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Telephone Preference Service (TPS)

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Do you suffer with constant telephone calls from people who say they, 'aren't selling anything'? Are your evenings interrupted (usually when there's something good on the TV) by strangers offering you a 'free' fitted kitchen? Would you like to string these people up from the highest tree in the kingdom? Then read on.

The best way to get rid of them entirely, is to go ex-directory, but this costs you money. And, if you're anything like most people, you will resent having to pay for the privilege of not receiving unwanted, unsolicited telesales calls.

The next best way, if you live in the UK, is to register your phone number with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). Run by the Direct Marketing Association, the Telephone Preference Service can help reduce the number of cold calls you get by anything up to 85%. They will put your phone number on a register that is made available to all their members, so that these members know never to call you. This actually seems to work, and it's free.

There are some companies that the TPS does not include on its books, such as market research organisations. Also, small local companies do not tend to be members, so if either of these types of businesses ring you, take the following steps:

  • After their preamble, during which they will give you the company name together with the name of the person who is calling, ask them if they subscribe to the TPS.

  • If they say they do, take down the date they called you and let them know that you are registered as a number that doesn't want cold calls. Companies registered with the TPS tend to be reputable and are therefore very good about this, and will offer you profuse apologies.

  • If they say they don't, tell them that you don't want them to call you again and to make a note of your number for this purpose. With companies that aren't registered with the TPS, it is vital that you get the company name and the name of the person calling you, together with the date they called. This is so you can give the cold-calling company all the facts and figures about when you told them to stop calling, in the event that they pester you again.

Using this system, it is possible to see a reduction of unsolicited calls made to your home, from about five or six calls a week to about two or three calls a month.

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