the correct religion, they seem to get the gist that we are mocking them and get a bit nasty). We have asked to be removed from their calling list numerous times but still again, and again they callback but the number is always private. Our household is registered with the TPS and it seems there is nothing more we can do :( I am also sorry to say one of my young and slightly naieve (sp?) friends got scammed by them. As far as I understand they told him he had a virus and managed to gain control of his computer remotely and asked for credit card details. It's outrageous that nothing is seemingly being done to stop these tragic scams as it's apparent there are still people falling for them.
  • Christopher
    The MRS (Market Research Society) have quite a strict code of conduct regarding contacting respondents and stipulate that calls must not be made to a household before 9am weekdays and Saturdays, 10am Sundays or after 9pm any day, unless by appointment. And, of course, they are required by law to stop contacting you permanently at your request, so if you do receive a phone call from a market research company a simple polite request to be removed from all further calls is usually enough.
  • B
    TPS does not work that well, I still get cold calls from the UK, recently some company trying to flog me insurance foe SKY box rang around 7 times in one day and a few the next, it would seem my details are flogged everywhere by companies that I use, with no controls, utter crap.

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