Process Diagram

How to avoid unwanted marketing calls & texts


Date: Monday 30th April 2012

Marketing texts are becoming a significant problem to the individual over the past few months. Marketing text messages have been around for a number of years, but with innovations in technology's and the use of mobile phones becoming a necessity, companies are finding it easier to send out mass messages.

One of the biggest problems with marketing texts is that it can be hard to tell whether the text originates from a trusted company. A majority of the texts can be spam to trick people into entering personal details. Similar to email spam, the messages can take you to a web page where the individual is required to enter personal details or account details. A common email spam involves a company impersonating HSBC. The emails contains a link and a short piece of text saying ‘There are problems with your account, please log in to resolve this issue’. When following the link the web page is in fact insecure and a scam.

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 covers the way in which organizations send direct marketing by electronic means, this includes text message or SMS. Organizations and companies are not entitled to send you direct marketing text messages if you don't agree to receive them. The only way in which they can send you marketing texts is; if the sender has obtained your details through a sale or negotiations for sale, the messages are about similar products or services offered by the sender and if you were given the opportunity to refuse the texts when your details were collected and, if not refused, you were given a simple way to opt out of the messaging service.

The big question is what can you do if you are receiving them unwanted marketing texts? If you think the text messages are breaching regulations then the first thing you should do is email the organization, informing them of the messages. It is key to keep a copy of every correspondence. On the other hand if your are unsure of where the messages originates from or if the message does not come from a company you are familiar with then you should not respond to the message as this can confirm your number is live. One of the most common solutions people will see on most marketing texts is the option to text 'stop' to a telephone number of 5-digit code shown in the text massage.

Here are some ways in which to prevent unwanted marketing calls;

  • Be careful who you give your mobile number to
  • Check privacy policies and marketing options carefully, you can tell them not to contact you by text massage.
  • If you reply "STOP" to the message be certain its from a referral company, google the number to validate or visit 192, whoisdomain to check the company.

Some of the main culprits are those of accident, debt management, PPI and payday loan companies. Mobile network companies are aware of these text messages and the trick they play. A majority of them consist of message being directed to the wrong name, engaging the receiver of the messages. For example 'Hi Tom here's that site I was telling you about'. It’s not something to worry about, as it is believed that the companies sending the messages are not holding personal information about specific individuals but are randomly generating mobile numbers using a number database generation tool that calculates all possible options within a prefix, then sending 100's or 1000's of messages.

Once the recipient receives the text message quite often the user responds to the text stating stop, this confirms to a database that the mobile number is live, and the company uses this as a generated lead to sell on to other company among those that have been mentioned.

These messages breach the legislation and should be dealt with accordingly. You should either contact your network operator customer services or use one of the reporting numbers below;

Vodafone: forward the text to 87726 Three: Forward the text to 37726 Orange, O2 and t-mobile forward the text to 7726 The issue the mobile networks face is that the company tents to use multiple mobile numbers and although the network can block certain numbers, the company would reappear under a different mobile number. If you search google with the mobile number you may find important information about that particular company who you can then contact to advise that are not interested in their services, asked to be placed on the “DO NOT CALL LIST” if the company fails to do so they in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, use websites such as to find out about the company and contact them via a recorded letter to again confirm that you are not interested, if the problem still persists you can contact ICO (information commissioners office) to report for breach of the policy, a formal complaint can then be processed and ICO will act upto your information presented.

Its also worth registering your landline and mobile numbers with TPS (Telephone Preference Service), this allows you to make known that you are not interested in direct marketing, you will be added to a database from which known companies will know not to contact you, once submitted the database will update within 28 days, and this should significantly reduce unwanted marketing calls/texts.

Furthermore if companies after the 28 day registration process at TPS you receive unwanted marketing calls/texts the companies are instantly in breach of the DPA (data protection act) and again ICO can assist you with your enquiry in this instance.

The more reports of such companies acting in this unsolicited manner the more likely the government will change the policies set out to tackle this increasing problem.

A great alternative is to change your number; a fresh number will create new details that companies will find hard to track / re-track. For that executive touch and a memorable number that is easy for you and your friends to remember, find a huge range of numbers at Unique Sims. With a choice of special numbers, platinum numbers, diamond numbers, gold numbers and silver numbers there is something for every price range.

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