Scams and how to avoid them

Cold Calling Control Zones (CCCZ) FAQ's

Do we need a Cold Calling Control Zone?

For a Cold Calling Control Zone  (CCCZ) to be considered, there needs to be substantial evidence to prove there is an issue with doorstep crime, rogue traders or pushy sales people within the area.

If such activity is causing residents to feel unsafe and intimidated in their homes, or just frustrated at the inconvenience callers are causing, then a zone may be the answer.

What is the average size of a zone?

Each zone is individual and can range anywhere from 10 houses to 5000 houses, depending on the extremity of the problem, funding available and also partners involved.

Is Cold Calling Illegal?

Cold calling is not illegal, however, anyone who does cold call and offers to sell you goods or services that cost more than £35 is required to provide you with a written notice giving you 7 days in which to cancel. If this notice is not provided the contract for the goods or services will not be enforceable meaning you will not have to pay even if goods have been provided or work has been carried out. Anyone who fails to give this notice will also be committing a criminal offence, which Trading Standards will investigate.

What sort of people is the zone designed to prevent calling?

The zone is primarily designed to reduce instances of doorstep crime and distraction burglary and therefore the primary purpose is to prevent rogue traders. However, the zone is there to stop any unwanted cold callers and to empower residents to have confidence to deter callers away who they do not wish to deal with.

How do businesses know they are operating in a  Cold Calling Control Zones (CCCZ)?

Street signs are erected at different locations in the area on lampposts to alert potential callers that they are in a no cold calling zone. Residents are all provided with stickers to display in their windows to make callers aware that the area is a Cold Calling Control Zone (CCCZ)and that the resident will not deal with them.

Can I refuse someone entry to my home?

Yes, absolutely. You are under no obligation to allow anyone to enter your home and can refuse access. You should never allow anyone access to your home unless you are able to verify their authenticity and confirm that they have a valid reason for being there. Legitimate callers will not mind being challenged and will expect you to ask them for identification and want to check that it is genuine.

How can I check whether a caller is genuine & has a legitimate reason for calling at my property?

Very few people will actually have a legitimate reason for turning up at your home unannounced and without an appointment. However, on rare occasions some legitimate callers may call at your home.

The most likely people to visit your home unannounced are utility companies attending your property to read a meter. Most of these companies operate a password scheme allowing you to register a password. Once you have registered your password, any caller from the company should be asked to provide the password before being given access to your property. If they cannot provide the password they are not from the utility company and should be told to leave. You should be able to find the details for registering a password on utility bills, if you cannot find the details call the customer service number and ask about their password scheme.

Can politicians call when canvassing?

The zones are not designed to prevent politicians from canvassing for elections, however, residents are under no obligation to speak to anyone at the door and canvassers are encouraged to respect residents’ wishes.

Can religious groups call?

As with politicians the zones are not designed to stop religious groups from calling. However, residents are under no obligation to speak to anyone at the door and religious groups are encouraged to respect residents’ wishes.

Can charity collectors call?

The zones do not seek to prevent legitimate charity collections, however, we would expect charity collectors be able to satisfactorily identify themselves.

Some charities ask for donations to be left for collection; usually they will leave a bag or a leaflet and then return to collect items. If you get requests like this you should always read the details provided, as not all collectors that collect in this way are acting for charitable purposes; sometimes you will find the collector is a business collecting items to sell for profit and they will include a company registration number on their paperwork as opposed to a charity registration number.

How can I find out if the charity calling is genuine?

All charities are required to be registered with the Charity Commission. You cannot claim to be a charity if you are not registered. Some organisations that carry out collections are not charities but businesses collecting clothing or other goods to sell for profit. To check whether an organisation is a registered charity you should contact the Charity Commission on 0845 3000 218 or visit the Charity Commission Website.

What can be done if someone does cold call in a  Cold Calling Control Zone (CCCZ))?

It is not illegal to cold call, even in a  Cold Calling Control Zone (CCCZ). However, in a No Cold Calling Zone the residents have made a decision that they do not want cold callers.

If  Kent Trading Standards receive reports of businesses cold calling in a zone, they will contact them, making them aware the area is a Cold Calling Control Zone (CCCZ) and ask them to refrain from cold calling on residents in that area again.