BT have recently launched their new version of the 6500 handset – featuring the ability to block up to 80% of unwanted sales and silent calls.
The handset has been developed in response to BT’s ongoing concern for customers who experience high volumes of this type of call. BT representatives say that on a monthly basis they receive an average of 50,000 calls seeking assistance via their nuisance calls enquiry line.
This is borne out by recent research from Ofcom. Figures published in the firm’s Consumer Experience Report for 2012 show that 71%of UK residents experience unwanted sales calls. The number of people who receive silent calls has risen by 47% since the previous year, whilst 68% of survey participants have experienced unsolicited recorded messages on a regular basis.
BT states that part of the problem is a new trend for using withheld or international numbers to make sales calls. PPI claims firms in particular have adopted the practice as part of their marketing strategy – since these types of numbers are beyond the remit of the Telephone Preference Service. This means that even consumers who are registered with the TPS are vulnerable to a new generation of nuisance calls.
The new BT 6500 tackles the issue by blocking all calls from international numbers as well as withheld numbers. Users can also choose and configure up to 10 specific UK numbers to be automatically blocked.
Blocked calls are diverted to a voicemail service to ensure that genuine messages can be safely picked up. The model also features parental controls that can prevent outgoing calls to premium rate numbers, and a VIP numbers list that ensures priority numbers can override the “do not disturb” function so that important calls are always received.
BT is offering the new 6500 at a recommended retail price of £69.99 for a single handset or £129.99 for a set of four. However a number of retailers are already capitalising on the potential of the new model to address a common problem by offering discounted rates on the BT 6500 to online customers.