call centre atmosphere Picture: Paballo Thekiso

Most of us resent getting surprise calls from telesales agents, but it can’t be much fun being the person who makes the “nuisance” call.

I received an unusual e-mail this week from a telesales agent who’s currently making calls on behalf of a major retailer, flogging insurance products, as they do.

“We have to call people who have refused an insurance product, as well as those who have bought one, and may buy another,” she said.

“We mainly work from 9am to 6pm Monday to Thursday and from 9am to 4pm on Fridays.

“Every alternate week we work an 8am to 8pm shift on a Thursday, and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

“Are these permissible hours to be making contact with consumers in terms of the law?

“Telesales calls are known to be bothersome to the average person, but I can’t help feeling that somehow this company has crossed the line.”

Actually, while those morning, evening and Saturday calls may seem particularly intrusive to many, they’re perfectly legal.

The Consumer Protection Act allows direct marketers to contact consumers at the following times:

* From 8am to 8pm on weekdays.

* From 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

But not at all on Sundays and public holidays.