Do you get plagued by annoying cold calls for PPI, Accidents you may or may not have had in the past, double glazing & solar panel sales?
All telecoms providers will allow you to block several types of nuisance callers, withheld numbers, overseas numbers or specific numbers ... however they charge a hefty monthly fee for this privaledge of stopping this harrasment which they allow to happen....and in many cases there are limits to the number of callers that can be blocked. (BT has a maximum of just 10 UK numbers *), plus a seperate charge for blocking overseas, premium rate numbers etc. [* note BT has now introduced a new free blocking service for their customers. please see their website www.BT.com - (WD Raynet does not endorse any particular ISP/telecoms provider)]
So why/how do we get these calls? Why are they not outlawed by now?
Unfortunately it is not in the interest of the telecoms providers to stop them ... they make lots of money from them. The regulators (OfCom) have little time, staff or resources to deal with them and there is little political will to design enforcement. It is left with the industry to deal with the problem under a series of "Gentlemans Agreements" - run and funded by the industry itself, none of which have any weight in law and can and are widely ignored. ( mainly under TPS = the Telephone Preference Service.
Most cold calls are robot dialers who will call numbers at random by the thousand until some poor unsuspecting soul answers - now they have a live one and will circulate the number to all the call centres - and off the operator goes with the pre-scripted message. If they call, don't get angry with them - it does no good - just get their number and report it to the sites below to be circulated to blocking systems. (A useful trick however is to pick a single word in french/spanish/greek/russian and answer every question with it.) ... drives them nuts and more importantly is more likely to get your number removed from the lists.
Another good way to stop them is to get a call ansaphone/blocking machine... they are fairly cheap and a fraction of the cost of your telecoms providers "filtering services" a reasonably good one will cost ~ £50'ish although online versions can cost hundreds of pound annually (OK if you run a big business but not really for home use.) A big advantage is that they will all screen your calls and can let you know who is calling - they can also surpress the first few rings so that you are not disturbed unnescessarily. Each can log who calls and allow you to block numbers by type, location or specific numbers. Unfortunately the less than scrupulous callers will insist on hiding or disguising their number. OK no problem they dont get through. Overseas call centres - killed in one go. If a company is genuine and needs to speak to you why hide their number? Add a message to your answering machine to say unknown numbers are not accepted.
Allways report nuisance callers!
Another way you will get plagued by cold calls is when you fill in "registration cards", "sales cards", "repairs slips" or you register "on-line" One of the few laws governing cold calling is that companies may call you when there is an "existing relationship" i.e. you have done business with them in the past. NEVER, EVER give your telephone number UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL! i.e. certain government bodies or your doctor/hospital etc.
Always make sure you make sure that they endorse any sales document that you will not accept any sales or maketing calls and you do not give permission for them to "share" your details with ANY 3' party - whether connected with the company or not.
Unfortunately some websites are getting crafty and will not let you register unless you give them a valid telephone number - ask yourself -> do I really want to deal with a company that treats me like this? if NO vote with your feet/pen/mouse and take your business to a company that respects you as a person and not a revenue source. If YES or you do not have an alternative and the website absolutely insists on a number, enter the following...
0 333 8888 8888
(0 then 3 three's and 8 eight's) if the website will not let you enter more than 11 digits you can drop off the last 8 (0 333 8888 888)
this is a free service offered and run by trueCall38 - please note we do not have any connection with this company.
Now when call centres try to call they get a polite message saying that this person does not accept uninvited sales and marketing calls and they should write or email as directed.
Again, always make sure you make sure that you endorse any sales document that you will not accept any sales or maketing calls and you do not give permission for them to "share" your details with ANY 3' party - whether connected with the company or not.
So who do I report them to?
The first stop should be a complaint to TPS (The Telephone Preference Service) - Yes I know what I said above about their lack of any real powers, however most reputable business will and do abide by a "do not call" request.
The second line should be to make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO)
If there is any suggestion of criminal activity please contact Action Fraud the national police cyber crime unit.
A lot more information may be found through Which? at
and a more pro-active approach can be found at http://www.saynotocoldcalls.com/ which involves billing them for your time. It's true you can make them pay you - but it does take a bit of persistence.
You could get yourself an 08 or even an 09 number. You telecoms provider will try and dissuade you as they are not designed for 'home' use, but they are not limited to business use by legislation... But, you will always have to announce or that this is a premium rate call line and offer the option of hanging up. (08 series number charges are ~ 45 - 80p/min, but especially important for 09 series numbers where the cost is normally £2 - £10/min and can run into hundreds of pounds very quickly. - these numbers are normally used for gaming and competition lines as well as adult content.) You may also be charged a one-off call connection charge cost of up to £6. You can find out the access charge for these numbers – which is the rest of the call cost – from your phone company.
The good news though is that you get paid evey time someone calls you. The actual charge will vary from provider to provider and is made up of an access charge (paid to the telecoms company) and a service charge (paid to the 'number holder'). This will also vary according to whether a calls is made from a landline or mobile. However, please remember that any-one who calls you will have to pay this ... family, friends, doctor, hospital, school government departments (Job Centre, DWP, HMRC etc.) and so should not be used lightly and only as a last result.