What should you do when you get annoying advertising calls even though you have a starred listing?

There seems to be no cure for annoying advertising calls. At least, that’s how it feels when the phone rings again, despite the fact that your listing includes an advertising block, and you have another insistent sales person on the line who wants to palm something off on you. Sometimes they even call at home on a Saturday morning. It can be infuriating.
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, advertising calls are only permissible 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).
Incidentally, if you would like to create a starred listing at local.ch please click here. Naturally this is free of charge.

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.

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: 30. July 2015