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November 2010

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LBM Direct Marketing Ltd - Nuisance Calls

 LBM Direct Marketing Ltd 1st July 2006, Updated 3rd November 2010

This page is about LBM Direct Marketing - if you are reading it, then you have probably been received a call from them and wondering what it is about.

The calls that you receive from LBM are either direct sales calls or customer service calls (for example, O2 and Vodafone use their services). Sales calls are regulated in several ways, and if you want them to stop then there is something you can do to stop them calling you.

Since I started tracking LBM in 2006, they do seem to have gotten a lot better. I've seen substantially less complaints and less traffic about the company during 2009 and 2010, so perhaps this is a sign of better practice. Certainly the number of complaints about silent phone calls has dropped significantly, and back in 2007 or so this was the main complaint.

One plea though - even though these calls can be annoying, it's not usually the fault of the person making the call. Call centre work can be soul destroying, and being polite might just get them to leave you alone!

LBM: Background

Many UK mobile phone and landline subscribers have reported apparently unsolicited phone calls from the following numbers:

  • 08000641081 (0800 0641081)
  • 08000641087 (0800 0641087) [LBM calling as "O2"]
  • 08000641699 (0800 0641699) [LBM calling as "Business Solutions from the Carphone Warehouse"]
  • 08000649955 (0800 0649955) [LBM calling as "American Life"]
  • 08000510660 (0800 0510660)
  • 08000136662 (0800 0136662)
  • 08000136670 (0800 0136670) [LBM calling as "Sky"]
  • 08000136671 (0800 0136671) [LBM calling as "O2"]
  • 08000136672 (0800 0136672) [LBM calling as "Business Solutions from the Carphone Warehouse"]
  • 08000136673 (0800 0136673) [LBM calling as "Alliance and Leicester Bank"]
  • 08000136674 (0800 0136674) [LBM calling as "American Life"]
  • 08000136675 (0800 0136675)
  • 08009524854 (0800 9524854) [LBM calling as "Orange"]
  • 02070549003 (0207 0549003)
  • 01616032400 (0161 603 2400)
  • 01612178400 (0161 217 8400)
  • 01616030000 (0161 603 0000)

Sometimes the characteristics of these calls can be that phone rings a few times and then stops, or the line goes dead when the person receiving the call picks up. It used to be the case that several calls would be received in quick succession, although this problem seems to be less now.

If you dial one of the number back you get a message similar to the following: Welcome and thank you for you call. Today you have been contacted by LBM on behalf of one of our clients. If you do wish to receive a follow up call, no further action is required. If you do not wish to receive a follow up call, please call our lo-call number. The call will be charged at the same rate as a local call. Please have a pen and paper ready to take the number. The number is [varies]. Thank you. Goodbye.

Update 13/10/06: After three-and-a-half months of complaints generated by visitors to this site, LBM have finally started to use an 0800 freephone number so that you can "opt out" of their spam calls: 08000 136675 [08000136675].. but it's only free if you call from a landline, not a mobile phone!

Update 19/4/07: according to the DMA (LBM's trade body) they got their wrists slapped back in February 2007 after a number of complaints:

    Following a number of complaints relating to silent calls and the cost to the consumer to unsubscribe from receiving unwanted calls, members of the Authority Panel met with LBM in January this year.   The Panel were concerned about the level of complaints and also considered LBM to have breached the Code of Practice on Clause 21.27 which states that consumers must be given details of a no charge number that the recipient can contact so that they have possibility of declining further calls.  The Panel has, however, noted that LBM has rectified its breach and has changed the 0845 call suppression number to an 0800 free number.  The Panel has asked for additional information to be sent to them for further consideration, including their compliance dialler report, OFCOM and DMA compliance training module and hourly drop rate report. 

LBM is a real company, based in Cheshire. You can see their website here. They claim to have many prestigious clients, so it is perhaps rather a surprise to find them acting in such a manner.

There are some reports that indicate that LBM have not always honoured the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) opt-out service and call TPS subscribers anyway, although this seems less of a problem now.

When you are called by LBM (from one of their 4 call centres), you will often be talking to somebody who will often claim to work for Sky, O2 or another client. Sometimes they are actually working for LBM, sometimes they might actually be working for or directly contracted to another company. Data either comes from the client or is "bought in" from another source - LBM claim to check the data with TPS, but people have emailed us to say that they have been called on TPS registered numbers regardless.

Even though LBM visit this web page several times a day, they have declined to comment, although several ex-employees have.


Updates and Emails

We've received an awful lot of email messages with regards to LBM, a few are present below. Not all of them are negative, some people are strongly defensive of the work that LBM call centres do and we have to agree that they are not all bad. You can see some of our correspondence on the following pages:

Update: 11/1/08: We have received a LOT of insider emails from LBM, not all of which we have published. This particularly detailed one shows both sides of the story, and suggests ways of POLITELY dealing with the pour souls who actually work for LBM in such a way that you might be free of them forever.

    I am a former employee of LBM, I felt it is my duty to expose the secrets of this organisation in this e-mail, I hope you can learn from me writing this what a joke LBM is of a company...Do not fall into their trap and work for them, like a idiot i did, i stayed there for 8 weeks before i saw the Iceberg and left, I did it strictly for the money. So please read on, i'll explain what its like inside hell!!!

    I actually don't know where to begin, a very well constructed website i must admit about you the public on the other end of the annoying 'COLD' Calling LBM.  I wish my identity to remain annom if thats ok,(simply because i don't want to dig up any old trouble i had with LBM when i left their cruddy,low life organisation this year).

    I graduated from university and when looking for work i was surprised to see so many jobs in the telemarketing world of employment, it was only untill i registered my details with a famous job search engine was it then, i first came across...LBM!

    They seemed to have a nice looking website and offered me a job interview the very next day...I had built up quite a lot of debt at university and needed a job as soon as to repay everything.  The website offered (which i know NOW as a lie) a top line sales positions with unlimited bonuses and other perks that would make LBM the very best choice for a career!

    I got the job, (very easy getting a job at LBM, they'd employ trained monkeys... if they could talk!)  I also had a brand spanking new degree and a CV as long as my arm to show off too, I got the Job working at the branch in Bredbury, they have other branches i've heard too.

    What i found very creepy is that inside the LBM complex is the layout of the call centre...wall to wall, shoulder to shoulder, line upon line of workers, it looked like how chickens are kept in battery pens, or the factory days where workers would work long hours for little pay...LBM WAS AND IS NO DIFFERENT!!!

    Our team was given the VERY and HIGHLY un-necessary training that lasted 3 weeks....(I'M NOT saying that training was un-required, but the 3, YES three weeks of being told how to bully, YES bully people into buying a mobile phone, was indeed not required....The sales team rules were, to be ruthless in any way means possible to sell as much of 02 telecommunications products as possible!!!

    I think at this point it is only fair for me to explain how and why YOU, yes, YOU the reading public get calls from this company...but when you pick up the phone, there is no-one on the end of the line....BE WARNED there is!!!  

    What happens is the 'dialer' the mainframe computer sends out calls (ICE, FREEZING COLD CALLS) to the computer one is working at, the person answers, you say 'Hello'....then it becomes interesting....because if the computer is not in complete sinc with the connected telephone call, the person gets 'DEAD AIR'....ALSO i might add alot of the time, from what i saw is that the LBM workers would chat among themselves and wouldn't be bothered to talk to you, because they were having there own conversations and whilst YOU are saying 'Hello, hello???' The LBM have you on secrecy and doing their own thing, Not the job in hand, i'll think you agree?!

    We were told to disguise the identity of LBM by calling ourselves 02 direct or 02 Manchester head office, anything really as long as it sounded professional and would hide the fact you were being cold called from a shoddy shack of a building in Bredbury.  

    It was bad even on that front. I was told whilst working there, that if i sold more 02 products, ie contract phones, i would get so called 'bonus' for me doing so, YEAH RIGHT!!!  If one worked there for some stupid length of time you 'might' get some sort of 'bonus!'

    But this paragraph is what you the reader is waiting for....yes i COULD go on and on about the working hours and how that 20min for lunch was poor and 2, 5min breaks in the day to nip for a quick smoke around the back in a overcrowded smoking shelter was poor conduct comming from such a 'top company?!'....But here's how to make them STOP calling you...

    1)Never ever ever hang up on a call from LBM...BIG BIG BIG NO NO!!! reason? - the employer will place you on a priority to pester you...meaning....Your call goes back into the system!!!

    2)The computer is  only doing its job...simple!!! It IS the worker of LBM who is told to cold call you, that means every call that the computer makes, it has to be met with a response of options after a call to you has been made....

    there are a few options 1)call back

                                    2)Not interested

                                    3) and so on and so on.........

    THE OPTION TO REMOVE YOU PERMANENTLY IS THE OPTION

    ********************* SUPPRESS FROM DATA BASE***************************

    This is the only way your details will go in the bin...YOU have to request that option....If everyone said that sentence in that exact order, LBM would have NO data to bother you with

    3) Rule 3 - play ball for around 2mins....reason....the staff at LBM have very, very short tempers, don't give them ammo to challenge you to a confrontation on the phone...they love having battles with the customers, they called it 'sport!'........When they ask you about your mobile phone, LIE!!!....REASON???....If we couldn't better your current mobile phone tariff...whats the point in trying to make you change networks to 02??? NONE!!!

    THIS IS THE CORRECT WAY TO SURVIVE AN LBM CONVERSATION SO GOD HELP YOU!

    *********************FOR EXAMPLE*******************************

    RING RING, RING RING, RING RING!!! (You pick up) "Hello?"......

     ....."Yeah hello, i'm calling you today from 02 today direct from manchester, how are you today, you alright?!"

     ....(YOU SAY, BEING NICE AS POSSIBLE)....."I'm fine, what can i do for you?"

     THEY SAY......."Do you use a mobile phone at the moment? Its just that we have some amazing offers today that are better than the high street, can i ask you first Sir/madam....which network are you on????

     (AT this point of the conversation, remain calm, don't get angry or cocky with the person on the other end of the line...it WILL make matters worst!!...you won't see the back of them that way...ever....we were trained, remember to be like the Terminator....relentless, we wouldn't feel pity for you, remorse or fear, and we would absolutely would not stop, EVER...untill you bought from us!!!!)

     At this point be aware that you have just picked a cold call, your involved now,DON'T HANG UP!!!  INSTEAD SAY......

     ....."I'm with (choose one of these...VODAFONE,ORANGE,3,T-MOBILE, ANY of them, DON'T LIE AND SAY 02 Already....we would only quiz you on which tariff are you on? And if you don't know that, we've backed you into a corner, exactly where a salesman wants you!)....Say, (for example) VODAFONE....

     .....LBM WILL reply....."Do you like the offer your getting with Vodafone?"

     YOU SAY.....YES, YOU CAN LIE NOW...SAY....."I'm on for £10 a month 2000 mins and unlimited texts....(sounds too good to be true, yes?...Make it up or have a pre written script on what your going to say when the creeps at LBM ring you up bothering you.)

     .....LBM WILL NOW SAY....."Oh right, that sounds amazing, HOW did you manage that?"

     ....You say...."I've been a loyal servant of VODAFONE for 10 years now and considered one of there loyalist members, so I COMMAND what i pay and they reward me by giving me an amazing offer!!!!"

     .....LBM, At this point will be looking defeat DEAD in the face!!!...they have lost you now, they will try a few more tricks, all YOU have to do is to remain calm, repeat...I'M NOT INTERESTED MATE, remember though to be nice, YOU want your details removing don't you???

     *****************NOW THE EASY PART TO BE FREE FROM LBM*****************

     ........"Can YOU please, suppress my details from your data base please, as you can see it is pointless in calling me, i'm sorry for wasting your time, it must be hard working in a call centre???

     *************THE SPELL IS BROKEN...YOU A FREE MAN/WOMEN!!!***************

     LBM 0 - YOU 10!!!

     I really hope that all this helps you, the public.

     I hope this gets onto the web, as it has taken me a long time to type it.

     I used to be on the dark side, i am now a Jedi and i hate the scourge of LBM too.

     Lets hope in a not so distant future, the company gets dismantled.

     

 Update 18/9/06:  "H" contacted the Direct Marketing Association  with the following complaint:

    I would like to register a complaint against LBM Direct Marketing Ltd.  They make persistent nuisance calls, and, contrary to section 21.27 of the Direct Marketing Code of Practice, they do not give a no charge number to call to decline further calls from the company.

    They make the call – which either rings only for a couple of rings, or you answer and there is apparently no-one the other end – from this number: 0800 064 1081.  If you call it back, you are faced with this recorded message:

    “Welcome and thank you for your call. Today you have been contacted by LBM on behalf of one of our clients. If you do wish to receive a follow-up call, no further action is required.  If you do not wish to receive a follow-up call, please call our lo-call number, the call will be charged at the same rate as a local call.  Please have a pen and paper ready to take the number. The number is 0845 045 4455.  Thank you.  Goodbye.”

    I hope you are able to take action to stop LBM Direct Marketing Ltd from annoying anyone else.  I have joined the Telephone Preference Service in an attempt to avoid any further such calls.

She received a communication back from LBM that stated the following:

    Please accept our sincere apologies for the delay in responding to your complaint.

    Further to your complaint, this issue was raised to LBM senior management team. In our efforts to improve the quality of our business and customer experience we have re-engineered our business process and we are currently in the process of changing 0845 (basis charge number) to 0800 (no charge) number.

    To avoid any future calls to your number 07**********, it has been added our do not call list.

Thanks to "H" for getting some sort of result from LBM!

 

Update 1/9/06: "M" is an ex-telemarketer who's comments are very interesting:

    I received a call this morning from 0800 0641081 at 11:11, whilst sat at my desk at work, i only discovered the missed call at 11:46. I immediately Googled it, which has become common practice recently whenever I receive an 08*** number on my mobile.

    I've read your dedicated website. I'm glad its there. I agreed with the opinion held in the 25/08/2006 update, initially.  When I'd finished reading it I thought the website might be a little biased, and that maybe we might have misjudged LBM after a few bad eggs/circumstancial incidents, as I used to work in a similar call centre many years ago after leaving school. At this point I checked my phone a little closer and noticed the call duration of the missed call was set at 00.00 minutes. Which confirmed the opening paragraphs of your web page. Which annoyed me and now I'm confident of what LBM are blatently doing, it's obvious they've got some bloody server computer attached to a DDI-30 Telephone Line adapter constantly dialling out a list of numbers. It's pathetic and i'm calling for a complete ban on this behaviour. It is exactly what the web page says it is - 'telephone spamming', and the Boulder Pledge should be applied to the spammers and the companies who hire the spammers.

    There's no code of conduct at all.

 

Update 25/8/06: sometimes companies contract out customer service calls to LBM, and the following email demonstrates that not everything they do is a nuisance (thanks "J"):

    I have just got a new mobile phone from Vodafone (the contract started only yesterday) and I had left it on but in another part of my house. When I retuned to my desk I noticed that I had a missed call from 0800 064 1081. I did a Google search of the number and found your website.

    Just as I was reading all about LBM on your website, my phone rang and I noticed that it was the same 0800 number. The caller was female and she introduced herself as working for Vodafone. Based on what I had read on your website I challenged her and asked whether she actually worked for LBM. Straightaway she said that she did and that they were contracted to call new Vodafone customers on Vodafone's behalf to check that everything was OK with the new phone and to make sure that I was aware of the monthly package that I had signed up to. 

    I thought that I should just let you know that I very much welcomed this call from LBM on Vodafone's behalf. The woman I spoke to was very helpful and upfront, and she was really quite knowledgeable about a lot of Vodafone's services, such as online itemised billing for free over the Internet, which I wasn't previously aware of. She also reassured me that I could change my phone within the next 14 days if I wasn't totally happy with it. 

    So, far from being pestered by this call (as I thought that I might be) I  was actually pleased to receive it. I realise from reading your site that others have not had equally helpful experiences. However, I thought that you would appreciate hearing my own personal experience of LBM this afternoon - perhaps they are not all bad!


Have you been pestered by these calls? If so, send us an email and we can share your experience (we'll remove any identifying personal information, of course!) [Alternatively, email dynamoo@spamcop.net with the subject LBM]

What you can do about unwanted calls from LBM Direct Marketing.

First of all.. the call might not be as unsolicited as you think. The call could well be a customer services call from someone you already have a relationship with. Have you bought a new mobile phone or financial product recently? These calls could well be about that.

If you simply want to opt out, you can try emailing enquiries@lbm.co.uk , or if you want to complain in person you can ring 0161 616 0776 which is their complaints department, or freephone 0800 0136675.

You can complain in writing (or by fax) to:

    LBM Direct Marketing Ltd
    LBM House Atlantic Street
    Altricham,
    Cheshire WA14 5FY
    UK

    Telephone: 0161 929 5799
    Fax: 0161 929 4983
    Company No. 02714607

Register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) - the TPS site also has some useful further information about how to deal with this kind of call. Businesses can register with the Corporate TPS in a similar way. If you are registered with TPS and you still receive unwanted calls, you can complain to the Information Commissioner.

Several visitors have recommended contacting the BBC's Watchdog programme to alert them to the scale of this problem, although as of 2010 we think that LBM have improved from their miserable standards of a few years ago.

In general, if you are receiving nuisance calls from any company then you could file a complaint with Ofcom quoting the company details along with the numbers that called you and the date and time of the calls. If an company is making large numbers of silent calls then that is not lawful.

LBM Direct Marketing Ltd and many other marketers are members of the Direct Marketing Association which is a trade body, funded by the marketers themselves. They claim to have a strict code of conduct, and if you wish you can complain here.

Since this page went live we have received a very large number of hits looking up the numbers that unsolicited calls have been made from. Many of these have been from outside the UK. As roaming charges are quite expensive, this means that recipients of calls may have had to pay a considerable amount just to receive calls. In these cases, you should contact LBM and ask them for a refund - if the loss has been significant then consider using the Small Claims Court to recover the money (you can do this online).

Or, if you are feeling mischievous try this trick sent in by one of our visitors called the "getting a pen" gag. Explain that you need to get something to write with, put the phone on speaker and then wander off and see how long the person on the other end will wait for.

 


 

Have you been pestered by these calls? If so, send us an email and we can share your experience (we'll remove any identifying personal information, of course!) [Alternatively, email dynamoo@spamcop.net with the subject LBM]

 

 Subj: Shopping and Services

 

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