Demand for full-scale inquiry into automated early-hour calls

Demand for full-scale inquiry into automated calls in early-hours

Demand for full-scale inquiry into automated calls in early-hours

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

PEOPLE across the North-East and North Yorkshire who were woken in the early hours by an automated call for the second morning running have demanded a full-scale inquiry to track down those responsible.

Many people have been disturbed from their slumbers, between midnight and 6.30am.

Expecting it may be an emergancy or bad news, they answered - only to find it was a message from an unidentified company promoting a Government scheme to install solar panels.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is responsible for tackling unsolicited markering calls, said it is aware of the problem and urged victims to report the incidents, so the culprits can be traced.

Charles Higginbottom, 84, of Swan Street, Darlington said: “At 4am, the phone went and a recorded message tried to get me interested in a Government grant for solar panels.

“I have a friend who is in critical condition at the moment and I thought it was bad news, my heart was going like the clappers.

“I was frightened and I couldn’t get back to sleep afterwards.”

He added: “I live in sheltered accommodation and we are all of an age here. There could be a fatality because of this - someone could have a heart attack. “This has to be investigated and it has got to stop.”

Denise Ellis, of Darlington, said: “I got a call at 6.30am yesterday (Thursday) morning 6.30 and then 2.10am this morning.

“My neighbour is not well and I thought it was bad news. I told her if she needs to ring tonight my landline is going to be unplugged.. I shouldn’t need to. It is an invasion of my privacy.”

A spokesman for the ICO said: “The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) regulates the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) which cover electronic marketing, including live and automated marketing calls, text messages and emails.

“The regulations require companies to have a person’s consent before making an automated marketing call to their number.

“Any company that fails to do this is in breach of the regulations.

“Where we are able to demonstrate those calls have caused financial damage and distress we can issue penalties for up to £500,000.”

He added: “We are aware of a high number of automated calls made in your region over the last few nights and are advising anyone who has received such a call to send us the details using our online reporting tool at www.ico.org.uk.”

Anyone without internet access can contact the helpline on 0303 123 1113 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

PhonepayPlus only regulates premium rate services charged to a phone bill – from TV voting lines to adult entertainment.

Comments (9)

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7:19pm Fri 10 Jan 14

roaduser98 says...

What was the telephone number of the caller?? Maybe we can give them a call at 4am or 2am or everyone ring them at once. Chances are this is just a computer and no one is there to answer the calls anyway.
What was the telephone number of the caller?? Maybe we can give them a call at 4am or 2am or everyone ring them at once. Chances are this is just a computer and no one is there to answer the calls anyway. roaduser98
  • Score: 5

7:22pm Fri 10 Jan 14

roaduser98 says...

Was the telephone number of the caller 00501? The caller display has this number stored from an unknown caller at 4.30pm yesterday
Was the telephone number of the caller 00501? The caller display has this number stored from an unknown caller at 4.30pm yesterday roaduser98
  • Score: 1

7:26pm Fri 10 Jan 14

roaduser98 says...

I do not recall giving anyone 'consent' to make marketing calls to our phone line. It maybe this was a trickery by Talk Talk who are amazing when it comes to pricing their service which appears to be too good to be true and it turns out it is!!
I do not recall giving anyone 'consent' to make marketing calls to our phone line. It maybe this was a trickery by Talk Talk who are amazing when it comes to pricing their service which appears to be too good to be true and it turns out it is!! roaduser98
  • Score: 5

8:48pm Fri 10 Jan 14

think twice says...

google "unknownphone.com." It's a scam.
google "unknownphone.com." It's a scam. think twice
  • Score: 3

12:19am Sat 11 Jan 14

youngcrony says...

If you are getting calls out the blue, it would be interesting to know if you are part of Neighbourhood Watch and if you have asked to receive phone alerts of any incidents in the area.

I mention this because Neighbourhood Watch found fit to bombard my landline with multiple calls almost every day once I signed up to their telephone alerts.
If you are getting calls out the blue, it would be interesting to know if you are part of Neighbourhood Watch and if you have asked to receive phone alerts of any incidents in the area. I mention this because Neighbourhood Watch found fit to bombard my landline with multiple calls almost every day once I signed up to their telephone alerts. youngcrony
  • Score: -4

10:39am Sat 11 Jan 14

D. Hop says...

As it states above its a sales pitch. The message was automated and the number couldnt be retrieved with 1471.
As it states above its a sales pitch. The message was automated and the number couldnt be retrieved with 1471. D. Hop
  • Score: 7

12:24pm Sat 11 Jan 14

Normsky says...

I had a call like this Thurs around 4 am but just hung up, I have a phone in my bedroom, now I leave it downstairs so it can ring all it wants
I had a call like this Thurs around 4 am but just hung up, I have a phone in my bedroom, now I leave it downstairs so it can ring all it wants Normsky
  • Score: 2

12:49pm Sat 11 Jan 14

Quaker Boy says...

My mother got a call around 4am and with my father seriously ill in Hospital well, you can imagine how she felt. The people behind these calls want locking up for the distress they are causing.
My mother got a call around 4am and with my father seriously ill in Hospital well, you can imagine how she felt. The people behind these calls want locking up for the distress they are causing. Quaker Boy
  • Score: 7

6:20pm Sat 11 Jan 14

Bumbleb43 says...

I had an 'International Number' call today, telling me it was 'Windows Technical Department' about my computer..... it was someone with an foreign accent (possibly India) and they said that they had received error messages over the last 3 weeks from my computer....
I hung up.
Obviously these scam calls are on the increase again.
I had an 'International Number' call today, telling me it was 'Windows Technical Department' about my computer..... it was someone with an foreign accent (possibly India) and they said that they had received error messages over the last 3 weeks from my computer.... I hung up. Obviously these scam calls are on the increase again. Bumbleb43
  • Score: 2

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