There have been demands for the tightening of telemarketing rules in Norway and Sweden. Regulations in Denmark already require consumers' consent as a rule.
A report by Norway's National Institute for Consumer Research provides information on the current state of telemarketing and other advertising. According to the report (Telefonsalg og reklame - til nytte for forbrukeren?) 92% of Norwegians expressed negative attitudes towards telemarketing - higher than ever before.
One reason for Norwegians' poor opinion of telemarketing may be the fact that 84% of the 1.5 million Norwegians who have asked to be put on the do-not-call list have received calls anyway.
Legislation is being planned in Norway which would prohibit telemarketing unless consumers have given prior consent.
Denmark already has legislation that prohibits telemarketing without recipients' prior consent. The law does not cover books, magazine subscriptions or insurance, among other things.
Swedes are also becoming fed up with telemarketing excesses.
The Swedish Consumer Agency has proposed the amendment of provisions concerning telemarketing so that a binding contract would not exist until a consumer has confirmed an order in writing. There have also been calls for clearer provisions concerning the right to demand recorded phone conversations as evidence.
Telemarketing is not popular among Finns, either
In a recent survey that was conducted by Finland Post, two-thirds of consumers said they did not want to receive telemarketing. Respondents considered calls a nuisance and annoying.
The Finnish Consumer Agency has received numerous reports particularly about the telemarketing of magazines. Improper practices have also been used in the telemarketing of natural products and electricity contracts, for instance.
The Finnish Consumer Agency, the Finnish Direct Marketing Association and the Finnish Periodical Publishers' Association arranged a cooperation project to eliminate misleading promises of free issues, gifts or other prizes from telemarketers' spiels. Another goal was to avoid situations in which the customer and seller disagree about the duration of a subscription or whether a customer has in fact placed an order.
Problems have been significantly reduced in the past half year. Before the project, the Consumer Agency generally received several complaints a week concerning the telemarketing of magazines. We will continue to monitor the situation to see whether the positive trend continues.