HK Magazine Archive

Why Doesn’t the Do-Not-Call Register Stop Me from Getting Sales Calls?

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 July, 2016, 11:48am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 5:18pm

The Communications Authority runs three Do-not-call Registers—databases of phone numbers that have opted out of receiving certain kinds of sales communications. There’s one database each for fax messages, “short messages” and pre-recorded phone messages. You should be on it; if you’re not, call 1835000 to get yourself signed up. Once you are, companies are legally barred from contacting you with these kinds of messages.

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The problem is that the current Do-not-call Registers don’t, in fact, prevent the most annoying telemarketing practice of all: person to person, or “P2P” calls. You might be on all the registers, but they do nothing to prevent complete strangers ringing you and trying to sell you something you don’t need. 

The government’s been fiddling around on this issue for an age, without taking decisive action. It actually defends the practice of P2P calls, saying that telemarketing employs some 20,000 people in the city, and that stopping the practice would harm small and medium enterprises, even if it would make the rest of our lives happier. 

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But the times might just be a-changing. A survey tabled in Legco in April stated, unsurprisingly, that 90 percent of people consider telemarketing calls a nuisance. Which leads us to wonder what kind of perverts the other 10 percent are. Regardless, the government has made noises about setting up a public consultation on the matter, so it might possibly get around to doing something about it one of these days. 

In the meantime, there’s one surefire way to end a P2P sales call: Yell “HELLO??” into the phone loud enough and you’ll soon stop the stream of sales patter with that standard response: “Sorry, wrong number.” You bet your ass it is.