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Putting a stop to cold calls and junk mail

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 11:38 UK time, Monday, 15 February 2010

margaret_john.jpgAre you fed up of cold calls and junk mail? Feisty Welsh actress Margaret John certainly is.

In this week's programme, Margaret tackles two issues which really annoy her - cold calls and junk mail, with the help of X-Ray viewer Robin Croft, who has made it his mission to eliminate nuisance calls and post from his life.

So, want to put a stop to unwanted interruptions and mail? It's easier than you may think.

Stopping sales calls:
• Register for free with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). It holds the official opt-out register on which you can register your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls. You should find that you get far fewer calls within a month of signing up.

• You can register your mobile number as well as your landline. It will reduce unsolicited sales and marketing calls, but not text messages or market research calls.

Stopping silent calls:
• Silent calls can be very frightening, but in the vast majority of cases, they are generated when companies use automatic diallers. When these are incorrectly set, more numbers are dialled than there are operators available to take the calls.

• Ofcom have an online complaints form where you can report any companies making silent calls as well as a downloadable consumer guide with tips on how to avoid silent calls and what to do if you receive them.

Stopping junk mail:
• Sign up with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS). It's free to register and the phone calls will be charged at local rates.

• You can opt out of unaddressed mail delivered by Royal Mail online.

What these won't stop:
Signing up to TPS won't stop calls from businesses you've already given permission to contact you and signing up to MPS won't stop junk mail from companies you're already a customer with.

But the good news is, even if you've told a company it's fine to get in touch, you've got the right to tell them to stop at any time.

So, if you want to stop a particular company from contacting you:
Download this letter based on a version from the Information Commissioner's Office website. You can e-mail or post to any company you no longer want to hear from.

Find out more about your rights about unsolicited marketing on the ICO's website

What have been your experiences of cold calling and other unsolicited marketing? Let us know by adding your comment below.



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