Last year 5,400 complaints were filed in connection with fraudulent telephone sales and collection agencies. Often the firms are based abroad. Fortunately, there is now a website where you can check to see whether the company has been involved in fraud before.
Leen Desmedt of the European Consumer Centre: "Many consumers relate how they are contacted in an extremely aggressive way by telephone and how often attractive, but misleading proposals are made. You are given something free of charge or you have won something. More and more you are offered an advantage in connection with a separate online purchase."
"Consumers are confronted with a voice log, it's a recording of an earlier telephone conversation, in which the consumer gives his or her email address. They are then requested to answer "yes" to all questions."
"This isn't sufficient as a proof of purchase, but later an aggressive collection agency will call you and threaten you with a bailiff. People are told: ‘Somebody will be at your door tomorrow and we will get our money’”.
Often the calls originate from the Netherlands and are heavily accented. Leen Desmedt of the European Consumer Centre: "These are very misleading practices, fraudulent sometimes, but it's a grey zone. Sometimes people are enticed into a trap because they often don't dare to say "No"."