Friday 2 August 2013

A handy phone number

I was called by a market researcher today. That's a market researcher, not a "market researcher" who is actually trying to drum up sales leads. Lucy, fro   
wanted opinions on ... well, I don't know what. She wanted to talk to the person whose birthday was next, and when I told her that person was out, she gave up. So I don't think it was a sales call.

Which actually makes it even more annoying. You can put yourself on the Telephone Preference Service, it's free, and it does seem to ward off most sales calls (and when it doesn't, I make a complaint). But for reasons I don't understand, market researchers are still allowed to call, and they still do call. Why do they do this?

I'm guessing that they're trying to get an unbiassed, truly random sample, and it wouldn't be random if they obeyed the TPS. But what they might not have realised, is that whenever I do get surveyed by someone phoning me up out of the blue, I give them deliberately wrong answers. Why do I do this? In order to help them to understand that it's not a good idea to call people who are so keen not to be called, that they put themselves on the TPS. I expect that other people do the same thing.

It was fortunate for Lucy that she gave up so easily, otherwise their survey would have been ruined by one cantankerous individual who doesn;t like to have his time wasted by people calling him to do market research, and has tried to say so by signing up to the TPS.

Still, some good came out of this. I now have a phone number that I can give when I'm asked to give a phone number and when I suspect that giving it will lead to a bunch of unwanted sales and marketing calls.

You can contact Taylor Nelson Sofres on 0208 433 4494.


  1. I remember getting a market researcher calling me shortly after I signed up for the TPS. I asked to speak to their manager, and asked the manager why they were calling me when I'd put myself on the list to say I didn't want to be called.

    The manager said that as they were a market research company rather than a sales company they were still allowed to call despite my registered preference to not be called.

    So I asked why she thought I'd want to hear from market research companies when I'd explicitly registered a preference to not receive unsolicited calls. She took the point well, in fairness she was very professional about it and agreed not to call me any more. I rather got the impression they might even consider not calling anyone on the TPS list. We can hope.

    Now I'm in two minds whether I want the people from various "technical support" groups to stop calling me, or to keep calling me so I can play silly games with them. I really should get a premium rate number and give it out freely to any marketers, researchers etc. I wouldn't mind talking to market research people if they were willing to pay me £1.50/minute for the privilege.

  2. I like this idea. How do I get a premium rate number?

  3. BT would be your port of call the premium rate number doesn't cost much as there was something in the paper a few weeks ago about them.