The telecoms regulator Ofcom receives more complaints about nuisance and silent calls than virtually anything else. During a recent survey by Ofcom, 80% of adults taking part had an unwanted sales call over a four-week period. For most adults such calls are irritating and inconvenient, but for vulnerable people such calls can be very disturbing. However, there is much help at hand to reduce the number of unwanted calls and a well-established complaints procedure run by Ofcom should the situation become intolerable.
Register with the Telephone Preference Service
This is a free service to which anyone can register and it will help to cut down on the number of calls. All UK-based companies are barred from making unsolicited marketing and sales calls, even if they’re calling from abroad, if your number is on the list. By calling 0845 070 0707 or registering your number online via the TPS website, the number of calls should drop. However, it won’t stop scams, foreign companies or market research calls. A similar scheme operates for junk mail.
There are still some companies using the phone book and its online equivalent, so it’s still important to be ex-directory. That way your number will be harder to find.
Make Sure You've Ticked the Opt-Out Box
If you have been a customer, the company you have bought the product or service from may try to contact you. However, if you have specifically asked them not to call you, the company will be breaking the law if they do, even if you've been a customer. Therefore when making a purchase, make sure you tell them not to call you again for marketing purposes if the transaction has been made face to face or on the phone. All companies selling via a website must offer an opt-out or opt-in box giving you the choice not to be contacted again by them or by third parties.
Screen Your Calls
Many phones have caller display as well as a built-in answerphone. Therefore if you don’t recognise the number, you don’t need to answer the phone. If it’s an important call, the caller will leave a message and you can ring the person back.
If you have problems from a particular company, you can bar the number. If you do not need to receive calls from abroad, set it up for all international calls. Your phone service provider will do this for you, though there may be a charge. Ofcom offers much useful advice on this.
One of the best methods is to use a call-blocking device. The gadget plugs directly into your phone so you can screen the calls without effort. Companies such as the one found at http://www.grouputilities.com can offer advice and set up the device for you.
Hanging up is easier said than done, as the people calling you are likely to be trained in talking around people who don’t want to speak to them. Rather than entering into a conversation, put the phone down, make a note of the number and report them to your phone provider or Ofcom.