Imagine a world where strangers never ask whether you have PPI, or if you’d like to buy a solar panel. No-one tries to tell you that you had a car accident when you didn’t. For BT’s landline customers, this will be their peaceful new reality later this year. The telecoms giant is launching a free blocking service to fight against unwanted callers!
Unless you’re a TalkTalk customer, or the proud owner of a block-out phone, you’d need to pay your provider to stop the desperately pushy sales people and automated messages from bothering you. But not for much longer. BT plan to stop 25 million unwanted calls every week with their free new service… that’s 5 billion a year!
Their dedicated team will monitor the company’s 10 million domestic customers to root out and automatically divert unwanted calls into a junk voicemail for free. You can even add callers and banish entire categories of numbers to the black list too – every international and withheld number gone in a single swoop. All without spending a penny.
With any luck the rest of the industry will follow suit, brands from Virgin Media to GiffGaff, Vodaphone and O2. Although experts warn that nuisance dialers will change their numbers to get through to us we think that sounds a bigger nuisance for them, than anyone else.
Of course, it’s an incredibly huge problem. Four out of five people told Which? that they’re cold called at home at least once a month. Most feel intimidated in their own homes because of it. Nonetheless, those involved still see this as a legitimate way of generating the leads that they sell on to other firms.
The worst culprits?
According to the Claims Management Regulator, The National Advice Clinic were perhaps the single worst nuisance callers in Britain last year. The Lancashire based firm tried to tell 6 million numbers about their noise-induced hearing loss claims between October 2014 and April 2015. They even illegally dialled phones registered on the opt-out Telephone Preference Service – which ultimately cost them £850,000 in fines.
Generally speaking, accident claims are far and away the most frequent cold-callers, with 1,200 calls reported to the Information Commissioners Office last December alone. That’s nearly three times as many as the energy and home improvement businesses, ringing to sell insulation and solar panels.
But there are no prizes for guessing which pre-recorded messages riled us up the most in 2015. Nearly three times as many complaints were made against automated PPI messages last year than in 2014 – around 24,400 were angry enough to tell them about it.
Hopefully, BT’s free new blocking service will make a dint in these incredible figures. It will launch later this year, but customers can pre-register their interest.
Not with BT? You can try to save your sanity…
If you’re not with BT, you can still block unwanted numbers for free. Have you tried the following…
- Registering with the Telephone Preference Service? You can opt out of unsolicited sales or marketing calls and make it illegal for peddlers to contact you.
- Ticking the box to stop third parties from to contacting you after you’ve bought or signed up to something online?
- Going ex-directory? Some companies still use phone books to find you, so it’s best to get out of there.
- Reporting a nuisance call or text through Which? Okay, so it won’t stop them ringing you, but nuisance calling companies can be fined up to £500,000…
- Asking cold-callers to remove your information from their records?