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FEAR OF CRANK CALLS STILL MAJOR CONCERN FOR ELDERLY
and unsolicited sales messages continue to create a great deal of
anxiety among Britain’s elderly population, with a significant
proportion of 60+ year olds receiving as many as 240 unwanted calls
every month. Yet despite regulation of the telemarketing market
since 1999, the number of nuisance and ‘silent’ calls made to UK
households remains at a staggering 3 billion each year.
Of greatest concern
to consumers has been the marked increase in the volume of so-called
‘silent’ calls – when the phone rings in the early hours of the
morning or late at night and you pick up the receiver to hear
nothing but silence. Understandably most people fear the worst,
especially those who live alone and the elderly. In fact the
problem is so bad that over 17 million people in the UK have
registered their telephone numbers with the Call Prevention Registry
and Telephone Preference Service. And in 2008 the number of
complaints made each month to the phone watchdog, Ofcom, almost
In the vast majority
of cases silent and nuisance calls are not made by pranksters or
potential burglars eyeing up your home. They are predominantly made
by telemarketing organisations in call centres throughout the UK and
overseas, some of whom use automated calling systems that can dial
more telephone numbers than their available staff can deal with. And
that’s when you get silent calls. But that doesn’t stop the
feelings of anxiety and dread experienced by the majority of people
who receive these calls. "Our customers
describe feeling ‘on edge’ each time the phone rings or
‘intimidated’ by the increasingly aggressive sales tactics used by
some callers before registering their telephone numbers with us.Many more people believe that their homes are being primed
for burglary which causes a significant degree of fear and anxiety,
particularly among the elderly and those living alone, whilst 7 out
of 10 people believe they have been victim of a phone scam.” says Paul MacKenzie-Cummins of the Call Prevention Registry, the
UK’s leading independent anti-nuisance calls service provider.
In 2008 Ofcom fined
Barclaycard £50,000 (the maximum possible) for breaching
telemarketing rules. During a 7 month investigation the phone
regulator found Barclaycard guilty of making an excessively high
volume of silent calls with consumers having no way of knowing who
had called them. However, Ofcom’s action against Barclaycard
represented little more than a token gesture in the fight against
The phone watchdog
has been widely criticised in recent years over its relaxed stance
on the issue of unwanted telemarketing calls made to UK consumers.
As has it’s support for the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) – an
organisation operated by the Direct Marketing Association – which
sells its data to the very telemarketing companies guilty of making
these unacceptably high levels of nuisance calls. Indeed, the
average customer who has registered their details with TPS will only
see a drop of 54% in nuisance calls over the course of a year,
compared to the 95% fall in calls received by those who are
registered with the Call Prevention Registry.
Even if people know
there is nothing to fear, the fact remains that nuisance and silent
calls are annoying, irritating and inconvenient at best. They can
also be illegal, especially if your telephone number has been
registered with CPR or TPS.
“There are a
number of practical steps that phone owners can take to put a stop
to all nuisance calls.
The first thing to do is to keep calm and resist the temptation to
give the caller a piece of your mind - they will love to hear they
have rattled you. And make sure you don’t give permission to your
insurance company or any other organisation you have financial
dealings with to pass on your details to any third party
organisation – most of them will distribute your details to a number
of other companies they have links with.
f you are
still receiving a lot of nuisance and telemarketing calls and don’t
want to involve the Police, you should consider registering with the
Call Prevention Registry (CPR). CPR is an organisation that keeps a
list of people who do not wish to receive any telemarketing calls
and has the highest success rate in blocking nuisance calls than any
other service provider and is the only organisation that can block
unwanted calls from sales companies in the UK and overseas.” says MacKenzie-Cummins.
Family fun at Transport through the Ages
enthusiasts are invited to step back in time to view a stunning
array of vehicles and vessels. Around 20,000 people are
expected to flock to ‘Transport through the Ages’, which takes place
at Birkenhead Park on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September.
Some of the main attractions on Sunday at this free event will be 7
vintage full sized ‘Showmen’s’ traction engines and a 1908 Stanley
Steam driven car, a vintage Victorian steam driven ‘Galloper’
fairground ride and the accompanying vintage fair attractions.
There will also be around 120 vintage and classic cars, commercial
vehicles, motor cycles and pedal cycles at the event – which is
organized by the Lions International led by Birkenhead Lions, and
the Wirral Transport Museum. The attractions are on offer on both
days guaranteeing ‘Transport through the Ages’ will be a fun family
Brass Band, Jazz Bands, Reggae Bands , Choirs, street entertainers,
trade and charity stalls, exhibition stands, log pulling displays by
‘Shire Horses’ and many other attractions complete the event.
Ken Fretwell the Organizer said:- “This event promises to be
even better than last year and offers families of all ages a
fantastic day out, not only for transport enthusiasts but for music
enthusiasts as well. We really hope people will come along and soak
up the atmosphere at this free event. "
The event is being
supported by Wirral Borough Council, Merseytravel , Merseyrail and
many other local businesses.
Merseytravel, will provide a free bus service from Liverpool to
Birkenhead on Sunday 20 September only starting from Exchange Street
East at 10.am and at 15 minute intervals thereafter until 3..30pm.
There will also be a regular vintage tram service / bus service from
Woodside Ferry terminal via the Wirral Transport Museum, in Taylor
Street, to Birkenhead Park. Merseytravel have produced a souvenir
timetable for all buses running to the event from Liverpool and
Guides and Brownies
make a splash!
CHAIR of Merseytravel, Councillor
Mark Dowd, joined more than 60 rainbows, brownies and guides who
were renewing their Girl Guide vows in the middle of the Mersey.
The young girls, from the Wheatland District Guides in Wirral,
renewed their vows on board the Mersey Ferry on Sunday as part of
their “Make a Splash” task. The task was one of the
requirements for a one off guide badge in honour of the 100th year
of the Girl Guides Association.
Tawny Owl Domini Webb said:- “The event on the Mersey Ferries
involved every member of our organisation, ranging from Rainbows,
Brownies, Girl Guides and group leaders making a renewal of the
declaration they made when they joined the movement. Over the
next 12 months we’ll be holding and staging a number of events to
celebrate this special centenary year.”
Councillor Mark Dowd met the girls during their trip. He said:- “It’s great that the Girl Guides Association is still going
strong after 100 years. All the guides and brownies taking part in
the renewal of their vows are a credit to the organisation and to
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