Sitting down to dinner or the very day you decide to enjoy a lazy morning in bed, the nuisance call strikes. Whether it's a PPI mis-selling claims firm, a recorded message or a silent call, it's a familiar problem for those with a landline.
According to research by Ofcom, 71% of us have received a marketing call to our landlines in the last six months, with elderly customers having a four in five chance of being affected.
Fight back - latest on scams
There are steps you can take
but there are potential pitfalls - particularly for those who aren't as web savvy - in the form of dodgy firms pretending to be the Telephone Preference Service
(a free service), and who charge consumers for registering to stop marketing calls. Despite registering with the TPS, some firms continue to call consumers which means a potentially lengthy complaints process. For consumers wishing to sidestep these problems altogether, BT has developed a handset specifically designed to tackle nuisance calls.
How it works
Although withheld numbers can be legitimate, they are often used by telemarketers. The BT6500 handset allows consumers to block withheld and international numbers. Instead of ringing, the phone redirects the call to voicemail. If problem calls are emanating from a specific number, up to 10 numbers can be blocked on the handset.
The handset also features a 'Do Not Disturb' mode, meaning the phone won't ring unless the caller is on a pre-programmed list of friends and family.
By blocking international, withheld and up to 10 specified numbers, BT claims the handset can block up to 80% of unwanted calls.
Nuisance calls have been a continuing problem for consumers and the issue shows no sign of abating. BT receives more than 50,000 calls a month to their Nuisance Calls Advice Line. Ofcom alone receives around 3,392 calls a month about silent calls, with 57% of consumers receiving five or more calls a month.
What you can do
The BT6500 handset retails at £44.99 and is an expensive solution to the problem. There are free ways of stopping, or at least minimising problem phone calls. A full outline of the steps you can take can be found in this article How to stop unwanted phone calls
. The most important first step is to register with the Telephone Preference Service
. It will take 28 days for your number to appear on the banned list. If you're still receiving calls, Ofcom
has further details on how to complain.