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UK Broadband Provider AAISP Traps Junk Callers in a Honey Pot

Posted: 12th Jul, 2010 By: MarkJ
aaisp ukBusiness ISP Andrews & Arnold ( AAISP ) has become so frustrated by unsolicited calls using auto-diallers and playing recorded marketing messages to their office phone lines, which is illegal because they have been registered under the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), that they have decided to get their own back by trapping any such calls with a recorded message.

Last week AAISP's Director, Adrian Kennard, reported that over the course of just 7 hours they had received more than 330 call attempts to numbers in their office DDI block alone from junk callers; approaching 1 call attempt per minute. Now just in case nobody knows the rule on this..

What is the The Telephone Preference Service?

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a free service. It is the official central opt out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls. It is a legal requirement that all organisations (including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties) do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS unless they have your consent to do so.

The original legislation was introduced in May 1999. It has subsequently been updated and now the relevant legislation is the Privacy and Electronic (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

Since last week AAISP has introduced a new system that redirects calls from withheld numbers to a "honey pot", which plays back a recorded message and has already resulted in some comical conversations (two samples can be found here). The message itself is designed to coax the unsolicited caller into staying on the line, while also educating them about the law, and thus tying them up for as long as possible.

AAISP's Director, Adrian Kennard, blogged:

"Just to clarify - this is currently only on our office DDI block. We have set up some numbers to go to a honey pot to trap junk callers, and only when we don't get a calling number. In 8 hours on Friday we recorded 66 calls to our offices. Thursday, before the honey pot was set up, in 8 hours we had 331 call attempts from withheld or unavailable to unused office numbers. It shows how much of a problem these junk calls are.

A&A customers can opt for normal ACR (anonymous call reject), more aggressive ACR (unavailable numbers too and a longer chargeable message), and honey pot mode (has a go at junk callers) on any A&A numbers. We believe A&A are the first and only mobile operator complying with the 2003 legal requirement to offer ACR to mobile users, and the service is included free of charge.

The 4 million numbers is the full UK geographic roll out we have going live shortly to sell to customers as our VoIP service. Only unallocated numbers that get calls from withheld/unavailable will go to the honey pot, and only then after a non-charged warning that it is an unallocated number. We don't want to inconvenience anyone that has genuinely mis-dialled."

Kennard notes that he has since sent the first hour's recording to the governments Information Commissioners Office (ICO) but has yet to receive a reply. We highly recommend listening to the sample recordings, which make for a good giggle :cheese:.
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