Delivering Lack of Political Credibility – by Phone

Come election time, the DeliveryDemon expects politicos to pay at least lip service to the concerns of the electorate. Even in the Westminster bubble it would have been difficult to ignore the fact that, across the country, people are becoming increasingly annoyed by the sheer volume of blatant scam calls being made by crooks using automated dialling technology. The DeliveryDemon was more than a little annoyed to be pestered multiple times with calls from 0203 4765 258, despite telling them succinctly where to go.

Today’s call came across as a blatant scam. The caller started by claiming to be ringing from the Office of the Prime Minister, David Cameron. While the DeliveryDemon has plenty advice to offer politicos about what their electorate wants from them, she still thinks it highly unlikely that DC or any other politico would actually call her personally for such advice, so the call failed the most obvious credibility test. Then of course, there is the date. As of March 30th, the date of the call, Parliament is dissolved. There are no MPs and no Prime Minister. Credibility fail number two. When it transpired that the caller was from one of the legion of nuisance call companies, he struggled to provide the most basic information about his organisation – yet another indicator of scam calls.

The DeliveryDemon prefers to cast blame where it is well deserved, and it is quite possible that the caller was a run-of-the-mill scammer using the election period to try and add credibility to the scam. Equally it may be that the Tories are being bloody stupid, ignoring the reams of recent publicity and high profile regulator concern on the subject of nuisance calls. If the former is true, then it is right that the Tories should know how their candidate’s name is being used. If the latter is true, then the Tories, like all other parties, need to be reminded that they should pay attention to the concerns the electorate has been raising for months and years. In particular they should exercise the tiny amount of intelligence it takes to recognise how their junk calls may be received by those who have not agreed to be contacted in this way.

Since the nuisance caller claimed to be from David Cameron’s office, the DeliveryDemon considers it appropriate that he should know how his name is being used. After much searching, and failing to find an email address, she found a contact form which wasn’t limited to a couple of skimpy lines of content, and sent the message below.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Today I received, for the third time, a call from someone making the highly unlikely claim that they were from your office. This individual, with a voice like a comedy Tory, was determined to get at personal information but had not even bothered to get the correct location of the phone he was calling. Further probing came up with the name of a company called Return Marketing, and an address which did not match the Companies House registered address of a company with the same name.

Investigating Return Marketing showed that, under the DPA, they are registered to provide telecommunications services and to hold details of their customers. This is manifestly not the same as holding details of individuals who have not given their consent and using those details to make nuisance calls to them.

Clearly these calls have all the hallmarks of a scam and, given the current massive volume of attempted fraud by phone, this appears to be highly likely. Either this company is claiming to be from your office in an attempt to lend credibility to a dishonest attempt to get at people’s personal information, or you have commissioned an extremely unprofessional organisation which has failed even to comply with its statutory duties.

If you have in fact commissioned this rather unsavoury organisation, may I suggest that you should instruct them:
• Not to lie about where they are calling from
• To comply with their duties under the Data Protection Act
• Not to harass people with multiple calls
• To be honest about where they obtain details of the people they call
• When they call someone, to be ready to provide basic information to indicate their bona fides, such as full company name and number and registered address, and data protection registration number
• When told their calls are an unwelcome nuisance, not to make repeat calls to the same number.

If your party is in fact using these tactics to get at information, it shows little awareness of the industrial scale harassment being caused by scammers making millions of fraudulent calls every day. May I suggest that your party should factor this into your campaigning, and consider dealing with the issue in your policies, rather than lose credibility by behaving in exactly the same way as blatant crooks.

While this missive is addressed to the Tories, the DeliveryDemon is not party-partisan, and any politicos trying this phone ploy can expect to receive a similar communication.

Let’s face it, survey calls are unnecessary. If the politicos are not prepared to listen to what the electorate are telling them while there’s Parliament, the electorate has a lot more sense than to believe that politicos will live up to the promises they make in order to be elected – even if they go phoning around to try and find out which promises might garner votes.

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