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Simon Lloyd

SmartCompany /

Want to ensure your future is not infested by estate agents? Add your name to the Government’s “do not call” register after July.

Don’t call us, we won’t call you

New telemarketing laws come into effect on July 1, after which if you choose to add your name to the Government’s “do not call” list, you’ll in future be spared nuisance telemarketing calls during mealtimes at home.

Well, charities and – surprise, surprise – politicians will still be allowed to phone you to play on your largesse or prattle away about all their good works in the constituency.

But, importantly, those real estate agents who trawl through the industry database known as RP Data picking out phone numbers won’t be able to do the same with impunity any more. (Not that this is a legal way of using phone numbers to start with, but it is almost impossible for home owners to prove that’s how an agent has found their number).

From July 1, however, these agents face real threats from the new telemarketing laws, and the scrupulous among us are quietly chuffed at the prospect of seeing a few prosecutions among the tacky agents who give the entire industry a bad name.

Mind you, the onus will still be on consumers to make sure they put themselves on the “do not call” list once the Government sets it up. Otherwise, this could be you: You’ve just arrived home from the office, bounced the baby and are about to deal with the Little Darling’s vomit when the phone rings …

“Hello, is this Mrs Prospect? This is Sheena Hyena from McMansion & Hovel Realty, and I’m ringing because I’ve heard that someone in your street is thinking of selling their house and I was wondering if that’s you?”

“No, it’s not us, and how did you get this number anyway? We’re not in the White Pages.”

“Oh, that’s not important, Mrs Prospect. What is important is that we have a very special offer happening at the moment…

[sound of screaming child in the background]

“…and I’m excited to tell you that we’re providing market appraisals in your street absolutely free of charge. So I wanted to see what time tomorrow I could come around because I’ll be in the area.”

“Well, that’s not possible because my husband…”

“All right, let’s say after work at about this time? Fabulous, I’ll see you then.”

[click]

Mrs Prospect shouldn’t kid herself at this point that Sheena won’t turn up at the nominated time; in fact, merely by picking up the phone and confirming her identity at the address on Sheena’s file, Mrs Prospect has ensured a future in which Sheena will feature prominently.

She’ll be at the door, and then on the phone – again and again and again. And, if the Prospects change their phone number in desperation, back on the doorstep. In fact, the only way to get rid of Sheena will be to let her put up a For Sale sign on the front fence.

But under the new laws, if Mrs Prospect had been on the “do not call” register when Sheena phoned, the conversation might have gone like this:

“Hello, is this Mrs Prospect? This is Sheena Hyena from McMansion & Hovel Realty, and I’m ringing because I’ve heard that someone in your street is thinking of selling their house and I was wondering if that’s you?”

“No it is not and how dare you ring this number. I’ve written down your name and company and I’m going to have you prosecuted and your licence revoked. Have a nice evening.”

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