Psst, wanna block nuisance calls? BT'll do it... for a price
The phone that's not at home to spammers
BT's latest phone, the BT6500, can prevent spammers from getting through to the harassed householder, forwarding them to an integrated answerphone - so BT still gets paid, of course.
The householder will have to check those messages regularly though, as any caller withholding their Caller ID could end up there too, along with any call originating abroad. BT reckons that will knock out 80 per cent of unwanted cold calls, but its a sad reflection on how common sales calls are that anyone is willing to risk missing calls from paranoid friends as well as anyone not currently in the UK.
The phone costs £44.99, or comes with a second handset for £69.99, and can be configured to push certain calls direct to the answerphone. International calls, withheld numbers, calls from payphones and those lacking a caller ID can all be marked as straight-to-answerphone, which should take out the majority even if it means missing a few wanted calls too.
It's far from the only choice, boxes from trueCall and CallBlocker camp on the incoming phone line and intercept calls, both requiring the caller to prove their humanity by pressing a number. trueCall has a load of other functionalities too, including the ability to block calls like the BT6500, but that's reflected in the higher price (trueCall starts at a hundred quid, while CallBlocker is only £55).
The Telephone Preference Service is supposed to take care of this - register one's number and UK companies promise not to call one up at all hours selling stuff - but these days the majority of such calls originate outside the UK and thus outside the jurisdiction of the TPS or Ofcom, making it all but impossible to control.
The cause is cheap telecommunications, along with a cultural bias which prompts us to put everything aside to answer the phone - the bias being based on outmoded idea if someone bothers to phone it must be important. Younger people, who grew up with cheap or free minutes, don't always feel the same way and will happily ignore phone calls in a way which can make the aging generation distinctly uncomfortable.
But until that lot grow up, and mentally lump phone calls into the waterfall of irrelevant communications to which one is exposed these days, then bodge jobs like the BT6500 and CallBlocker will have to do, wrong as it seems. ®
Just register your phone no's with the Telephone Preference Service (and your postal address with the Mail Preference Service, too, while you're at it)
They've reduced junk via either method by over 99% for free.
And how I deal with cold callers like this...
"Hello I am calling because your phone number has been selected to receive a free mobile phone..."
Don't you just love these people?
Well I do. In fact in a perverse way I almost welcome their calls. The reason is fairly simple but first a little background on telesales and how it works.
Company X wants to sell its latest nanowidget and so it hires some dodgy telemarketing firm to ring hapless people who are foolish enough to have telephones in the hope that they will buy some nanowidgets. The way (as I understand it) the money is made is the person making the call will be on commission so it's in their interest to either get a sale or turn a dead-end call around ASAP so they can get onto the next one which might turn out to be a sale. Usually a computer makes the call rather than the person then when the call is answered the computer routes the call to the next available operator which is why you sometimes get those silent calls when an operator isn't available or the computer misfired. When an item is sold the telemarketing company get s a cut out of which it pays the operator who made the sale, ther phone bill and pockets the rest as profit with the remainder being passed to company X as a sale.
So it's all about a shotgun approach - call as many numbers as you can. Terminate dead-end calls as quickly as possible and plough through as many as you can because the percentages say you'll get a hit in every hundred calls or whatever. If they can't get those calls out of the way fast enough they're directly losing money (they still have to pay an operator something and pay the phone bill for the call and they will have given expected figures to company X for sales which they're under pressure to meet).
Now, this is why I actually like getting telemarketing calls...
Whenever someone calls to try and get me to buy something I say "Oh, hello, how are you" and they say some greeting stuff and begin their opening script. "Hold on a second," I say, "you really need to talk to my (brother/sister/wife/mother/grandfather/cat/milkman) about this as they always deal with this. Just hold on a moment, I'll get them for you".
You're now at the most important point of the call - the point where you put the phone down (DO NOT hang up, just lay the handset down on the table with them waiting. From this point on you are losing the operator commission, losing the telemarketing company potential revenue and running up their phone bill.
"How do I know when to hang up?" you may ask, and a very fair question it is, too. You know when to hang when phone makes this noise:
If everyone treated telemarketing calls like this then pretty soon no-one would ever have to worry about receiving one as there'd be no telemarketing companies left.
Phone spammers in this part of the world now use fake caller ID. The phone displays a number, but it it isn't actually assigned to anyone, and you can't ring it back. Internet searches for those numbers reveal hundreds of complaints.
I'm certainly not 'the younger generation", but if I don't recognise the number I have no problem ignoring the call. If it is important they'll leave a message and I can either pickup, or call back.
Re: Shoddy builders
What did I do?