Even stopping nuisance calls can be a nuisance. In a new video Ofcom advises four courses of action. The UK’s telco regulator says that if you want to reduce your nuisance calls you should check the opt-in clauses from any marketing you are subject to be they online or people in the street. You should also register for the Telephone Preference Service, speak to your telco about blocking options and then when this fails complain about the callers to ICO and Ofcom.
We followed Ofcom’s advice and spoke to Three about its services for blocking nuisance calls. Three’s advice was to use a smartphone feature to block individual numbers, to report individual numbers to them and if they were premium rate they would investigate (but not block them) and to register with the telephone preference service. Ultimately Three won’t block nuisance calls and told us that no telephone company will do that. Well, Fuss Free Phones will.
The problem with Ofcom and Three recommending the Telephone Preference Service is that there are too many loopholes. Companies are only prohibited from calling you if they are trying to sell you something directly. So a company can “survey” you, and ask something like “do you think you are paying too much for Gas and Electricity”. When you say “Yes”, that is counted as expressing an interest. The call centre can then sell your details as an opt-in customer to another company which sells gas and electricity services. So you get not one nuisance call but two.
And even without this loophole, the Telephone Preference Service only has jurisdiction in the UK. So overseas companies, using cheap internet telephony, can call as much as they like, impervious to the UK regulations.
Naturally the best solution is Fuss Free Phones’ no-nuisance call service. Ofcom warns that telcos may charge for their call blocking service but with Fuss Free Phones, “free” is our middle name and we don’t charge for our No Nuisance Calls.
We did however hear of one, now sadly defunct, idea which we rather liked. A friend of Fuss Free Phones used to have a premium rate 07050 number. Given the mess that surrounds UK numbering this looks to the un-initiated like a mobile number. So the friend would court nuisance callers give them his “mobile” number and then earn money from the nuisance calls.
As much fun as it might be to scam the scammers, Fuss Free Phones has a simpler course of action than Ofcoms’ plan to reduce nuisance calls. Just press the button on the back of the phone, speak to a friendly telephonist and say “I don’t want any nuisance calls”. And that’s it. No TPS, no complicated settings on your phone, no call blockers or having to complain. And unlike any other service you can be sure that the people who you do need to speak to can always get through.