From busy parents to elderly people living alone, cold callers evoke an entire range of negative feelings including those of inconvenience, annoyance and even distress. According to the independent communications regulator Ofcom there are several avenues of action available to householders, such as contacting the company responsible for the call to inform them that their attention is unwanted, and registering the house number with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) in order to stop unsolicited phone calls.
However, though calls made to numbers that are registered with the TPS from UK-based companies are unlawful there are no restrictions on calls from companies where the householder has ‘opted in’, market research calls, calls from companies based abroad or scam calls. Also companies that contravene these measures, though putting themselves at risk of reprimand, remain able to plague householders for as long as they are able to evade the authorities.
Some householders have gone a step further in their bid to protect their landline from unwanted calls by investing in a call blocking service such as the ones available from CPR, TrueCall and Group Utilities. The latter’s Community CallBlocker is currently turning heads with its unique community-based blocking network:
The Community CallBlocker, available from www.grouputilities.com, compiles a list of every number blocked by any of its users and makes this list available to every Community CallBlocker unit. In this way all members of the community help to protect each other as one nuisance call received by one unit will automatically block the number from contacting any other user. The community-sourced blocklist database is continually being updated with the company claiming to give users protection from 99% of national and international scam numbers.
Allowing friends and family:
Clearly there would be a problem if call blockers excluded all phone calls including those from family and friends. However, Community CallBlocker asks all first-time callers to confirm they are a friendly caller, which puts them onto the user’s accept list. Any sneaky sales caller who attempts to do this can be immediately blocked by the user after the call has finished. Subsequent calls from the same number will be blocked by the original user and the entire community.
Customisation and ease of use:
The Community CallBlocker unit acts as a buffer between the householder’s phone line and handset with no need for external power sources nor batteries. The community blocklist is updated through the phone line automatically so a user is not required to download the latest data manually nor establish a wifi connection.
However, accept list and block list settings are fully customisable for each unit so that should a user wish to hear from a particularly company they can do so. Though deactivated by default a user can choose to enable their unit to record calls from salespeople, which can then be sent to Ofcom and the police for use as evidence.
Image attributed to: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_Mobilize.org_office_space.JPG