BY BEN EAGLE
For many of us, it’s a standard part of our day; the phone rings and when you answer you find yourself speaking to somebody who is trying to sell you something or convince you that you have recently had a car accident and should claim compensation through them. You almost certainly didn’t ask them to ring. At best the call will irritate you and at worst it might cause severe anxiety.
I use my mobile for the vast majority of calls now, but still have a landline for (some) business calls. It used to be the case that the majority of cold calls would come through the landline, but this now seems to have switched to my mobile. I have downloaded an app that keeps a blacklist of numbers so that I can at least block any callers who have previously been a nuisance. However, each new day seems to bring new cold caller numbers with it. The companies that do it are wise to the barriers put up by the rest of us against them, and often change their number to get through the technological fences.
Several years ago I signed up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), along with millions of other Brits, in the hope that it would cut the number of calls received. However, it doesn’t seem to be effective. I am receiving just as many, if not more, nuisance calls than I was previously. If you aren’t aware of the TPS, it is a free service (tpsonline.org.uk) through which households can opt out of receiving unsolicited marketing and sales calls. In theory it provides legal protection from the calls, but the problem seems to be that many companies (or bogus companies) are ignoring the law. Further, it doesn’t seem to be effective with international calls, which make up a significant proportion of the nuisance calls that I receive.
What can you do to stop the calls?
It might be nigh on impossible to stop nuisance calls completely, but there are certain things you can do, or be aware of, to lessen the burden of these calls in your life:
- Load your contacts on to your phone. If you don’t recognise the number, be more wary. If you suspect it to be a nuisance caller let it go to answer phone. They rarely leave a message.
- Check any numbers you don’t recognise on the internet. The chances are that they will have called someone else if they are a nuisance caller and the call receiver will have logged it on a site.
- Sign up for the Telephone Preference Service. Even if it doesn’t cut all calls, it will get rid of some, which can only be a good thing.
- Exclude your number from directories. Always check the ‘opt in/opt out boxes when you click things on the internet. Third party sales of information is big business and it’s difficult to get away from it, but you can at least be aware of it.
- Consider using a call blocker, or blacklister. This will block certain numbers.
- Support Which’s ‘Calling Time’ Campaign and sign their petition.
I hope that organisations such as Which are able to place enough pressure on government to do whatever they can to stop the calls. However, for now at least we will just have to frustratingly accept that nuisance calls are part of our modern world. We can cut the number we receive but stamping them out completely is perhaps too much to hope for.
Ben Eagle is a regular contributor to Country Squire Magazine. He is an environmental and agricultural writer from essex. blogs at thinkingcountry.com and you can find him on Twitter or Instagram @benjy_eagle