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No Cold Calling Zones

What are they?

No Cold Calling Zones (NCCZ) are an initiative to help combat the problem of doorstep crime. Supported by Bedford Borough Council, Bedfordshire Police, Neighbourhood watch and partners, the zones aim to make residents feel safer in their own homes.

 

NCCZ do not ban cold callers or create exclusion zones, however they can be effective in deterring unscrupulous cold callers from approaching people living in the zones and giving those residents the confidence to say “No”.

 

The No Cold calling Zones are identified by signs displayed across the Borough and the use of stickers on resident’s front door or window can act as a reminder to any trader that calls.

Questions

Answers

What sort of people is the zone designed to prevent calling?

The zone is primarily designed to reduce instances of doorstep crime and distraction burglary and therefore the primary purpose is to prevent rogue traders. However, the zone is there to stop any unwanted cold callers and to empower residents to have confidence to deter callers away who they do not wish to deal with.

The zone is not designed to prevent people from distributing leaflets or catalogues such as Betterware or the “Avon Lady”. It is also not designed to stop people on legitimate business such as gas, electricity and water meter readers.

 

No Cold Calling Zones were established to protect residents from unwanted doorstep callers. They are designed to act as a deterrent to stop businesses cold calling in areas that are clearly marked as No Cold Calling Zones. The zones empower local residents to feel confident about sending unwanted callers away.

The outcome is then a reduction in doorstep crime and distraction burglary.

How do businesses know they are operating in a No Cold Calling Zone?

Street signs are erected at all access points used by cold callers to alert them that they are in a no cold calling zone. Residents are all provided with stickers to display on their front doors to make callers aware that the area is a No Cold Calling Zone and that the resident will not deal with them.

 

 

What is cold calling?

Cold calling is the act of making unrequested and uninvited visits to consumers’ homes with the intention of selling goods or services.

Is cold calling illegal?

Cold calling is not illegal, however, anyone who does sell you goods or services that cost more than £35 is required to provide you with a written notice giving you 7 days in which to cancel. If this notice is not provided the contract for the goods or services will not be enforceable meaning you will not have to pay even if goods have been provided or work has been carried out. Anyone who fails to give this notice will also be committing a criminal offence, which Trading Standards will investigate.

Can I refuse someone entry to my home?

Yes, absolutely. You are under no obligation to allow anyone to enter your home and can refuse access. You should never allow anyone access to your home unless you are able to verify their authenticity and confirm that they have a valid reason for being there. Legitimate callers will not mind being challenged and will expect you to ask them for identification and want to check that it is genuine.

How can I check whether a caller is genuine and has a legitimate reason for calling at my property?

Very few people will actually have a legitimate reason for turning up at your home unannounced and without an appointment. However, on rare occasions some legitimate callers may call at your home.

The most likely people to visit your home unannounced are utility companies attending your property to read a meter. Most of these companies operate a password scheme allowing you to register a password. Once you have registered your password, any caller from the company should be asked to provide the password before being given access to your property. If they cannot provide the password they are not from the utility company and should be told to leave. You should be able to find the details for registering a password on utility bills, if you cannot find the details call the customer service number and ask about their password scheme.

 

 

Can politicians call when canvassing?

The zones are not designed to prevent politicians from canvassing for elections, however, residents are under no obligation to speak to anyone at the door and canvassers are encouraged to respect residents’ wishes.

Can religious groups call?

As with politicians, the zones are not designed to stop religious groups from calling. However, residents are under no obligation to speak to anyone at the door and religious groups are encouraged to respect residents’ wishes.

Can market researchers call?

The zones are not designed to prevent market research from being undertaken. However, this should not be market research that includes the selling or promotion of goods or services. Where possible we would always encourage market researchers to make appointments before calling.

Residents are under no obligation to speak to anyone at the door and canvassers are encouraged to respect residents’ wishes.

Can charity collectors call?

The zones do not seek to prevent legitimate charity collections, however, we would expect charity collectors be able to satisfactorily identify themselves.

Some charities ask for donations to be left for collection, usually they will leave a bag or a leaflet and then return to collect items. If you get requests like this you should always read the details provided as not all collectors that collect in this way are acting for charitable purposes, often you will find that the collector is a business collecting items to sell for profit and they will include a company registration number on their paperwork as opposed to a charity registration number.

How can I find out if the charity calling is genuine?

All charities are required to be registered with the Charity Commission. You cannot claim to be a charity if you are not registered. Some organisations that carry out collections are not charities but businesses collecting clothing or other goods to sell for profit. To check whether an organisation is a registered charity you should visit the Charity Commission website.

Any charity carrying out collections for money has to get a permit from the local borough or district council giving permission for this. If you want to confirm that the charity collection is authorised you can contact your local borough or district council who should be able to tell you.

There is no requirement for a permit if you are not collecting money.

What can be done if someone does cold call in a No Cold Calling Zone?

It is not illegal to cold call, even in a No Cold Calling Zone. However, in a No Cold Calling Zone the residents have made a decision that they do not want cold callers.

What should I do if I receive a cold call?

Trading Standards advice is always to say no to cold callers. We would advise against dealing with anyone who makes a cold call to your home to try to sell goods or services.
To report suspicious incidents of cold calling you should telephone Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506 or visit the Citizens Advice Website

 

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