The Organisational Goddess Guide to a Lighter Life
Only receive phone calls from those you wish to contact you - yes really!
A friend mentioned to me the other day that she had been receiving a huge number of cold phone calls - selling everything from payday loans, to making PPI (personal payment insurance) claims, joining gyms or monthly charity donations. We all receive masses of junk emails, but somehow doesn’t a junk phone call seem more personal?
And surely our phone numbers should be safely restricted to friends, family and those whom you wish to have it?
The problem is that my friend, unwittingly, had been the one who handed over this very valuable (to any company) piece of information.
We all use the internet nowadays to book theatre, film and music event tickets. We also shop online, and have innumerable accounts whenever we sign up to a newsletter or blog we like. All of this data can be sold to a third party unless we tick, or untick the appropriate boxes when signing up - to not allow our information to be passed on to a third party.
Craftily some companies automatically have boxes checked stating you agree to have your details passed on - and you must actively de-register; whereas some have check boxes that must be ticked for your information not to be included in their data sales base. Generally most people don’t realise that ALL their personal information is allowed to be sold if the appropriate box is not checked or unchecked. A list of 6,000 names and addresses can typically be worth £10,000. So you are actually giving away your details to a company that will make a great deal of money from it- let alone the nuisance calls!
There are a number of companies online who claim to be able to block nuisance calls, for a price.
DO NOT USE THESE.
You will be wasting your money. The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is the only official opt-out service that companies are required to abide by under UK law, and it is the only one regulated by OFGEM. This service is free and it will take 28 days from registration for your number to become effective. Staggeringly by November 2013 19.48 million people had done so!
T: (0)20 7291 3320
Many companies also sell 'phone call blockers'. Small units that plug in - between your phone and the phone socket. However these block all phone calls from overseas, or those with unknown or withheld numbers, and many of us have relatives, friends or business contacts whose phone calls we do want to receive. As an example the Police and GP doctor’s surgeries legitimately use withheld numbers.
The TPS are unable to stop silent phone calls, phone calls from overseas, scam or fraudulent phone calls, or market research phone calls - which is why it is incredibly important you do not accidentally give away your phone number in the first place!
To Stop Silent or Abandoned Phone Calls
Complain to OFCOM (https://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/tell-us/webflow/silent-calls/) - completing their online form or phone the consumer contact team:
T: 0300 123 3333
To Stop Overseas Nuisance Phone Calls
Report these to the Information Commissioners Office - they can investigate and fine companies very heavily.
T: 0303 123 1113
To Stop Scam and Fraudulent Phone Calls
Can be reported to your local trading standards office. Find your local contact number at www.tradingstandards.gov.uk.
Telecoms Providers Offering Alternate Solutions
British Telecom offers a phone it claims to block 80% of unwanted calls costing between £44.99 and £109.99 dependant on the number of handsets ordered. You can bar up to 10 specific numbers on these sets.
Talk Talk offers a new call blocking service for those buried by nuisance phone calls, but the phone calls have to be classed as 'excessive' for the company to be reported, investigated and blocked.
An all-party parliamentary group have published a report with its recommendations on how to tackle nuisance phone calls and proposing to make it easier to report unsolicited phone calls.
I hope the above works well for you - do let me know.
The Organisational Goddess