Jac writes: nuisance calls are on the increase – for some.

If you run a store and think it might benefit from a hot coffee/slush machine, then you might be pleased to get a telesales call from a company dealing in such items. But Alison Shrimpton is adamant that her business, Shipton Road Stores in York, would not. 

Not that the supplier, Albany Marketing, hasn’t tried to persuade her otherwise. She was getting several calls a week and each time she told them no, no, no. There would be a bit of a break, then they would start up again. She got to the point where she was swearing at them and hung up as soon as you could say Albany Marketing. After yet another call, she agreed that “the rep in the area” could visit. Once he showed up she had him by the throat, gave him a piece of her mind and got Albany’s contact details. A little while later she rang Albany and it confirmed that she would not receive any more such calls. Feisty lady – I like it! 

I also rang Albany and a spokesman said that he understood Alison’s irritation (he even joked that he didn’t like being plagued by journalists) and added that she shouldn’t be bothered any longer because he would see to it. Apparently, Albany also has a telephone system that automatically bars any numbers that are registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and I have recommended Alison register as a sort of ‘belt and braces’ course of action. 

It’s been quite a while since I have reported on this service, so here’s a reminder. If you ring the Direct Marketing Association’s helpline on 0845 703 4599 you will be offered three choices from the menu: the Mailing Preference Service, the Telephone Preference Service and the Fax Preference Service. Registering with these will cut out junk mail, unsolicited telesales calls and unwanted faxes. 

People involved in direct marketing are obliged to screen their data against the suppression lists that exist for these services. They take 28 days to kick in, but they do work. I sleep above my office and the middle-of-the-night faxes offering diets that remove 15lbs from my hips the instant that I fax back stopped three years ago. A final thought on this subject. Because quite a few people have registered with the service, there are fewer to target, so people like Alison are now getting more than their fair share of calls.