Posted by: talkjack | August 3, 2008

Talkjack’s Nuisance Hall of Shame – July 2008

The results are in, and here are the July 2008 winners of Talkjack’s Nuisance Hall of Shame.

Read on to see which organisations have won awards for being a pain in the ass recently. Organisations which use marketing techniques such as nuisance calls, junk mail, scams or unwelcome visits to Talkjack’s front door are likely to win an award.

Such organisations, while trading in Bully Britain, often use overseas call centres full of low paid pests to constantly phone up and disturb private people in their homes in an attempt to make money out of the public. When they flout my wishes, and my next to useless registrations with the MPS (Mail Preference Service), the FPS (Fax Preference Service), the TPS (Telephone Preference Service), Silent Call Guard and the Post Office then I feel harassed in my home.

I hate them wasting my time, disturbing me at home. I resent organisations harming the environment sending out mounds of unwanted junk mail. When organisations make a string of silent calls to people’s homes in Britain, the more vulnerable members of society feel threatened or scared, hence these nuisance callers help to make Bully Britain the place it is.

So, I figured, let’s identify some of these businesses. I, Talkjack shall personally try never to give them any of my business, money or data. I do not wish to encourage any business or organisation to use nuisance causing, money making, wasteful or harassing practices.

Talkjack’s Award for Harassment goes to Global Market Research.

In July 2008 my home was subjected to a string of silent calls. For decades in the UK, silent calls have been regarded as malicious calls. When you pick up the phone, hear an open phone line and speak, you expect the caller to answer. Instead the caller remains silent for a while then hangs up. When I was a lad I remember reading warnings that such calls could be burglars checking if you are in or out of the house. Intimidating or what?

Nowadays of course a silent call, while still being harassment, could be due to a big business using an auto-dialler to phone your home, then finding that they have not hired enough call centre pests so that no one is free to speak to you at that moment. Unable to transfer you to someone they wait a while then cut you off. Curse them!

My string of silent calls ceased when finally on one day the auto-dialler put a real person on the end of the phone line. The company identified themselves as Global Market Research. I later googled them and found what appears to be their website which shows that they do business from the UK.

Judging from the accent, the background noise and the standard way Indian call centre staff mispronounce my name even when I explain it to them, Global Market Research seem to be using an Indian call centre to disturb and harass me in my home. They have ignored my registration with the Telephone Preference Service, damn them.

The reason Global Market Research gave for disturbing my privacy and making so many nuisance silent calls? They said they wanted to check they have my correct personal details. In other words, they are trying to harvest my personal information in order to make money. The swines.

As well as violating my privacy, I think Global Market Research have violated the Data Protection Act too. A person’s telephone number is considered ‘Personal Data’ by the Act. As the data subject, we individuals have the right to require that our data is not used in a way which causes damage or distress. By making repeated silent calls to my private home, I consider Global Market Research to have processed my personal data in a way which caused distress. Please, will the authorities stop this business?

No way was I going to give Global Market Research any more of my personal data to abuse. I cannot trust these nuisance callers. Congratulations on winning the Harassment of the month award, Global Market Research. Talkjack says: “Shame on you!”

Talkjack’s Award for Deceit goes to PC World.

A few months ago, when I made a purchase at the PC World store in Coventry I was coerced into giving my home address details for the product’s guarantee. I told the salesman at the time that I did not want to be added to any mailing lists. I reluctantly gave him my address, hoping PC World would not abuse it.

The salesman showed me on his monitor screen that he had ticked all the correct settings to ensure my details would not be used for any marketing purposes either by PC World themselves or any third parties.
However, despite this, PC World have misprocessed my personal data and added me to their junk mailing list against my wishes. I am now receiving junk mail from PC World through my front door, trying to flog me laptops and broadband. They have provided no way for me to opt out of their list.

Remember that I am supposedly already opted out of their junk mail list, but they are sending me this crap anyway. I wonder how many more people around the country are receiving unwanted junk mail from PC World, and how much damage is being done to the environment by these large mail campaigns.

One of the key principles of the Data Protection Act is that data is only used for the specific purposes for which it was collected. I think PC World have violated the Data Protection Act by misusing my personal data for marketing purposes against my wishes, when the data was collected for the purpose of a product guarantee only.

For lying to Talkjack so convincingly in order to collect my personal data, I am presenting PC World with an Award for Deceit. Shame on you!

Talkjack’s Award for Persistence goes to 3.

Only the one nuisance call received from, or on behalf of 3. Three or 3 are a mobile phone company. A Google search revealed that 3 do business in the UK from Glasgow. They or maybe one of their third party resellers (geddit?) disturbed me at home in order to coerce me to cancel my existing mobile phone arrangements and sign up with a contract for 3 to supply my personal mobile phones service.

The caller had a strong Indian accent and may have been calling from an overseas or UK call centre. I suspect he was UK based because he was able to pronounce my name correctly. The chap was very persistent in his attempts to get me to revel which mobile phone company I currently use so that he could entice me to change to 3.

For the record, I am registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which is supposed to stop unwanted or nuisance sales and marketing calls to private homes. However in my experience the TPS are too weak to stop businesses determined to disturb me at home.

This time around I decided to have some fun. I refused to tell him which company I was with on principle. However, when he kept telling me about all the amazing (i.e. standard) features the new phone would have when I signed his contract, I decided to ask him if the new phone would come with pornography included. The call lasted five minutes while people around me were giggling as the salesman persisted in the face of adversity in his attempts to sell me his phone contract.

Eventually the salesman decided to tell me ‘But Sir, your new phone will come with pornography’.
I responded in a happy voice ‘Awesome, what kind?’

The caller could not maintain his facade any more. He burst out laughing and then hung up on me. My respect to this guy for playing along so well, and for acting like a genuine human rather than acting like a brainless, scripted call centre drone. Hope he doesn’t get in trouble with his manager for this. In fact I hope he gets a better job where he does not get paid to pester people in their homes.

However, with regard the mobile phone company 3, Talkjack raises his finger in the air, points at you and says ‘Shame on you!’

That’s all the awards this time around folks. No doubt there will be more random awards to be given to evil businesses and organisations in future, so check back from time to time to see who else has been selected for Talkjack’s recognition.

… Talkjack

Update 09/08/08

Talkjack’s followup article to this piece can be read here.

(c) Copyright Talkjack 2009

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Responses

  1. Has anyone else been receiving unwanted phone calls from Global Market Research?

  2. Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

  3. I am now receiving junk mail from PC World through my front door, trying to flog me laptops and broadband. They have provided no way for me to opt out of their list.

    You know what I do with junk mail? Return them all to sender. They gotta pay for each thing you send back. Some supplement company sent my details to all these home gadget kinda companies, so what I did was, I ‘Return to Sender’-ed the lot of them. After about a month or so, they utterly stopped. All of them. You might try it. Good luck

  4. Thanks for your comments Silver Arrow. I love the idea of returning all junk mail to sender!

    I saw online (via the magic of google) that someone is selling pre-printed sticky labels saying “JUNK MAIL – Return to sender!” and have been considering designing and printing my own. The thing that made me hesitate was if the Post Office decided that there was something wrong with my name and address, and subsequently did not deliver my real mail.

    Still, I will give it a try, I really am fed up with the junk mail and nuisance phone calls I keep receiving. It would be empowering to send the junk mail back to the originator, especially at their expense!

    cheers,

    … Talkjack 🙂

  5. LOL let me know how you get on. Forgot to mention in my previous comment, the junk mail that gives you the pre-paid envelopes are the best, because all I do with them is write in big letters on the order form: PLEASE REMOVE ME FROM YOUR MAILING LIST then send it back to them. Or if they don’t give an envelope, just send the ‘order’ form with your details on it in a stampless envelope (don’t put your return address on the back though), they’ll have to pay the postage themselves plus the £1 handling fee *evil cackle* I think they’ll get the message after that.

    For nuisance phone calls, the best technique is to give the phone to a toddler. Sounds crazy, but it does the job!

  6. The Website link to Global Market Research on this page IS NOT THE COMPANY RESPONSIBLE for the phone calls. I called this company and spoke to a very nice lady who says that she is being harassed by people complaining about nuisance phone calls from her company. This company is called Associated Global Research and is not linked in anyway to Global Research. Please remove the link from your website.

    Talkjack’s Response:

    Hi Jon. It appears you have given misleading information. The website I linked to proudly bears the logo ‘Global Market Research’, and displays their name as ‘Global Market Research’ in a larger font using block capitals. This is an exact match for the information the nuisance callers gave verbally on two separate occasions, and different from the name you have given.

    The blurb on their site prominently states “GLOBAL MARKET RESEARCH has the industry expertise and local resource to …. ” yada yada yada. Please note this is their own capitalisation, not mine.

    Nowhere on the site did I find that they call themselves “Associated Global Research” which is the name you assert. Nevertheless, as I am far more considerate than the marketing pests from Global Market Research who have been pestering me at home, I removed the link immediately I read your request. I only hope Global Market Research have removed my phone number from their computer system which I have repeatedly requested on the numerous times they have phoned me.

    Actually, linking to a website will increase their search engine ranking and might help steer a customer their way. Bugger.

    Please understand that my stats show the number of people who clicked the link in question is less than ten. Statistically I would be surprised if one or more people who clicked the link bothered to phone your nice lady. Far more likely is the fact that harassed members of the public are looking up Global Market Research online for themselves, using sites such as Google – From what I have heard Google occasionally get slightly more traffic than I do 😉

    I sympathise with your ‘nice lady’ feeling harassed by people contacting her company to complain about nuisance calls from Global Market Research. However she is at work and being paid to answer the phone, unlike the poor, harassed members of the public who are upset at receiving nuisance marketing calls from a company who call themselves ‘Global Market Research’ when they disturb people at home. A lot.

  7. Hi Talkjack,
    I understand what you are saying.
    I found your site via Google as I’m being harassed by GMR who use an international phone number, in other words they’re not a UK company. As it’s a scam you will not find a web address for them or a contact number. Have you tried calling the number on the website that you linked to?
    The “nice lady” I spoke too has received several irate phone calls from UK citizens and is now trying to trace the bogus company. Let’s hope she has better luck than us.

    Talkjack’s Response:

    As a matter of policy I never phone nuisance callers back in case there is some sort of telephone scam involved.

    From experience I have found that companies which do business in the UK do use overseas call centres to cold call the UK public. ‘Would you like new double glazing Sir?’ It allows them to bypass the Telephone Preference Service, making the service feeble and barely useful. If nusiance callers did not make money out of the UK public then they would not do it. An international phone number showing on Caller ID does not automatically exclude the call centre from working on behalf of, or having a business realationship to a company which trades in the UK

    Companies run by conmen running scams such as international auto diallers telling you to press 9 because you have won a prize, only to go on and connect you to a premium rate numberm will not be found online via Google.

    I believe there are big name companies trading in the UK who use international resellers. Some of these resellers are making harassing nuisance calls to generate business. I have personal experience of this from mobile phone resellers. If, a big name mobile phone company does not realise that their overseas resellers are making nuisance calls to make sales then I would be surprised, because some people will complain. I firmly believe that big companies can and should police their resellers and agents, because nuisance calls damage their reputation at the same time as making short term profit.

    In the case of the company calling themselves Global Market Research, it seems reasonable to believe that they are collecting personal data from the public in order to make money by selling it ultimately to legitimate businesses who will use it for marketing purposes for their products. (The alternative is that they are collecting it for fraudulent purposes such as scams and crime, which the UK authorities should be policing and punishing, with international co-operation.)

    If legitimate businesses are made aware that the marketing data they are innocently buying is generated by nuisance calling then they might just think twice about the purchase. In the long run, reducing demand for this data will reduce the profit that people make from it. Reduced profit means less nuisance calls to all of us. I always vote with my wallet – I never do business with any company that has harassed me at home, directly or indirectly through resellers.

    I sincerely hope someone successfully tracks down the Global Market Research people and puts a stop to their nuisance calls. In the mean time, if my blog warns a single UK citizen not to give their private data to a cold caller saying they are from Global Market Research then who knows what further nuisance I may have protected them from?

    … Talkjack

  8. Junk mail with postage paid return envelope????

    OH GOODIE!!!!!!

    Wipe your ass with offer, stuff it in return envelope and mail it back to them. “Here’s what I think of your company, your product, offers, etc…
    Decided to send you some of MY OWN SHIT to mingle with yours”.

    Disgusting? You better believe it. Enough people get down in the gutter with these polluters, wait and see how quickly they stop!


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