Everyone hates marketing calls. While we’ve got every sympathy for the poor sods that have to make them for a living, that doesn’t make getting calls about an accident you’ve never been in any way fun.
Luckily, there’s a number of ways to deal with them. There aren’t any completely foolproof solutions, but there are several things you can do that will greatly minimise the number of spam calls you’ll receive.
In addition to taking matters into your own hands, Ofcom along with the Telephone Preference Service and BT are examining how unknown and international numbers can be traced, which should have a great impact on the number of annoying calls UK citizens receive.
What can I do about spam and nuisance calls?
- Make your own blocklist
- Register with the TPS (Telephone Preference Service)
- Buy one of BT’s 6500, 7600 and 4000 phones
- Buy a CPR Call Blocker
- Join TrueCall Community Blocking
- Take your landline calls from BT or TalkTalk
- Set up a premium rate number
Make your own blocklist
Every time you get a call on your mobile and it’s from a marketing agency that’s not withheld its number, save that number to your address book and name that contact something like ‘Do not answer’, ‘marketing guys’ or something less charitable like in the example above.
Register with the TPS (Telephone Preference Service)
The TPS is a register of landline numbers that’s free to join. Telemarketing companies are forbidden from calling numbers that are on the TPS and harsh fines can be imposed for those who ignore this.
Registering with the TPS might not stop unscrupulous organisations from bothering you. Companies who repeatedly break the rules will have to pay fines several thousands of pounds.
There are several companies which offer a similar, almost identical service for a fee, while the TPS costs you precisley £0.00.
Pick up a spam-slaying phone like a BT 6500, 7600, 4000 or 4500
BT has launched a series of landline phones designed specifically to cut down on the number of spam calls you get. These phones also come with a block button, making it easy for you to stop companies from hassling you.
You can choose to automatically block any calls made from payphones, withheld numbers and international numbers. If you have friends and family living overseas or who use ex-directory numbers (which normally show up as ‘withheld’ on caller displays), then you can choose to add these numbers manually to a tailored list while continuing to block other withheld or international numbers.
Buy a CPR Call Blocker
The CPR (Call Prevention Registry) has launched a Call Blocker product that claims to block all nuisance calls.
Certified by APCO, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the CPR Call Blocker is an effective way to deter nuisance calls. It’s easy to set up and automatically blocks 200 of the most persistent callers known to the CPR. A simple ‘block now’ button lets you easily add new numbers to the block list.
Join TrueCall Community Blocking
TrueCall offers a similar product which has a Community Blocking feature. Numbers you choose to block with this feature will update TrueCall’s records with crowdsourced data, ensuring that new and persistent spam callers keep getting locked out.
Take your landline calls from BT or TalkTalk
Both BT and TalkTalk now proactively monitor the frequency and volume of landline calls on their networks, shutting down any numbers that appear to be spamming customers with a high number of marketing calls. As with TreuCall, customers can also add numbers to blocklists of their own.
Set up a premium rate number
Although tempting, this is a last resort method that is not advised unless you really know what you’re doing or you have some working knowledge or premium rate numbers.
Leeds businessman Lee Beaumont did know what we was doing and was able to redirect marketing companies to his own premium rate number, charging them 10p/minute. So far, Beaumont has earned over £300.
Regulator Phone Pay Plus adds that premium rate lines are not designed to be used in this way and advises against anyone adopting a similar strategy. Incorrect use of a premium rate line and failing to notify callers of the charges could result in you being fined.
Regulators are continually enforcing the rules which telemarketing companies must abide by.
Alongside networks and phone companies, Ofcom is looking at a number of new technical options to curb nuisance marketing calls and to make threatening anonymous calls easier to block and trace.