No means no - TSI steps up their message to cold callers
The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) is calling for No Cold Calling Zones (NCCZs) to be strengthened after figures from across the country show that some doorstep sellers won’t take no for an answer.
Although an average of 78 per cent of residents living in NCCZ questioned by trading standards said cold calling had gone down since the introduction of the zones we are disappointed to see cold callers still continue to knock on doors in these areas – the biggest culprits often being utility salesmen.
Large energy companies have admitted to encouraging their salesmen to ignore NCCZ signs as they do not believe these zones apply to them as they are legitimate companies.
Specific questions have been included by some local authorities in the evaluations to prove that it is clear that residents in NCCZs do not agree with this view.
For example in Oxfordshire 97 per cent would prefer traders not to call uninvited at their house, while 86 per cent would support new legislation to ban doorstep sellers. Similarly in Angus 91 per cent feel that it should be their right to stop any cold calling at their house to sell goods or services by putting up a sign to that effect.
TSI is now calling for NCCZs to be strengthened so that residents’ ‘no’ means ‘no’ – everyone has the right to privacy in their own homes and their request to not be visited by uninvited trades or salesmen should have legal standing.
TSI’s chief executive Ron Gainsford said: ‘This is not an attempt to undermine legitimate businesses but to protect vulnerable consumers who have deliberately made it known they do not wish to have strangers knocking on their doors offering goods or services. NCCZs only cover a small minority of roads and neighbourhoods in this country, and there are also other ways for honest trader and salesmen to reach consumers in the community for example trough social networking events, or with a stand in a library or supermarket.’
‘TSI has long been leading the fight against doorstep callers who are rogue traders or salesmen. No Cold Calling Zones have proved a fantastic tool for local authorities since they were launched at our conference in 2005, bringing down distraction burglary figures, making residents feel safer in their homes and deterring cold callers.
‘It is time to build on these successes by giving the zones more clout. The dangers from rogues and burglars are obvious, but trading standards from across the country are also reporting cold callers employing aggressive, oppressive or misleading techniques, used by utility salesmen in particular.’
‘We’d urge all local authorities to strengthen their NCCZ signage with reference to The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 – this legislation can be used by trading standards to prosecute traders who don’t go away when asked.’
Some local authorities, such as Milton Keynes and Leicestershire, are already using Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) on their NCCZ signage, warning doorstoppers that they could be prosecuted by trading standards. Refusing to go away is a banned practice under CPRs, whether the trader is legitimate or a rogue.
Notes for Editors:
For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Irja Howie at TSI press office on 08456089430 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NCCZs, or Cold Calling Control Zones, were launched by the Trading Standards Institute in 2005 as a tool for local authorities, partners and communities to combat doorstep crime.
The figures are from evaluations and feedback from the following 13 areas (number of NCCZs evaluated):
Stockton (2), Carmarthenshire (1), Salford (1), Essex (19), Oxfordshire (13), Bolton (1), Worcestershire (2), Norfolk (15), Angus (47), Surrey (1), Hampshire (1), Leicestershire (17), Long Eaton (1)
Evaluations by trading standards services show the positive impact these areas have in reducing crime and fear of crime, with an average of 72 per cent of residents saying they feel safer since the scheme was introduced.
In Guildford, Surrey, police say NCCZs have directly contributed to a reduction of more than 60 per cent in distraction burglary figures, while a pilot in a distraction burglary hotspot in Salford has seen an end to such incidents all together.
In 2009 Consumer Direct logged 2915 cases of consumers who believed they were given wrong information by an energy sales agent, were misinformed about the product and/or price, the terms of the contract or their right of cancellation. Information captured by Consumer Direct is provided as given by the consumer. No opinion on the truth or verification of facts has been made by the Consumer Direct service.
Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.
TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. We are also supporting the delivery of initiatives such as the advice services Consumer Direct, UK ECC and UK ECCS.