Unscrupulous salesmen from pay-TV and telephone operators are targeting elderly people in old districts to sell contracts with lengthy lock-in periods, consumers claimed yesterday. Many elderly residents are living on public welfare and some say they have been cheated into signing contracts that swallow up a fifth of their pension payments. They also complain there is no way for them to terminate the services. A residents' group in Sham Shui Po said they had received about 50 calls for assistance from the elderly in the past three months. 'There were only isolated complaints in the past. But recently we have been flooded with calls by residents,' said Chan Keng-chau, a Sham Shui Po district councillor. Mr Chan admitted there was little the 'victims' could do because they had signed contracts. Public concerns over sales malpractice by pay-TV or telecommunications operators rose recently as complaints have kept cropping up. The Consumer Council received more than 2,200 complaints against pay-TV services alone for the first five months of the year, almost twice the number for the same period the previous year. On Wednesday the legislature endorsed a motion calling for tougher measures against unscrupulous sales practices by pay-TV and telecommunications operators. A public tenant, Yu Kam-man, 69, who lives on Fu Cheong Estate in Sham Shui Po, claimed he had been cheated into signing a contract with a fixed-line operator before his contract with the original operator, PCCW, expired. 'The salesman said his company would fix the contract thing for me. But after I signed up, I could not get hold of him for help,' said Mr Yu, who is facing a fee of over HK$1,000 to break the contract with PCCW. Another tenant, Leung Tat-ming, 72, claimed the salesman of a mobile phone operator had tampered with the application form after he had signed it and now he had to use the operator's service for 18 months, instead of the 12 months to which he had agreed. PCCW said it did not condone deceptive sales practices, regardless of whether or not they were legal.