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Tips to avoid cold calls in France - and what to say if you get one

Be aware of marketing numbers and rules around nuisance calls

A woman holding her phone looking annoyed

Cold calls can be frustrating, but there are some things you can try to help reduce them Pic: Fizkes / Shutterstock

Despite France’s many rules and regulations on phone marketing, calls can still be annoyingly frequent. Here is how to help avoid or reduce their number, and what to say if marketers keep calling.

Be aware of the number regulations

Phone marketers are no longer allowed to use numbers beginning with 06 or 07. They are also required to introduce themselves and tell the caller that they have the right to refuse the call at the start.

They are only allowed to call from Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 13:00, and from 14:00 to 20:00. The same marketer is not allowed to call more than four times in one month, and cannot call within the next 60 days once you have said you are not interested.

If they break these rules, marketers risk a fine of €75,000 for an individual, and €375,000 for a company (some recent fines are listed on the government website here).

Read also: Cold calls still blight residents in France despite change to law

Screen common numbers

It is usually possible to avoid answering marketing calls if you look at the prefix of the number first.

In mainland France, these prefixes are used by marketers:

  • 0162, 0163

  • 0270, 0271

  • 0377, 0378

  • 0424, 0425

  • 0568, 0569

  • 0948 and 0949.

You can block all numbers starting with these prefixes on your phone, or simply choose not to answer them.

Read more: How to check if an incoming call is from a cold caller in France

Sign up to Bloctel

Bloctel is a free service, set up by the government, which allows you to put your number on a list of people who do not want to be contacted by telephone. 

Some people have reported that they still receive some calls despite having signed up, but signing up should help to cut the number of calls. 

Once signed up, you can log in to your personal online space to change your details if needed, so your account is always up to date.

Learn some useful phrases

Of course, you can always hang up without saying anything, but this may not stop them from calling, and could be considered a rude way to deal with someone who is only doing their job.

You can also say that you are not the person they are looking for, or pretend that you do not understand them, but these are not reliable methods.

Instead, useful phrases include:

  • Non, merci (No, thank you) 

  • Ça ne m'intéresse pas (I’m not interested)

  • Ce n’est pas pour moi, merci (It’s not for me, thank you)

  • Ne me rappelez pas, s'il vous plaît (Please don’t call me back)

  • Veuillez retirer mon numéro de votre liste (Please take my number off your list)

You can also learn the laws that regulate marketing, so you can calmly point out any errors to the caller if they make them. For example, if they call outside the legal hours, or if they start the call without asking for your permission to continue or not.

You can also remind them that they cannot call within the next 60 days once you have said you are not interested.

Report harassment

If the calls continue despite your best efforts, you can report them to the SignalConso platform, specifying the number, the time of the call, and any other issues you have experienced.

If a number tries to get you to call back on a premium line you can report the number to the site surmafacture.fr.

For calls from automated services, or calls aiming to obtain data from you for fraudulent purposes, you can report them to the Cnil. Fraudulent or scam calls can also be reported to the police or gendarmes.

Related articles

Explainer: When and by whom can you be cold-called in France? 

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