We’ve been driven insane by spam calls – usually of the pre-recorded nature – offering ‘urgent and important’ news about PPI accident insurance or some other annoying rubbish.
BT’s response, to date, has been absolutely useless, with the telecommunications giant preferring to shrug their shoulders and either insist that customers learn to live with it, or pay up for their ineffectual blocking services.
However, it seems that someone, somewhere has been listening to the growing tide of public complaints (their Nuisance Call Advice Line received a staggering 50,000 calls last month), as BT has now launched a new landline phone range that claims to block out “up to 80 per cent of unwanted calls”.
The BT6500 range lets users block calls from international and withheld numbers, or up to 10 specific numbers. Blocked calls go straight to the answering machine – so you’ll still have to listen to at least part of each message.
“We know from talking to our customers that nuisance calls cause huge frustration and even anxiety at times,” says John Petter, managing director of BT’s consumer division. “When people feel as though they are being harassed in their own homes they need to be able to take action and block the offending callers.”
A telephonic drop in the spam ocean
BT insist that their new handsets will block the majority of dodgy calls, but we’re not even slightly convinced. Our spam calls come from a wide range of numbers, often with with 083** or 084** prefixes, so just blocking ten numbers is unlikely to make much difference.
There are two variants of the phone, the BT6500 and BT6510. They look different, but they’re basically the same phone, although the BT6500 handset comes with a Do Not Disturb mode, which lets users turn off the ringer either manually or via a timer.
None of these phones will actually address what people want, which is one click blocking of new spammers, and the ability to block entire ranges of numbers if they so desire.
In fact, what we imagine most consumers really want is BT getting off its arse and getting proactive on these spamming customers and banning them off their network altogether , or at least have the option to block numbers for free.
Why should folks have to buy a new phone or fork out for new BT services just to get a bit of peace and quiet?
Some silence – for a price
The BT6500 can be bought now from BT, Argos and Amazon, with Tesco and Sainsbury’s following at the end of the month.
The single handset plus base station costs £44.98, with other options up to £109.99 for a quad set, one base station and three smaller stations for other rooms. The BT6510 has been made for John Lewis and Currys, and will be out the end of March.
Useful contacts to help banish spammers:
Complain to Ofcom
Ofcom Advisory Team – 0300 123 3333
BT Nuisance Call Advice Line – 0800 661 441
Carphone Warehouse/Talk Talk – 0870 444 1820
Kingston Communications – 01482 602 555
Post Office – 0845 600 3210
Sky – 08442 414 141
Tiscali – 0871 222 3311
Tesco – 0845 300 7080
Virgin Media’s Sensitive Information Bureau – 0800 953 3333