Tuesday 26 September 2017

Complaints soar as number of cold calls by companies rises

Aideen Sheehan Consumer Correspondent

THERE has been a surge in complaints about cold calls by companies touting their wares.

This includes "silent" calls, where the consumer receives an automated call from a call centre but finds there's no operator available to speak to them.

Industry watchdog ComReg said it had received over 1,500 complaints about unsolicited calls last year.

And the problem appears to be intensifying as there were twice as many such complaints in the final quarter of 2012 (559) than in the first three months (224).

That's despite a million consumers opting out of receiving such marketing calls by recording this preference with the National Directory Database.

ComReg said that there had been issues with unsolicited calls from Slovenia, Lithuania and the US in recent months.

No figures are available in Ireland for the volume of unsolicited marketing calls being made each year.

However, figures in Britain show three billion such calls are being made there annually.

Unwanted

An investigation by 'The Sunday Telegraph' monitored calls to over 5,000 homes to establish the scale of the problem.

Elderly people – who are more likely to be at home to receive calls – get a very high number of unwanted calls.

The Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland said the main reason for the huge increase was a large volume of complaints about automated anti-abortion calls received last November – but in general complaints about unsolicited calls had declined.

The Data Protection Commissioner said it will be getting increased powers through data protection regulation currently going through the EU legislative process.

Irish Independent

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