Two new ways to fight back against cold callers in France

Website lets you stop your phone operator from giving out your number

Cold calls are legal and rely on data that people have consented to give out
Published Last updated

A leading French consumer magazine has launched a website that lets people track how major tech companies use your data, prevent them from using it for commercial ends, and request phone operators to not share their number.

Cold calling remains commonplace despite the French government and the European Union placing limits on how companies can use your data, and national limits on who can call you and when.

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

Three out of four people still receive at least one call a week, according to a study by consumer magazine UFC-Que Choisir in October. The same study found that one in three receive a call every day.

Under the current framework, the lion’s share of cold calls stem from data that users themselves have provided and consented to let companies use, often in the small print when you agree to certain services.

This data can be as simple as your name, phone number and email address, but could also include more personal details such as your age and whether you live alone.

In some cases, cold callers may even know what type of insurance plan you have, or whether you are considering making a particular purchase - all stemming from the data they receive from their commercial partners.

To fight against this legal transmission of data between companies, UFC-Que Choisir has developed a new website called Respectemesdatas that helps people in two ways:

  • By letting you see what data the tech giants (Google, Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, Uber, Tiktok, etc) have about you
  • By letting you contact your telephone operator to stop the number from being passed to cold callers

Requests to see what data the tech companies have about you can take several weeks in some cases.

You can make the request on the website, selecting Récupérer mes données.

How to stop cold callers from calling?

Telemarketing callers are limited in the phone numbers they can use to contact people, which means their numbers are easily identified.

Respectemesdatas can formulate an automatic letter to request that your phone operator stop providing your phone number to such companies.

To make the request:

  • Go to Respectemesdatas
  • Select Cliquez ici
  • Select your phone operator from the list and select Opposez-vous au transfert de vos coordonnées, or block the retransmission of your phone number.
  • Enter your name and email address
  • On the next screen, enter your contract number with the telephone operator.

You can also use the tool to check what data the operator has about you, to delete your data, and to prevent their use by the operator itself.

The new tool should reinforce the government's Bloctel system, which allows people to opt out of cold calling, albeit to limited effect. Indeed the Bloctel system has resulted in many complaints, including from users who say it has too many exceptions for firms they previously used.

Towards an opt-in system for cold calls?

Senator Édouard Courtial (Oise) argues that more must be done and wants to legislate for an ‘opt-in system’.

“We would need to have customers saying at the outset ‘yes, I accept to be called’. And if they say no, no cold callers will call them.”

Mr Courtial proposed this legislation to the Senate in 2022, where it remains under consideration.

Read more:

Cold calls still blight residents in France despite change to law

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