/ Home & Energy

Time to give cold callers a chilly reception

Salesman knocking on door

The ‘big six’ energy companies are promising to take notice of ‘no cold callers’ signs and stop knocking on your door. Great news, but let’s just make sure they stick to their word.

How many cold calls do you tend to get in an average month? And how many of those do you actually welcome? For me the answers are easy. A lot and not many, respectively.

I reckon most people probably feel the same way about cold callers. Let’s face it, they’re distracting, time consuming and often hard to avoid. And apparently energy suppliers have a particularly bad reputation. A third of people described them as intimidating in a recent survey by Consumer Focus and 70% said the experience was negative.

So we’re pleased to see that the ‘big six’ energy companies are now guaranteeing to respect the wishes of people who live in recognised ‘No Cold Calling Zones’ or display a sign saying no to cold callers. Yes, that means you British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, NPower, Scottish Power and SSE.

And if they don’t? It’s time to call the company in question and complain directly. While you’re at it, why not brush up on your rights and then put a call in to Consumer Direct (08454 040506).

If you don’t know what a No Cold Calling Zone is, follow this easy guide to set one up in your area. After all, it’s taken five years for the big six to recognise them. So there’s never been a better time to group together with your neighbours and tell cold callers you don’t want them to come knocking anymore.

Andy Hessentaler says:
8 July 2010

I suppose you could just not open the door? Or maybe say ‘thanks, but no thanks’? I have no problem with them, but I wouldnt be happy my elderly relatives getting doors knocked all the time.

Simon Grover says:
15 July 2010

The energy companies have already shown that they are prepared to pay people to knock on doors and use language that tricks (at best) or lies (at worst). I know because I've been on the receiving end more than once. That's despite me being six foot four with a readily-deployed scowl. Elderly or less secure householders would be easily fooled by these people into doing something they later regretted. So I think energy companies shouldn't be allowed to cold call at all. They have a relationship of trust, because we have to allow them into our homes to read our meters. If they abuse that they should be stopped.

Energy company cold-callers are a pesky nuisance. One from EDF would not accept that I had no contract with them. "You may not, but EDF supplies your energy". He then enveigled himself into the house by telling me that he was checking that I was on the right tariff. That was 20 seconds before I expelled him! These guys are obviously paid on commission and I feel a bit sorry for them. I now give them the line – "I never buy anything ever again from a company if a cold-caller knocks on my door".

I have three large dogs – and large notices stating "Beware of the Dogs"

Somehow I don’t get many cold callers – and they talk from the street behind my garden gate – If I say "not interested" backed up by my dogs they move fast. – They don’t revisit either – though they do others locally.

Richard Francis says:
21 August 2010

I have two mobiles – a main one and a legacy ‘pay as you go’ one for emergencies or for when we have visitors from abroard.
It just so happens I was charging up the ‘pay as you go’ one & it rang. It was an ORANGE call centre.
This is unbelievable – but this is how the call went:

Cold Caller
“This is Orange – you haven’t your tariff in 18 months”
“Well it’s a phone we don’t use that often”
Cold Caller
“Is it Pay As You Go”

Line disconnects!

Now – how INCREDIBLY RUDE was that?

Obviously – as a Pay As You Go CUSTOMER of Orange – I’m not even worth talking to or extending even basic human to human courtesies.

Now – the numptie who made that call is not aware I run my own business. He’s probably not aware I know Orange and T-Mobile are merging. I also am in conversation with one member of Orange management – so when the time is right…

I’ve been rather slow off the mark blocking SPAM calls – but after yesterday’s experience and your article landing on the mat – that changes.

Door to door ‘want to change energy suppliers?’ callers have dropped off since buying a large dog – so (as with the other Richard on this thread) get yourself a dog!

Meantime – I’m sorely tempted next time I get one of these rude idiots to just say “hang on” and then leave the phone on a table for a few minutes whilst goiong and doing something else.

If we all did that – maybe they’d leave us all alone!

Pete says:
30 May 2011

or maybe they wouldnt

The trouble with doing this is that your line is kept busy until the caller hangs up. You can’t make or receive calls in the interim and sometimes this is for several minutes. This is just as infuriating.

papasmurf54 says:
5 October 2010

I have a notice on the wall at face height next to my front door, basically saying that “We dont wish to buy,purchase, upgrade, change energy suppliers, have extensions, roofing or to discuss your religion, please respect our wishes……OR FACE MY ANGRY WRATH if I have to answer to you” Thanks.
The odd one that does ignore this request I find to be mainly from guttering improvements and they say that they saw the notice but they need to earn a living. My next door neighbour is an elderly single woman and asked me to print a copy for her and put one up, which I did. (I have also had a few other street residents asking for a copy, but they are offended if I ask for a small contribution to the printing and laminating cost)

Though not 100% effective I would say it is around 98%. As for cold phone callers I just say hang on a mo while I turn tv down and then leave phone on table for 15mins or I tart asking them personal questions and they soon hang up.

How do you get your signs to work?

I have two door signs. The first says NO UNSOLICITED CALLERS. When I realised that there are so many people who are too thick to understand such a sign, I added another: DO NOT DISTURB. Both signs are clearly visible. I work from home and I do not enjoy being interrupted, particularly when I am deep in concentration.

There are still too many morons out there who ignore both signs. The worst are meter readers. I would not mind if these people had an appointment.

I am tempted to punch cold callers in the face (particularly those who do not go away when I ignore the door bell and they then proceed to knock loudly on my door and windows, as well as peering into my house). There are two problems with this, though. The first is a ride in a police car and the second is possible revenge attacks on my property.

Does anybody have any good suggestions as to how to get rid of these people FOREVER? (One person returned after a few months. Poor soul; he clearly has the brain of a snail.) I’ve tried complaining to organisations and only one responded positively, by reportedly sacking the man concerned. I’ve got a feeling that bigger companies do not care.

I found registering with the cold caller restriction service. Haven’t had a phone cold caller in years. It used to be one call in three. Mind it also helps that my answer phone is on permanently.

I rather miss the stupid conversations with script reading gentlemen of Eastern descent. Since I registered with the no cold call people, no calls.