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There's no call for underhand tactics; Firms bring misery with cold calls and dodgy equipment.

THERE'S a stretch of the south coast that's home to a rash of cold-calling operations.

And ironically these callers rake in money by claiming to be able to cut the number of cold calls you receive.

I've just heard from one elderly couple who last year were flogged a supposed "call blocker" device for PS84.99 by Cold Call Elimination Limited.

Now the pair have been told that they must pay another PS84.99 or it will stop working.

"None of this was mentioned at initial purchase," said Edwin (I won't give his full name).

"We were told that we would be included on their opt-out register for life. We only bought it after a number of annoying cold calls, in spite of registering with the Telephone Preference Service.

"The device worked OK on certain calls but now we feel we are victims of sharp practice."

In September, Cold Call Elimination was ordered to pay a PS75,000 fine by the Information Commissioner's Office for making vast quantities of unsolicited sales calls over two years.

The company continued regardless, even after being warned that it was being monitored by officials.

"This company clearly knew the law, but continued to break it by calling people on the Telephone Preference Service," said Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement.

"It is clear some of the people called by this company were very distressed by the calls and as some of the people receiving the calls were elderly or vulnerable, this was an aggravating factor."

Cold Call Elimination, run by 31-year-old Leah Masters, has now stopped answering its phones and has vanished from its offices outside Chichester, West Sussex.

And it has not paid that PS75,000 fine.

This lot should not to be confused with Cold Call Eradication Limited of nearby Gosport, Hants.

Or TP Management, which traded as Teleprotect from the same business park as Cold Call Elimination and was due to be put into compulsory liquidation last month until the action was suspended.

Or Nuisance Call Prevention Service Limited, which was also placed on the Information Commissioner's monitoring list and is now listed at Companies House as due to be struck-off. Its director is Bill Burey, 49, who was also a director of Call Stopping Service Limited, until resigning in April.

He is now co-director alongside Leah Masters of GetWork2Day Limited, a site for employers they set up because: "We as business owners were constantly getting let down by staff ". Maybe, and this is only a guess, workers kept walking out on them because they didn't like inflicting unwanted sales calls on poor members of the public. Let's hope so.

Not that I'm asking you to feel sorry for the people who make these unwanted calls, but anyone who takes this sort of soul-sapping work must be truly desperate.

'This firm knew the law but continued to break it'

CAPTION(S):

DIRECTOR Leah Masters, and websites that play on people's hatred of cold calls

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 26, 2015
Words:492
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