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Stop unwanted marketing texts

Harriet Meyer / 08 May 2015

Keep getting SMS text messages from companies trying to sell you goods and services? We explain how to deal with unwanted marketing texts.

Receiving a text message on a mobile phone
Read the small print on forms to ensure you are not agreeing to receive marketing texts

Most of us have experienced the annoyance of finding marketing messages on our mobiles trying to sell us items, or flag the latest sale.

Unlike spam messages from rogue companies, these should at least give the name and details of the company concerned.

Unfortunately you’ll probably have provided your number at some stage to receive these, although this may have been unknowingly. For example, by failing to tick or untick a box on a form saying you want to opt out of any future marketing messages.

Your details may even have been passed to third parties, increasing the number of potential unwanted messages you get. However, there are ways to reduce the number received. Here are five tips.


1. Text ‘STOP’

Often a message will tell you to do this if you want to stop receiving texts. The company has to take note and remove you from lists for future marketing purposes.

Yet make sure it’s definitely a marketing message, and not one from a rogue claims or compensation firm, or you risk receiving more spam. 

Search for the company’s name on the internet to check that it is legitimate. Entering the number that texted you into a search engine could also help you distinguish between scams and marketing texts.


2. Contact the company

If your request to stop the messages is ignored, contact the company concerned. Ask to be removed from its database. You may find details on its website on how to do this, or if you’re really bothered it’s worth giving them a call.

Getting lots of nuisance calls? Find out how to beat them. 


3. Make an official complaint

If nothing works, consider complaining to the Information Commissioner. It has the power to force companies to stop bombarding consumers with messages, and can impose fines of up to £500,000. However, it’s power is usually aimed at unlawful firms.

You can check the ICO’s website for information on recent investigations before making a complaint.


4. Check the fine print

Anything you sign should give details of privacy policies and marketing opt-outs. Make sure to pay close attention, as these can be buried in the small print. You could inadvertently hand out your number to a range of companies without even realizing.

Worried about bogus callers? Read our tips on dealing with doorstep sellers and scammers. 


5. Don’t give your number out

All of us at some stage are asked for our contact details when filling in forms. Always ask yourself: is this really necessary?

Unless vital, avoid giving your number out to stores. It’s an easy mistake to make, and can snowball with details being passed from one company to another.

Being vigilant about when and where you give out your number should reduce the number of unwanted marketing texts received.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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