It’s 10:25 in the morning. Isabel is at work and her cell phone rings. It’s a call from 693364040. Since she doesn’t appear in her agenda, she lets it ring and doesn’t answer. A couple of hours later, they try to get in touch again from the same number. She doesn’t pick up either. Well into the afternoon, she rings him again. It’s 693364040 again. This time, she answers. She is worried about so much insistence. ‘Let’s see if it’s going to be something important,’ she thinks.
– Yes, who is it?
– Are you the owner of the line?
– I have a very good offer if you change your operator. Who do you have contracted with?
-I’m not interested.
– Are you not interested in saving money?
– No, thanks.
–Woman, everyone wants to spend less! Come on, it’s a discount.
-Not really, thank you.
Surely you have had this conversation or one very similar not so long ago. Maybe you’ve also gotten tired of asking (unsuccessfully) not to call you anymore to sell you life insurance, offer you a new credit card or suggest a change of phone company that you won’t regret. “The problem in these cases is that since you do not know who is calling you, you end up answering for fear of losing an important call and they sneak in the commercial proposal even if you are not interested,” they explain from the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU).
Since 2009, the law requires companies to call from a recognizable number to end, thus, with the indiscriminate use of hidden numbers, but as usually happens in these cases “made the law, made the trap,” they add in the OCU. What happens now is that they contact you from an identifiable mobile or landline number, often with a prefix included, to comply with the legal requirement, but the reality is that we still do not know who is calling us. The number of numbers used in ‘telemarketing’ campaigns is unfathomable”, they lament.
A study carried out by the OCU itself in which they collected more than two hundred missed business calls reveals that they were only able to find out the origin of a third of them, despite the fact that a perfectly identifiable number appeared on the telephone screen. “When we returned the call, in most cases a message was displayed informing us that the line did not exist or, directly, that they did not receive incoming calls,” they explain.
Hours of calls and obligation to identify yourself
They are regulated by law and since 2009 companies have been obliged to use an identifiable number and call within a specific schedule. The OCU explains the keys.
No more hidden numbers
“The law considers unfair competition to make repeated proposals by phone and specifies that the numbers must be identifiable. However, it is not clear what is meant by ‘repeated proposals’ (several times in a day, in a week, in a month…?) nor what exactly does identifiable number mean. Is it enough to see a phone number on the screen? », they are raised in the OCU.
First of all, identify
Every ‘telemarketing’ call must meet several requirements. The first of these is to identify at the beginning of the conversation from which company they call us and report that it is a commercial call. «The consumer must always be informed that he has the right to access his data, to modify it and to oppose receiving these calls, in addition to receiving the corresponding proof».
Only from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The open bar of schedules is over. The law establishes a specific time slot for making commercial calls. “They are not allowed after nine at night or before nine in the morning. Nor can you call on weekends or holidays, “they specify in the OCU.
The simplest and also “the most radical” way to avoid commercial communications is to sign up for the so-called ‘Robinson List’, especially if you do not want to be contacted by phone, post, email or mobile messages. «It is a free procedure that is carried out on the website www.listarobinson.es. Once registered, in theory they will only be able to call you companies to which you grant express consent. Some mobile operating systems are also capable of identifying certain calls as spam.
According to the website www.listaspam.com, the largest directory of telemarketing numbers in Spain and Latin America – you type the telephone number that called you into the search engine and it tells you who it belongs to and how many times it has been reported – “the prefixes and areas with the highest spam activity in our country are those starting with 91 (Madrid), 93 (Barcelona), 902 (premium numbers) and with these three starting digits: 648, 662, 640 and 693».
For example, the telephone number from which Isabel was called accumulates 158 complaints and more than 53,000 searches on the Internet to identify the origin of the call. More examples of spam phones: 911862074 (150 complaints and more than 32,000 searches); 919543827 (125 complaints and almost 17,000 searches) or 604372047 (126 complaints and more than 25,000 searches).
Wangiri, the foreign prefix scam
Last Monday at 11:15 a.m., Luis received a call from +390121202800, from Syracuse (Italy). Since he has no acquaintances there, nor any business contacts, he did not answer. And he did well, because most of these calls from abroad are usually a scam. He rings and they cut it off or let it ring until you answer and no one on the other end answers. Then you call back, they charge you and there is the scam. It is known by the name of Wangiri and emerged two decades ago in Japan.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.