BT has called for an end to doorstep selling to residential customers until stronger consumer safeguards are in place.
The call follows a new survey, which shows around three quarters of the British public found the sales tactic intrusive and irritating, with almost a fifth fearing for their personal safety.
Of two thousand adults questioned, 74 per cent said they found doorstep selling an unnecessary intrusion into their private lives while 78 per cent said it was irritating, with 68 per cent citing it as a growing problem that needed tighter controls.
The research, carried out for BT by ICM, also showed widespread distrust of salespeople, with more than two fifths (42 per cent) finding doorstep selling intimidating and nearly a fifth (17 per cent) feeling nervous or worried for their personal safety when approached on their doorstep.
Other findings included one in five (19 per cent) of salespeople not identifying themselves with an ID badge or a business card and more than a quarter (27 per cent) of consumers finding it difficult to say no or to close the door on the seller.
The findings come as BT publishes its own Code of Practice on Sales and Marketing and issues a call to regulator Ofcom and the industry for stricter industry guidelines, providing greater security for consumers on doorstep selling.
BT will be backing up this call with a campaign to aid consumers, warning them of the dangers of buying on the doorstep and issuing them with stickers to ward off 'doorsteppers'.
And it is urging the telecoms industry to follow strict codes of practice to prevent abuse of doorstep selling of telephone services.