A company calls you with a "great offer", a charity asks you by telephone to donate again, an annoying ex keeps calling you, you just get a phone call from a distant country or an anonymous number keeps your phone line busy. Unwanted calls can look in many different ways. These are common variants and that's how you deal with them.
If you are not waiting for the above situations, you are not the only one. In April, a survey by research firm Kantar showed that a vast majority (at least 84 percent) of Dutch people are not waiting for phone calls from, for example, energy suppliers, publishers, insurers, telecom providers or lotteries who want to sell you something. Even if they are already customers.
- Register with the Bel-me-niet Register. Companies may not call you if you have not given permission or are not a customer.
- Be careful with your telephone number: don't just share it with every company or organization, during competitions, in your e-mail signature, in online forms or other public places.
- Block numbers from people bothering you. This is possible in the settings of your smartphone.
Companies and organizations try to sell you something
With a free registration in the Bel-me-niet Register you can partly prevent companies or organizations from calling you with the purpose of selling something. After registration, organizations are obliged to check whether your telephone number is in the register.
The Bel-me-not Register is intended for consumers. Both a fixed telephone line and mobile number can be added. Entrepreneurs who are self-employed or associates, for example, can also register their (business) telephone number with the register.
Incidentally, the register is not watertight: companies can ignore the law and there are exceptions that still allow you to be called. An amendment to the law must improve the situation. The government wants companies to, for example, only be allowed to call if a consumer has given explicit permission for this.
State Secretary Mona Keijzer of Economic Affairs expects to submit the bill to the House of Representatives within six months. The change can take effect after approval from the parliament.
See also: Said yes to a contract and now sorry? You can do this
I am registered with the Bel-me-niet Register, but still receive a call
In some cases you can. For example if you are (have been) a customer of the company, but also if you have given permission. In these cases you cannot fall back on your entry in the register.
Does this situation not apply, but are you still being called despite your registration? Then turn the conversation around and interrogate the person on the other end of the line. To rule out any misunderstanding, you can ask on what basis you will be called. You can then ask for more information.
Ask not only on behalf of which company you receive an offer, but also ask what the name of the company is calling you. Sometimes telemarketing organizations use intermediary companies that make the calls.
Record as much information as possible. Make it clear to the marketer that you are doing this. That way you can emphasize that you really do not appreciate the call. You also have the information at hand to possibly submit a complaint to the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM).
Someone is bothering me and uses an anonymous number
You cannot block an anonymous number, but there are other ways to prevent these unwanted calls. The most logical thing is to call in the help of your provider if you are continuously called anonymously and suspect that one person is harassing you. Contact customer service and ask what steps you should take.
In the latest versions of the mobile operating systems, Android 10 and iOS 13, there is also a setting to filter calls from unknown numbers. That way you can automatically send incoming calls from phone numbers you don't know to your voicemail.
This is how you enable a filter for unknown numbers:
- Android 10: Open the Phone app> Go to settings via the three dots> Select 'Blocked' and make your choice under 'Rules for call blocking'.
- iOS 13: Open the Settings app> Go to Phone and activate 'Stop unknown callers'.
Unwanted marketing after registration at the Chamber of Commerce
Because a registration with the Chamber of Commerce (KVK) ends up in the public Trade Register, companies can collect telephone numbers to make commercial offers to entrepreneurs. Anyone who registers at the Chamber of Commerce can indicate that they do not want to receive any advertising. But this arrangement only applies to mail and not to telephone calls.
In addition to registering with the Bel-me-niet Register (for sole traders), entrepreneurs can limit the damage by arranging a business telephone number and using it when registering for the Chamber of Commerce. That way your private number will remain private.
It is not mandatory to actually use this same number for communication with your customers. You can therefore use an (unused) SIM card and an old mobile phone to prevent your number from ending up on the street.
Called by an unknown number from abroad
Every now and then in the Netherlands there is a peak of unknown calls from abroad. People are called on a large scale from faraway places, such as Algeria or Somalia. This is wangirifraud. The term comes from Japan and means as much as 'ringing once and then hanging'.
That is precisely the tactic used by the fraudsters behind these calls. By hanging up quickly, they hope to have aroused your curiosity so that you call back. If you do that, you will hear advertisements, for example. In this way the scammers earn money, and you are left behind with an expensive telephone bill.
See also: Expensive fraud telephone calls from abroad: you can do this against it