Health insurers

Telephone terror: comparis.ch takes action against annoying cold calls

INFORMATION
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Irritating beyond measure: Swiss consumers are flooded with cold calls despite block on advertising in telephone directory.

Annoying calls, dubious tricks and thousands of complaints: this autumn people in Switzerland are again being bothered with advertising calls from call centres and telemarketers – in particular from health insurance companies. Some salespersons even brazenly pretend to be calling on behalf of comparis.ch. This is never the case. Consumers can submit a complaint to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) against this form of telemarketing. We also have four tips on how to avoid those tiresome cold calls.

Even the asterisk (*) in the telephone book does not safeguard your well-earned peace at the end of the day: this autumn there are again more incoming calls in Swiss households. Health insurance companies themselves, insurance agents and call centres are using the telephone to snatch customers. And this, even though the legislator has set clear legal limits for telephone advertisers and also health insurance provider organisations Santésuisse and Curafutura have issued relevant recommendations for their members.

This is what telemarketers can(not) do

Since April 2012, the federal Unfair Competition Act (UWG/LCD) has set clear limitations for telemarketers and telephone advertisers: consumers can protect themselves with an entry in the telephone book. Those who disregard this entry can be held accountable.
Furthermore, the code of conduct of the health insurance provider organisation states that only customers, previous customers or interested parties who have given their consent beforehand may be targeted with advertising calls.

Beware of baiting: sometimes unsuspecting consumers are convinced by a friendly voice on the phone to take part in a survey or contest. They often overlook that they are giving their consent for later promotional actions.

Dubious practices of “black sheep”

Despite legal limitations, despite recommendations from health insurers: many consumers complain about receiving calls from health insurance companies with whom they have never had contact. Sometimes the calls are made from abroad using Swiss phone numbers, and sometimes the call number is hidden.

comparis.ch never practices cold calls

What is particularly bold is the fact that some call centres pretend to be calling on behalf of comparis.ch and thus abuse our good name and the consumers’ confidence in comparis.ch. comparis.ch never practices cold calls. All we do is provide online comparison services to enable consumers to make a more informed decision based on this information. If you receive advertising calls in the name of comparis.ch, these have never been commissioned by us!

To encourage health insurance companies to refrain from telemarketing, comparis.ch launched the “Ethical customer acquisition” label in 2015. This year, a few health insurers have once again committed themselves to adhering to the rules.

 

 

Four tips to help you avoid annoying phone calls

1. Add an asterisk to your entry in the phone book: our convenient and free online form helps you do this. 

2. Download the local.ch app onto your mobile: The Swiss Phone Book app by local.ch records thousands of telephone numbers used by disreputable call centres. Calls from these numbers are flagged as "Telemarketing" and can be ignored or cancelled. The app is available from Apple App Store and Google Play.  

3. Disturbances despite block on advertising: report misuse to us with this online form. comparis.ch will engage the responsible bodies by means of public relations and intervention.

4. Official complaint: you can submit a complaint directly to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) (not available in English). In the name of the confederation, Seco can take action against companies for complaints regarding unlawful advertising calls.