Improper canvassing: this retiree has decided to waste time on those who call him

Georges Briand, retired from La Richardais, noted all the numbers from which undesirable commercial solicitations or attempted scams came. 1,700 in total since May 2019! © Photo Matthieu Baron

Facing abusive telephone canvassing, there are those who, weary of the struggle, have completely unplugged their landline telephone. There are those who let it ring. Those who filter by hours and by numbers. And there are those who cling to their landline because they have no other way to be called by their loved ones.

Georges Briand, for example, does not have a cell phone or an e-mail address. So this retiree from La Richardais, near Dinard (Ille-et-Vilaine), always answers when he hears his phone ring. But he started, in his funny way, the fight against this undesirable canvassing. “We are harassed! “, he gets annoyed.

Numbers of all kinds

In May 2019, Georges Briand began to note all the numbers from which real commercial solicitations or attempted scams came. In just under three and a half years, he has identified no less than 1,700! Which represents one to two calls per day. Numbers in 06, 04, 02, 09…

A list that he decided to send to the deputy of Saint-Malo, Jean-Luc Bourgeaux, before being debated, on October 6 in the National Assembly, a bill aimed at better regulating, or even prohibiting telephone canvassing at least as far as the CPF is concerned, the famous Personal training account.

A tighter framework

To hope to escape the incessant calls from canvassers, there is the Bloctel list, on which you can register your phone number(s) for free, thus formalizing your refusal to be the target of these solicitations. Published in January 2022, a decree requires prospectors to have obtained the prior consent of the person canvassed before being able to make a commercial proposal, but this only concerns the field of insurance. In addition, at the beginning of September, Arcep, the communications regulatory authority, announced that automatic call platforms for commercial purposes will only have to use numbers in 09, including for SMS. Finally, on October 6, the National Assembly will debate a bill aimed at prohibiting canvassing relating to the personal training account. Telephone canvassing today takes many forms: calls, SMS and voice spam. These calls do not allow time to pick up or are interrupted on purpose to encourage them to call the number again. If you receive any, you must transfer them by text message to 33700, a platform for combating voice and SMS spam.

He claims to sell drugs

Georges Briand got those kinds of phone calls, of course. “I replied that I was interested in doing a training, that I was a salesperson… That I crossed Spain to Algeciras and then went to get supplies in Marrakech. That I was selling drugs, what. So, of course, it hangs up…”

He takes his interlocutors at their word and plays the game. Drives them crazy through dialogues like this: – “You’ve already called me, I believe? “, he begins. – ” No, I do not think so. – “Yes, yes, a certain Sarah. » – « No, there is no Sarah here. » – « Yes, her name is Sarah Croche. »

Some laugh about it, some don’t. So it can end in insults… or even threats such as, “we know where you live”, “we will come and see you”.

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“I reverse the situation”

The retiree from La Richardais, who judges all these intrusive calls, says in any case that by wasting time to his unfortunate correspondents. “I save other people from being bothered. So it can last.

Sometimes I’m the one asking questions, I reverse the situation…

He does not hesitate to move the canvassers more insistent, “but I leave them outside”. “Once, someone asked me if I liked Italian products… I said yes. They wanted to deliver a package to me. I gave a wrong address in Combourg. Failing to find me, the package went back to Italy. They sent him back to me, he went back to Italy. They sent it back to me a third time and this time La Poste ended up calling me to find out what the problem was. The package has definitely left. »

It also happens that the pensioner is called to invite him to restaurants from Dinard, Granville or Saint-Malo. Objective: “Sell me mattresses, trips… with no obligation to buy, of course. »

“In that case, I tell them to send me the invitation by mail. When they call me back to ask me if I received it, I tell them no. Another shot from La Poste. I announce that I will come with five people and on the appointed day, I don’t come. »

Quarter to midnight

Insulation at 1€, mutual insurance, mattresses, solar panels, heat pump, clairvoyance, numerology… Georges Briand was treated to the full range of fashionable solicitations. Including to gift offers supposedly worth hundreds of euros. “I was then given a special code, a privilege code, to give by calling a number myself. “A premium rate number, of course…

Georges Briand has not really noticed any improvement since the law of July 24, 2020, which regulates canvassing a little more closely.

When I talk to them about this law, they tell me that their intention is not to sell me anything, but to inform me!

There are fewer calls on Sundays, but they occur at any hour of the day. The latest, “it was a quarter to midnight, it came from Mauritius”. For once, this did not make Georges Briand laugh at all:

“I jumped like anyone would have jumped in my place. I was afraid something happened to my two daughters. »

The pensioner, who hopes for a much stronger supervision of cold calling, also rebels “against these companies, often abroad, which have no complex in exploiting these people to harass us”.

Let’s admit that we would not at all like to be in the place of those who fall on him…

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Improper canvassing: this retiree has decided to waste time on those who call him

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