Fed up of cold calls? Some anti-social callers are beyond even the TPS
You 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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...