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Cold calling should be banned, says survey

The majority of consumers would like to see the practice of cold calling outlawed, a survey has revealed.

According to consumer group Which?, of the 2,000 people polled in the survey, three-quarters want an end to cold calling.

A quarter of those questioned had felt intimidated by the marketing tactic.

On average consumers receive six cold calls each month, while for businesses the rate is higher.

Firms are allowed to contact potential customers in this way, although people and other firms may opt out of receiving unsolicited phone calls.

In the view of the Business Department, which holds responsibility for the regulations governing cold calling, there is a balance to be struck "between allowing legitimate businesses to continue to operate and the needs of consumers".

However, Ceri Stanaway of Which? said: "Cold calls are at best a nuisance and at worst an intimidating intrusion into our lives. Three-quarters of the people we asked said they'd like the practice to be banned outright.

"Reputable businesses should stop making sales calls to you if you ask to be removed from their contact database, but if that doesn't work you should report the company to the Information Commissioner's Office or Ofcom."

A spokesman for the Direct Marketing Association conceded that, although the telemarketing industry has come a long way in improving its practices, there was still some way to go.

He said: "There is the need for businesses to make legitimate calls to customers and potential customers. However this should always be on the basis that they have indicated their interest in receiving such calls."