Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/12/bt_privacy/

BT cracks down on 'nuisance' sales calls

Now 'eff off and don't bother us again!

By Tim Richardson

Posted in Broadband, 12th July 2005 14:31 GMT

BT has introduced new privacy measures to protect punters from annoying phone calls from pushy salespeople.

Keen to ensure that its custmers are not disturbed by "nuisance salespeople", [including its own, ed?], BT is offering to sign up people to the Telephone Preference Scheme (TPS) register, which helps block unwanted sales calls.

The UK's dominant fixed line telco is also offering punters Caller Display for free (it usually costs £1.75 a month) so that they can vet numbers in advance before answering a call.

BT reckons its new BT Privacy service will give punters the "power to choose which calls they receive at home and help reduce the number of silent calls".

Said BT bigwig Gavin Patterson: "Consumers are fed up with being bothered by nuisance salespeople cold calling during the precious few hours they have to relax in the evening and at weekends.

"The new BT Privacy service enables them to keep that time for themselves, by filtering out these unwanted intrusions and giving our customers back the power to enjoy their privacy - in peace."

Earlier this year Labour MP Kevin Brennan rounded on the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) for not doing enough to stamp "silent calls". These calls are generated by computers in call centres which automatically dial numbers. In many cases, though, when people pick up the phone - no-one's there.

That's because call centres often generate more calls than they can handle on the basis that some people won't be in to answer the call. But for people who receive a number of these silent cold calls, it can be a real menace.

Speaking in February, Brennan said: "These calls cause many problems for those receiving them. The elderly are unduly inconvenienced by these calls and often believe that they are receiving malicious calls. Those that find it difficult to get to the phone are also seriously inconvenienced with silent calls.

"They have difficulty getting to the phone only to find that when they answer there is a recorded message or worse still silence. This is why we need stronger regulation - in the industry's own interest."

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