Inexperience and loopholes fuelling cold calling revival

25th Mar 2013

Cold calling may be on the rise but inexperienced companies and loopholes are the worst offenders and aren't representative of the majority of companies.

So says Dave Ogden from Aspect in light of the recent research from Which? that seven out of ten consumers had been cold called in the last three months and two fifths have received unsolicited texts.

A Glasgow-based firm also made the news this week after finding itself the first firm to be fined by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for bombarding the public with thousands of unwanted calls. Kitchen-fitting company DM Design, based in Cumbernauld, was responsible for causing nearly 2,000 complaints to the ICC and was fined £90,000.

The ICO is clamping down on firms’ nuisance marketing practice and said it is poised two fine two firms for cold calling and sending spam text messaging and investigating a further 10 companies for a similar breach of the law.

Senior solutions consultant at Aspect Software, Dave Ogden welcomed the call to toughen up the regulations but highlighted that the problem primarily stems from young and inexperienced companies that exploit loopholes.

He said: “The companies who have been doing this for years and have seen the changing faces of Oftel, Ofcom and the DMA aren’t to blame for this. We’re talking about a small minority of companies – primarily those spawned by and taking advantage of a problem economy – that are causing the majority of the excess and unwanted contact.

“These young companies, which the media is reporting are PPI claims firms, ambulance chasers etc., take advantange of regulation loopholes and at best deploy a scatter gun approach to contacting prospective customers, rather than laser focused interactions with those most likely to want to buy from them.

He added: “Cold calling is experiencing a revival due to consumer uncertainty in the economy. There are more companies wanting to make money out of Joe Bloggs’ accident, or John Smith’s unfair bank charges, but it has undone the good work of the last few years of the responsible 95% that value customer engagement and ensuring it is absolutely relevant, targeted and watertight. These companies don’t work on segmenting lists; they’re playing a pure numbers game. Stack ‘em and pack ‘em.”

Commenting on the ICO’s action Mike Lordan, chief of operations at the Direct Marketing Association, said: “We're pleased that the ICO has used its power to issue its first fine to a company breaching telemarketing rules. Companies cold calling people registered with Telephone Preference Service are causing serious harm to the reputable telemarketing industry.

“The ICO must use enforcement action to protect the consumer, as well as the interests of the vast majority of companies that comply with the law and adhere to the highest standards of best practice. We know there are more companies breaking the law, so we look forward to seeing further enforcement action.”

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