Picture this: you’re busy working at home, when the phone rings…it’s a sales call, so you politely end the call and carry on with your business. Then the next one comes through, only this time it’s a recorded message saying that it’s a government announcement that you must listen to. It’s the fifth on this week and you know the script off by heart, so you hang up. Then, for the third time the phone rings again, only this time it is silent and after saying “hello” 10 times or so, you finally hear a voice at the end of the line only to get another sales person trying to push you into buying something. After a day of these interruptions, it can be difficult to still stay polite with these unsolicited calls.
Nuisance and unsolicited sales calls affect millions of Britons every day. From pushy salespeople trying to push their products to to â€˜silent’ calls and pre-recorded messages claiming that you’ve won a trip of a lifetime (providing you sell your soul, of course). These unsolicited sales calls are frightening for the elderly and distressing for the majority.
Across Britain 70% of people claim they have been victim of a phone scam while the total number of nuisance and silent telephone calls made to UK households every year has tipped well over the two billion mark.
The calls can come in a variety of forms. They can be intimidating, pushy, obscene, silent or downright abusive. Some UK households receive as many as 30 nuisance calls each month, and many are asking the same question; what can you do to put a stop to these unwanted calls once and for all?
Here are 12 tips from the Call Prevention Registry (www.callpreventionregistry.com) on how to avoid nuisance and unsolicited calls:
- Keep calm
Always keep your cool and resist the temptation to let the caller know how infuriated they make you feel â€“ this is precisely the reaction they want to hear. And no matter how annoying these calls can be, don’t blow a whistle down the phone â€“ it rarely works and gives the caller the satisfaction that they have wound you up.
- Walk away from the phone
Once you realise that this is not a normal call, simply place the handset down next to the phone and walk away. Then after ten minutes or so return to the phone and replace the handset without listening. This will infuriate the caller who probably won’t bother calling you again.
- Avoid entering into a conversation with the caller
The sales people employed by these disreputable companies are highly skilled at keeping you engaged in a conversation. And regardless of how many times you say No, I’m not interested thank you, they keep coming back for more. So avoid getting into a conversation in the first place.
- Don’t give out any personal information
If it’s a wrong number and the caller asks you to clarify your name and telephone number, this could be a trick. Simply ask them what number they want and confirm if they have got it right or wrong.
Also when you’re filling in forms, wherever possible try to avoid giving your telephone number. Sometimes just by putting eleven zeroes rather than your telephone number works although be careful because obviously sometimes you want to be contacted by certain people, e.g. a job application. Make sure you have ticked/un-ticked the small box at the bottom and make sure to read the terms and conditions. A lot of companies distribute customers’ details at a cost.
- Change your answer phone message
Be careful not to leave your name or contact telephone number on your answer phone message. This can then be used by some companies to verify your personal details and give them an excuse to keep calling youâ€¦as if they needed an excuse!
- Ask the caller to identify themselves
If the caller is genuine they will have no objection to providing you with their name and company details. Then it is up to you to decide whether the caller is reputable or not.
- Keep a record of all numbers
Note down the numbers of re-offending callers, including date, time and details of what was said. This information could prove very useful if further action is taken.
- Report nuisance calls to your phone provider
If you have obtained the number from your caller display or by dialling 1471 report it to your telephone service provider initially. And if the call was abusive and you believe there is a genuine risk to your safety, call the Police.
- Block silent calls
If the number was withheld and you are continuing to receive a high volume of calls your telephone service provider will be able to put a trace on your phone line which will enable the Police to take action against the offending companies who are calling you.
- Screen your phone calls
Either get a caller display or ask your phone provider to block international calls. Obviously if you regularly receive calls from abroad that you wish to continue receiving, this isn’t advisable. Also, blocking withheld numbers could be useful although again, many companies such as schools, the police and employers use withheld numbers to dial out so it really depends on the individual person.
- Go Ex-directory
Generally, businesses aren’t supposed to be using the phone directory to access telephone numbers. However, local businesses are known to use them. Going ex-directory can reduce the calls, if only by a small amount.
- Let someone else take action for you
If you are still receiving a lot of nuisance and telemarketing calls and don’t want to involve the Police, you should consider registering with the Call Prevention Registry (CPR). CPR is an organisation that maintains a list of people who do not wish to receive any telemarketing calls and has the highest success rate in blocking nuisance calls than any other anti-nuisance calls service provider in the UK. CPR is also the only organisation that can block unwanted calls from sales companies in the UK and overseas and has a 95% success rate â€“ higher than any other service in Britain