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Businesses urged to hang up on cold call scams

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Small businesses are being urged by The Office of Fair Trading to hang up on cold callers selling advertising in publications that claim to support the emergency services or associated charities.

The OFT has received information about the sales tactics of some telesales companies, particularly sales staff making false claims about links to the emergency services or charitable organisations. 

Legitimate companies do exist but to reduce the risks of falling for cold call scams trading standards has the following tips: 

  • don’t take unsolicited calls when you are busy and can’t give the salesman your full attention – if you want to talk, ask them to call back at a convenient time
  • don’t agree to something on the phone just to get rid of a persistent caller – legally binding agreements can be made over the phone
  • be wary of unsolicited callers suggesting or implying that you are placing an order or entering an agreement when you don’t wish to do so.
  • be wary of follow-up calls – you may think they’re just verifying details, but they may be trying to trick you into entering into an agreement
  • if you’re not clear about any details, don’t be rushed – ask questions 
  • don’t be pressurised into paying for services you haven’t agreed to, that haven’t been provided or that don’t match those agreed to: if you are threatened with debt collectors or a credit black-listing, remember that ultimately only a court can decide whether you are liable to pay. 

If a business has lost money through a scam they should contact their local police station for advice and guidance.

Further information on business scams in general is available from the OFT website at or by telephoning 686500.  

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