How can I stop marketers cold calling me in France?

New regulations are meant to help with this, but there are multiple avenues if the situation is not resolved

Many people find cold calling tiresome
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Reader question: I registered with Bloctel about 18 months ago, but I still get cold calls all day long on my landline. Is there a way to effectively stop this in France?

This is a perennial problem and there have been repeated attempts to deal with it.

The latest legislation, in force since March, was meant to limit the amount of cold calling companies can do.

Key points include:

  • Calls can only be made between 10:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 20:00 Monday to Friday

  • You can only be contacted four times within a calendar month

  • If you ask not to be contacted again during the call, the firm cannot call you again for 60 calendar days

If these rules are broken, anti-fraud body DGCCRF could investigate and large fines can be issued, up to €75,000 for an individual or €375,000 for a company (some recent fines are listed at this link).

The new rules were meant to complement previous legislation from last year which includes the requirement of explicit permission to continue a call and the use of specific numbers by companies when cold calling.

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

Consumer watchdogs in France argue that the regulations do not go far enough, and it seems this is true in your case as well.

Lists, aids and applications

You mention Bloctel – this is a free service that allows you to list up to ten personal phone numbers on which you do not want to receive marketing calls.

All subscriptions to Bloctel are now automatically renewed as opposed to an earlier system where you had to re-subscribe manually every three years.

You can double-check on your account that you have included all your numbers and that you have not accidentally unsubscribed from the service.

Note that any firms you already have a contract with are entitled to call to offer new services. Survey companies that have no profit-making motive can also call people freely. Another exception provided by law is companies selling newspapers and magazines.

Also, Bloctel only relates to calls from marketers, and there are some other avenues for other types of call, such as:

  • Making a report to Cnil, for calls that come from automated services or for calls aiming to obtain data from you for fraudulent purposes. In the latter case you can also make a report to the police or gendarmes.

  • For nuisance calls trying to sell you energy renovation schemes, you can flag them to SignalConso, a service of the DGCCRF

  • Where a number tries to get you to call back on a premium line you can pass the number on to the site

On top of this, your service provider (Free, Orange, SFR, Bouygues etc) may also provide free or paid services to limit the amount of cold calling to your home.

Some, such as Orange, offer land-line phones that have a built-in function that helps limit the number of cold calls a person receives.

Mobile phone service providers also often offer an app to help limit cold calls or you can download third-party apps from your phone’s store for this purpose.

Contact your service provider and ask them what specific tools they have available – or use your personal space on their website to see what they offer, such as signing up to a ‘red list’ to prevent your phone number from being issued to directories used by cold-calling companies.

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