How can I stop companies contacting me by phone, post or email?
Cold calling, leaflet drops and door-to-door selling can be a great way for
local traders to make people aware of their goods and services, but they can
sometimes be a nuisance. These methods can also be exploited by rogue traders
and scammers, so protect yourself by following a few basic tips.
- No means no!
If you're not interested say so firmly and politely.
Doorstep sales people are committing an offence if they refuse to take no
for an answer.
- Don't let them in.
Some scammers may try to keep you distracted at
the front door while an accomplice slips into your home through another door
or an open window. Be suspicious of anyone who seems anxious or wants to keep
If you're fed up of people knocking at your front door trying to sell you
goods or services, download and print off our poster.
- Don't suffer in silence
Companies use automated systems to make outgoing calls, and when there isn't
an operator available you may get a 'silent call'. Guidance says that in
this case companies should play an information message. Silent calls should
be reported to Ofcom as nuisance
- Contact your provider
Your telephone provider may be able to offer
help to minimise nuisance calls, such as call blocking and anonymous call
You can register with the Telephone
Preference Service to block unwanted calls. This is a free service, and
there is a legal duty on all organisations that they do not make unsolicited
calls to registered numbers.
- Cut the clutter #1
The amount of unsolicited post that is addressed to us often swamps the
genuine mail, to say nothing of the difficulties in getting your front door
open. You can make life easier for yourself - and your postman - by registering
for the Mail Preference Service. This is a free service, and will mean that members of the Direct Marketing
Association will cease sending you unsolicited mail.
- Cut the clutter #2
Which just leaves all the unaddressed mail that cascades onto our doormats.
Nailing up the letterbox is perhaps not the most practical solution, but
Royal Mail will allow you to opt out of receiving unaddressed mail (be warned
- this will affect all unaddressed items). You can get more information
- Cut the clutter #3
Now that the torrent of junk mail has slowed to a trickle we're left with
a few isolated puddles of hand-delivered flyers and leaflets. If you want
to discourage this kind of mail, you could use a sign on your door or window.
This is a handy resource that
helps you to create your own sign.
Is it a scam?
However people may contact you, you should ensure that you're dealing with
legitimate companies. Cold calling is a favourite technique for con artists
trying to get hold of your personal information or bank details. Be wary of
callers claiming to be phoning on behalf of your bank, utility company or
a debt advice company. They may not be the real thing, especially if they
want you to give them personal information over the phone - information that
they would already know if they were genuine. There have even been some recent
callers claiming to represent the CAB - no genuine CAB adviser would ever
phone someone out of the blue.
If you're contacted by a company which raises suspicions, you can report
it by contacting Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online