Paid-for TPS firms under attack

Ofcom has admitted it is powerless to act against a surge of complaints about cold-calls from companies which charge consumers to stop “nuisance sales calls” and even junk mail – as they are doing nothing illegal.
Online consumer advice sites, including whocallsme.com and moneysupermarket.com, as well as business sites including ecademy.com, have been inundated with complaints about one particular firm – the Anti-Marketing Group – which cold-calls consumers to sign up.
The ASA has already taken action against two businesses – The Advertising Protection Agency and the Telephone Preference Register – over claims made in their advertising, but Ofcom is powerless to act against unsolicited phone calls unless consumers are ex-directory or have already opted out.
An Ofcom adviser said: “Private companies are perfectly entitled to make unsolicited calls to promote their services but they are unlikely to be able to stop all marketing calls. We only endorse the government-funded Telephone Preference Service.”
But one forum comment from “Mrs Q” said: “Have just discovered that my mum has signed up with The Anti Marketing Group, who said there would be a one off payment of £3 but are now taking £3 a month. I’m fuming – how many other thousands of people are paying £3 a month for absolutely nothing? I’ve now registered mum with TPS and MPS for free – if this bogus company had contacted any agencies at all I would not have been able to re-register.”
Meanwhile another, “Sara E”, wrote: “For an anti-marketing company aren’t they marketing their own service by ringing me? This is the third company I’ve had ringing asking for my bank details in a fortnight, the first two were satellite insurance, they always ask for the security digits on the bank card too. Not a chance mate.”
And John Pooley, managing director of The Data Partnership, and a long-term critic of these marketing practices, said: “It’s extremely ironic that some of these companies that are dedicated to ‘ending unwanted sales calls’ are using telemarketing to sell their services. We have first-hand experience of an anti-marketing company using this method and researching this further, it appears we are not alone. Their hard-sell approach seems to fly in the face of what they supposedly stand for. The fact that the company in question just so happened to call one of our seeded records completely undermined the company’s legitimacy. It begs the question, when we categorically didn’t sell the record, how did they come to receive our data? No explanation was given and no attempt was made to clear their name.”

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