Blaise Tapp: Unwanted calls can be hard to shrug off

INTRUSIVE: Nuisance phone calls can be distressing.
INTRUSIVE: Nuisance phone calls can be distressing.
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Modern life is full of irritants: losing the remote control, smartphones which are out of battery by lunch and Katie Hopkins are all enough to cause anyone to choke on their skinny latte.

Life moves so quickly that anything which slows us down, even momentarily will sour our day and, more than likely, prompt us to moan to loved ones or take to Facebook or Twitter to share our disquiet with vague acquaintances and complete strangers.

But there is one contemporary scourge which isn’t as easy to shrug off: the nuisance call. Unwanted telephone calls plague millions of us and are a source of real distress for some.

My approach to unsolicited sales calls is simple: if I am interested in what they are selling then I will give them a minute of my time, unless they convince the call is worth missing even more of Cash In The Attic for.

I am not one of these indignant types who launches into an apoplectic rage when Darryl or Tiffany from the PPI company firm rings and launches into the classic tele-pitch: “How are you today? Can I call you Blaise? The reason for my call to yourself today is that I have some great news about monies you are owed from the insurance you took out on the credit card.”

I am of the view that if their call is of some use to me then I will listen and if it isn’t then I (usually politely) end the call. It is, as a talking Russian meerkat once said, simples.

It puzzles me slightly that many of us are happy to tell the world that we have had faggots for tea yet when we get an unwanted call, which can last a matter of seconds, it is a big deal.

The trouble arises if these plucky chancers disregard instructions not to call again then that is when straight talking is required. A demand to speak to a manager or a threat to report them to Ofcom, which is responsible for regulating Herberts in call centres.

That usually stops them ringing but the trouble really begins if you are unfortunate enough to be targeted by companies using automated messages, which bombard punters until they are forced to hide in the airing cupboard in a bid to escape the menace.

These calls are not illegal if the companies responsible have permission to contact you, meaning the onus is on us to always tick the box which says you don’t want to be pestered whenever entering online competitions or signing up for subscriptions.

But, as many of us know, this is reliant on these companies sticking to the rules and some clearly don’t. Last week such a firm was fined £270,000 for making an ear-ringing 22 million calls,in breach of data protection laws. Following the court case it was revealed that the owner of the company has four marketing firms which have made £445,000 in two years. With rewards like this we can expect to be irritated by unwanted phone calls for some time to come.

David Duffy  Picture by Simon Hulme

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