Whether they’re about wine, newspaper subscriptions or health insurance, sales and marketing calls are considered a nuisance by many consumers. Even those with an asterisk in the phone book aren't being left in peace. Here’s what to do to keep these callers at bay.
It's actually quite simple: those with an asterisk against their entry in the phone book should not be troubled by cold callers. This is stipulated in the Swiss Federal Act on Unfair Competition, in force since 1 April 2012. Article 3 letter u refers to the protection of consumers against unsolicited calls. It is illegal for telephone advertisers to call you when your entry is marked with an asterisk. However, there are loopholes. We explain how you can respond.
How do I prevent sales calls?
comparis.ch offers an online service that allows you to check quickly and easily whether your entry in the telephone book already has an asterisk next to it. If it hasn't, you can then request to have an advertising block activated on your entry in the relevant directories at local.ch and with the Swiss Direct Marketing Association, if you don't want to receive any sales calls. You can also use the Comparis service to reported any instances of misuse.
Are some sales calls permitted even if my entry has an asterisk?
Calls from your own telephone provider or a company with which you are a customer are allowed, as are calls for which you have given your express permission. However, if you state when you receive the call that you do not wish to receive any more calls in the future, then the calling company must respect this.
Are there any pitfalls to watch out for?
Tightening of the law under the Swiss Federal Act on Unfair Competition only applies to calls for which there has been no contact between the consumer and the company making the call. However, many companies collect addresses and telephone numbers through the use of competitions or similar. If you take part in such a competition, you agree that the company may use your contact details for advertising purposes. You should therefore always take care when providing anyone with your telephone number and address.
What should I do if I receive an unwanted sales call?
- State politely and firmly that you do not wish to talk to them.
- Ask the company making the call to remove you from their list.
- A sales call to a number with an asterisk entry can constitute unfair competition. In this case, you can file a complaint with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) or report it to the police.
- The Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner provides sample letters (German, French and Italian only) for requesting information or to have your personal data deleted.
- Many callers withhold their number when calling. It might be worth blocking all calls from withheld numbers.