What should you do when you get unsolicited telemarketing calls even though you have a starred listing?


Sometimes it seems like nothing can be done against unsolicited telemarketing. The phone often rings and you have another insistent sales person on the line who wants to palm something off on you.
And this happens, despite the fact that your listing with local.ch includes an advertising block. Now, the iOS and Android apps from local.ch recognise unsolicited calls in advance.

In many cases, these calls are in violation of the Swiss Federal Act against Unfair Competition (UCA). The reason being, as of 1st April 2012, unsolicited telemarketing is only permissible in Switzerland in two cases:
Firstly, when the number being called is listed in the telephone directory without a star and has not been put on a blocked list. Secondly, if the person being called already has an existing customer relationship with the caller. In this case, the person may be called even if they have a starred listing. However, in all other cases advertising calls are forbidden. Anyone in breach of this prohibition can be imprisoned for up to three years or punished with a fine (pursuant to §. 23 para. 1 UCA).

Checkmate in three moves

Anyone receiving advertising calls from companies with which they have no customer relationship, and despite the fact that they have a starred listing, can end the conversation with three short sentences: "I have a starred listing. You may therefore be liable to persecution by making this call. I insist that you delete my data from your directory."
Anyone willing to invest a little more time in the matter is entitled to take the name of the caller and their company. Together with the number on the display, this will make it easy for you to access other details about the caller, which will be important if you plan to lodge a complaint. You should then report the unauthorised caller to the Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs (SECO). If you go online and search for "SECO Beschwerde melden" [file a complaint with SECO], you will be taken to an online notification form that can be quickly filled out. The page and form, called "Beschwerde wegen Werbeanrufe trotz Sterneintrag” [Complaint regarding advertising call despite starred listing], are both in German. SECO will compile the complaints and, where necessary, bring charges against offending companies.

Also NEW for iOS: Better protection against unsolicited advertising calls

Until now, only the local.ch app for Android devices was able to protect against unsolicited advertising calls from telemarketers. Starting now, this is also possible for iOS.

The local.ch app has a function that can recognise incoming calls from non-registered telemarketing companies and will display these as such. These calls can be suppressed completely by suppressing the contact in the address book. The iOS solution operates using a function that downloads the numbers into the user's address book once this feature has been activated. "Telemarketing" will appear in your smartphone's display when a listed telemarketing company calls. If you have set the listings to "block", the calls cannot get through at all. 

How do we know that it is a telemarketing company?

Many users depend on a call look-up on local.ch. They look up the number in a telephone directory to see who is calling them (these look-ups happen automatically with the Android app). In this way, local.ch can classify numbers that aren't entered in a telephone book but are frequently looked up as "unsolicited calls".
local.ch first will add "We suspect telemarketer". If a number is looked up very often, special research will be used to check if this number is actually from telemarketers. If this is the case, it will be added as a "verified number".

If you would like to create a starred listing at local.ch please click here, free of charge, of course.


Author: Gregor Faust

Gregor Faust is a communications expert. Born in Basel, he studied legal sciences but his passion always lay more with languages than with the law. Since his internship as an advertising copywriter, he has been active in communications, where he has worked for prestigious agencies as well as with clients. Among other things, Gregor Faust has worked as media spokesperson and as Deputy Manager of Communications for local.ch and search.ch.

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Published: 15. March 2016