Are you plagued by abandoned or nuisance phone calls? Here’s how to stop them.

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Home Phone

We’ve received numerous letters and emails from Doddington residents about receiving daily ‘abandoned’ or ‘nuisance’ phone calls.
For most of us, these calls are just annoying and a waste of time, but they can also be frightening to people, especially for those who live alone.
‘Nuisance’ calls tend to be from telemarketing companies trying to sell you a product or service, and are often very pushy in their approach.
‘Abandoned’ or ‘silent’ calls are when there is an automated message or silence when you pick up the phone – usually caused by a call centre system automatically calling you but a staff member not being available to actually talk to you when you pick up.
There are various methods to stop these types of calls, such as:

Make it illegal; sign up to the Telephone Preference Service

UK legislation was introduced in 1999 to make it a legal requirement that sales and marketing companies cannot call people who are registered to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
So register for free at the TPS website, and within 28 days the number of sales calls (both ‘nuisance’ and ‘abandoned’) should be significantly reduced.
Plus, next time you get a telesales call, tell them you’re on the Telephone Preference Service list and that it’s illegal for them to phone you – that will make sure you’re off their particular call list in the future!

Report a silent or abandoned call to Ofcom

If you keep getting a ‘silent’ or ‘abandoned’ call and you suspect it’s from the same number, report it to communications regulator Ofcom.
First of all, when you receive one of these calls, hang-up and ring 1471 to see if you can find out the number of the caller (it is sometimes withheld).
Then go to the Ofcom ‘Silent and Abandoned Calls’ complaints page and fill out the form.
This could lead to an investigation into the company making the calls, which will help stop them for you and everyone else receiving them.

Intimidating call? Report it to the police

If you feel threatened or intimated by any ‘nuisance’ calls that are being made by an individual, then be sure to report those calls to the police.
Click here for contact information for March and Chatteris police stations, or visit the Police UK website to find out the number of your nearest station.

Set-up ‘Anonymous Call Rejection’

Many ‘silent’ or ‘abandoned’ calls are from withheld numbers, so there’s the option of stopping phone calls from all withheld numbers.
The process is slightly different for most home phone networks.
For example, BT charges £4.75 a month, whereas looks like Sky Talk does it for free.
Just Google “Anonymous Call Rejection [your network]” to find out how to set it up with your home phone.

Buy a home phone with ‘Night Mode’

If you want even more control over who calls, consider getting a home phone with ‘Night Mode’.
It’s primarily found on Panasonic-made home phones, and it’s a feature that blocks all calls over a set period except those that you add to the phone’s address book.
Although originally made so you don’t get disturbed in the night, you can simply add all the numbers you know to the address book and activate the feature all day long.
There are many ‘Night Mode’ models of all price ranges to choose from – click here to see some of the options.

Buy a trueCall device

Yet more control can be found with a trueCall device, which attaches to your home phone line and monitors all incoming calls, allowing only callers you know to ring through.
If the trueCall device doesn’t recognise a number, it asks the caller to state their name and reason for the call. You then get notified of this by the device and can choose whether or not to take the call.
The device was featured on BBC2’s Dragons’ Den in 2009, and had all five of the Dragons wanting to invest in it. You can watch the Dragons’ Den segment, including a demonstration of trueCall, here.
It’s pricey though, starting at around £100. You can order it on the trueCall website, plus there are over 200 reviews of it on Amazon.co.uk, with nearly all of them positive.

So, there’s quite a few options you can take.
My advice: Start by signing up to the Telephone Preference Service, and see if that helps.
If calls continue unabated after 28 days, see if the ‘Anonymous Call Rejection’ feature works. Even if it costs, try it for a month and see if there’s a noticeable decrease in ‘nuisance’ or ‘abandoned’ calls. If so, consider whether the subscription cost (if there is one) is worth it.
If ‘Anonymous Call Rejection’ doesn’t work, consider a ‘Night Mode’ home phone or a trueCall device. Read reviews for both, and see which would work best for you.

Are there any other strategies you know that can combat ‘abandoned’ or ‘nuisance’ phone calls? Let us know in the comments below.

– Tim Lince

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