The 'ping' that's more irritating than a ring

8 February 2013

I've finally got round to it – I've made a stand against some of those nuisance marketing calls that I'm plagued with on my mobile phone. I'd already registered my home phone with the Telephone Preference Service (visit or call 0800 398 893) and now I've added my mobile. Unfortunately, the service won't stop me receiving automated messages or text messages, but at least it's a start.

A few months ago, we were getting constant calls at home from claims compensation companies about mis-sold PPI and from firms offering to solve our personal debt crisis. At the time, it would be a phone call from a salesman rather than a soul-less voicemail. Can you think of a worse job to have? It makes estate agents and insurance salesmen look positively saintly. My husband got so fed up, he once said to a tele-salesman: "Would you like to buy something? I've got this Victorian pine door we don't need? "Why would I want with a pine door?" the baffled caller asked. "Why would I want what you're selling?" my husband replied. The salesman was off the phone quicker than you can say PPI.
In some ways, the texts are even worse. You hear the melodic ‘ping' of your smartphone and imagine that you're about to receive some juicy gossip from a friend or an invitation to brighten up these dull, dark winter days, but instead it's: "Due to new laws, you can have up to 75% of your debt written off and lower your monthly repayments…" or "Pensions are performing at an all time low. For a free written pension review to try to attain a higher return, press YES". 
No! No! No! Apparently, the only way to stop receiving SMS marketing messages is to send an ‘opt-out' request to the company involved – but then it has the satisfaction of knowing that it's got through to someone – and to add to your irritation, you'll be paying for a text to reject it. There's nothing for it but to hit the delete button…