Anyone with a landline phone will at some point have had the misfortune of being disturbed by a cold call. And whilst some of us are adept at inventing amusing ways of responding to cold callers (or even making money from them), for other more vulnerable individuals it can become a source of anxiety and distress when persistently pestered by them.
Unwanted nuisance calls take many different forms, but more often than not come from international or withheld numbers. Below is a list of the most common types:
Types of cold calls
- Live marketing calls – is when someone calls to try and sell you something.
- Recorded message calls - is....you’ve guessed it... when you answer the phone to a recorded message.
- Silent/ Abandoned calls - occur when equipment is used that generates calls and no staff are available when the call is connected.
- Scam phone calls – each year millions of consumers fall victim to scams.
- Threatening/abusive calls - whether from people you know or from strangers are a criminal offence should be reported to the police
How to stop unwanted sales calls
Registering with the ‘Telephone Preference Service’ is a free and easy way to cut down on the number of live marketing calls you receive. Although it takes up to 28 days for the changes to come into effect, organisations are not allowed to call numbers that are registered with TPS.
Companies making recorded message calls must have your permission to do so, therefore, take a note of the organisation responsible and notify them by telephone, email, or letter that you no longer wish to receive these calls. If you have not given prior permission or the calls persist, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Earlier this year TalkTalk were fined by Ofcom for making an excessive number of abandoned and silent calls so if there is a problem, it is important to report it.
It is also worthwhile contacting your line provider, as they may be able to offer a variety of services aimed at stopping unwanted calls. BT for instance can provide ‘Anonymous Call Rejection’, ‘Choose to Refuse’ and ‘Privacy at Home’, and other providers offer similar services too. However, please note that charges may apply for these services; they can also result in some calls you might want to receive being blocked (such as from overseas).
The most recent digital cordless phones from BT such as the BT 4500, 6500 and 7600 offer in-built nuisance call blocking facilities, inviting users to take back control over the calls they receive by preventing calls from withheld and international numbers, which account for a large proportion of unwanted sales calls. Read our phone review of the BT 6500, or take a look at the models themselves and hear what our customers are saying:
And it’s not just BT that can help put an end to cold calls, the majority of high-quality DECT phones we recommend boast the facility to silence all but VIP assigned contacts (either all the time, or only at certain times of the day) so that you can enjoy peace of mind that when the phone rings it’s actually someone you want to hear from.
Regardless of whether looking for yourself or an elderly and/or vulnerable relative, whatever your circumstances, you can take action to put an end to nuisance calls.