How to handle nuisance calls
From PPI insurance claims to persistence salesman nuisance, unwanted calls can be incredibly frustrating. Read our advice to help handle and stop them both on your mobile and at home.
Most of us have had unwanted phone calls at one point, but for some people it can be a daily chore we have to deal with. There are some things you can do to take control and reduce the number of marketing, nuisance or automated calls that you get.
The first thing you should do if you’re receiving nuisance calls is to register your telephone number with the Telephone Preference Service. The TPS is an ‘opt out’ service that lets you put your number on an official register, stating that you don’t want unsolicited marketing or sales calls. Once you have been registered for over 28 days, it is illegal for telemarketers to call your number – and you should see the effects sooner. It’s very easy to register and is free to sign up – you just need an email address, your postcode and phone number.
If you’re still getting calls a month after you signed up for the Telephone Preference Service, you might need to do some more digging to stop the nuisance calls.
Firstly, if someone calls and you didn’t give them your number, tell them you are on the Telephone Preference Service and they are breaking the law, and ask them to remove you from their database. If you can see their number you can report it to the TPS.
Sometimes you will get unwanted marketing calls because you gave your phone number to an organisation in the past, or accidentally ticked a box on a form saying they (or their ‘partners’) could contact you. If this is the case, simply say that you do not want to receive any more phone calls, that they should remove you from their database and stop calling you. If you get calls from people claiming to be calling on behalf of your bank or building society, walk to your local branch and tell them you don’t want any more marketing calls from them. That way you can be sure the call is a nuisance call, and not because you long ago ticked a box on a form.
Automated marketing calls or ‘silent’ calls from call centres can be particularly annoying, as there isn’t a human being on the line for you to complain to. If you haven’t given your permission for these sorts of calls, you should complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Malicious calls, where a person calls and is deliberately rude, hurtful, obscene or threatening, can be especially upsetting. Whatever you do, try to stay calm, don’t engage in a conversation or argument with the caller, and replace the handset firmly but without slamming. If you have a phone with a caller ID on it and can see a number, mark it down. You should always report malicious calls to the police.
- Don’t disclose any of your personal information to people you don’t know on the phone – like your name, phone number, address or birth date. If you can, just say ‘hello’ when you pick up the phone to minimise the risk of someone using your information against you.
- Never give out passwords, account numbers or PIN codes over the phone. Banks and other organisations will never ask for them.
- Whenever you fill in an application form – for instance for a competition, loan, bank account, holiday or insurance – make sure you read the small print, and don’t tick any boxes that gives them (or a third party) permission to contact you by phone.
- Consider getting a phone with a Caller Display function so you can see who is calling you
- Phone your telephone line provider and see if they have ways they can help you, for instance with a ‘refusal’ service for certain numbers, or an anonymous call reject function.
- Consider making your landline ex-directory, so that local companies can’t look you up and cold call you
Are you plagued by nuisance calls or marketing salesman?
Silversurfers Features Editor
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