Can you identify with these annoyances?


Do relentless nuisance calls, litter louts or being kept on hold get you seeing red? All of these feature in a list of the top irritations of modern life. Can you identify with any of them?

A poll, conducted by Tandem Bank, asked 2,000 adults which parts of 21st century life caused the most stress.

Irritations included dogs mess in public places (57%), litter louts (39%) and noise pollution (37%). I can certainly sympathise with irritations caused by dogs mess, litter louts and noise pollution.

I can certainly sympathise with these. Living in a flat I try and make the most of my local park on a sunny day, but too often I find that a leisurely stroll usually turns to a dog mess dodging challenge, and a sunny day seems to turn the park into a dumping ground full of lager louts 🙁

Modern day annoyances

But it would appear that its telephone-related incidents that really get our goat. Being kept on hold is an irritation for 67%, and being passed around a call centre winds up 38% of those polled.

Unsurprisingly 77% agreed that nuisance calls are the most irritating feature of modern life. We’re well aware of the irritation that nuisance calls causes, with over 365,000 people backing our campaign to call time on them.

Linda McD previously told us on our boiler scams convo:

I had one boiler call yesterday and two calls from them today, and so did my sister. Yesterday I had a call from a man purporting to represent a group of independent financial advisers and also a call “from Windows”. I just hang up and don’t engage in conversation, but I’m sick to death of them. 1471 rarely produces a correct number, so it’s hard to report them through the proper channels.

Maybe you can identify with the 49% who find themselves irritated by unexpected fees and charges, like the 120,000 who have backed our Sneaky Fees and Charges campaign.

Garry White was annoyed by unfair car insurance charges:

I purchased a replacement vehicle in March last year. I started my insurance from the date of the purchase. I told the insurers I would be changing the number plate as soon as I had heard from DVLA. They told me I would have to pay an Admin fee of £25 as a change to the policy. I tried to argue that I was telling them now so they could take account of it but they insisted I would have to pay. It tried to reason that as soon as I heard from DVLA I would contact them. But no chance. All they had to do was press a few buttons on the keyboard and email me the change. Say 30 seconds work? This makes me so angry with car (and doubtless other types of) insurance.

And of those polled, 42% found misleading offers and unclear prices annoying. Saying we find these annoying too may be an understatement; we did after all lodge a super-complaint with the Competition and Markets Authority to report on our findings of dodgy pricing tactics.

As lorna baker explained on our misleading supermarket prices convo:

Quite often it is cheaper to buy the smaller pack but the supermarket is highlighting the bigger one. One stands there staring at it trying to believe what one’s brain is telling you

Over to you

So how about you then? Do any of these annoyances get your goat too? Are there any other irritations of modern life that get to you? Or maybe you’re a bit more relaxed than most of us – do you think we’re too easily wound up?

Which do you find most annoying? (pick three)

Nuisance calls (26%, 831 Votes)

Companies offering the best deals to new customers and not existing ones (15%, 491 Votes)

Being kept on hold (11%, 345 Votes)

Dogs mess in public places (11%, 336 Votes)

Litter louts (10%, 326 Votes)

Misleading prices and offers (6%, 179 Votes)

Unexpected fees and charges (6%, 176 Votes)

Being passed around different teams in call centres (5%, 175 Votes)

Noise pollution (5%, 150 Votes)

Having no internet connection (4%, 143 Votes)

Other - let us know in the comments (1%, 43 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,102

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I constantly get nuisance calls sometimes as many as 6 in a day, they also leave messages on my answer machine. In 1 week while we were away I had 9 recorded messages left by what seemed to be the same company re replacement boiler very annoying. I also object to charities that I support calling to ask me to increase the amount I already give them, if I could give more I would do it voluntary but I don’t want to be made to feel guilty because I’ve retired and had to reduce what I give. On 2 occasions I actually cancelled my direct debit as the caller made me feel as if I was a bad person. Charities should be pleased with what the people give no matter how much it is. Rant over now

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Very lengthy menus on the phone

I had 20 calls on the same day from an unavailable number, even with a blocker there is nothing I can do to stop them.

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I rarely receive nuisance calls, except one or two per year from overseas. I am registered with the telephone preference service and give my mobile number only to family and friends. I am also careful to tick or untick boxes, as appropriate. However, every two weeks I receive in the post a large package from Virgin Media addressed to the householder, which I recycle unopened. I have several times returned the package to Virgin Media marking it ‘not wanted at this address’, but it keeps coming! I am annoyed that recycling this unsolicited mail is paid for by my council tax.

Noisy vehicles and motor bikes clearly higher than acceptable limits and often exceeding speed limits can be worse than noisy neighbours

My village is called Bingo! Its eyes down whilst out walking to steer clear of dog poo!

I am so fed up with unwanted phone calls, the TPS is useless despite paying for an extra service, I hang up if an Asian sounding person says they’s called Martin, John etc and won’t do their surveys!! One thing which distresses me is the charities calling me for more money, when I say I’m a pensioner and already give as much as I can afford they drop the price down to £3 per month as if “Surely you can afford that?? Having changed my broadband /telephone provider I’m going to change my phone number, I now give my mobile number if required as I never answer that anyway, and you can block numbers on the mobile.

M Smith says:
9 April 2016

Ubiquitous MUZAK! In stores, and even banks now. And in almost every TV programme too. Why do we still have it despite the many surveys that show most of us don’t want it!

Dare we add Which? stirring things up via Convos but not then putting any of its (other campaigning) money where its mouth is (or appears to be?

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duncan, I agree in principle. But many people (the “silent majority” perhaps) have enough to deal with in their own lives without being stirred in to action on topics that are of less immediate relevance. So it is the “activists” who take the initiative, often with more extreme views than most of us, and they usually hold sway. Repressive regimes are good examples. Articulate, dominant personalities in positions of power (local or national) often force their own views through against meeker opposition.

I’ve advocated national referenda on a more regular basis to decide what the people in this country feel. Would we have been persuaded to go into Iraq? Would we prefer HS2 to putting money into social care – or even bringing our roads up to standard? Do we want an expensive nuclear deterrent or a better health service? Would we like nuclear power stations or more renewable energy from, say, tidal flow and storage? At least we might stir people to use their computer, even if we can’t get them off the sofa. And as least we know our voice made a contribution. Instead of being lead by the nose!

It’s such a nice day – sun out, garden growing, workshop to tidy – i don’t know why I’m in this serious mood.

It has always annoyed me how easily minorities seem to get their way usually backed by a local councillor or politician trying to make a name for themselves.

For every petition, changes to society, decisions that affect all of us, etc. there should be an opposing petition so we all get a say.

We are probably about to get new traffic calming as a couple of people who want to remain nameless backed by a local councillor get their way. Shame councillors don’t listen to all the people moaning about existing ones and get them removed instead. But doing things on ‘elf ‘n safety grounds, sounds so much better.

You have a lot of good points Malcolm and Duncan
Our Gov however will not want to move away from proposing policies and changes at election time and then doing as they please later because that is the way they operate more and more no odd’s what lot are in the high chair
Yes lets have votes for the people by the people
For the first time in recent history and since Greek times we have the ability to have the majority by far of the population vote electronically on issues
In my eye’s this would be a big move forward for democracy
There will be those who will sya that we cannot have a nationwide campaign about every little thing and that is correct we dont need such wastes of money
We dont need what amount to wealthy people who have never went hungry telling us what we already know
In my eye’s they mostly scare monger us into doing what they want
We are perfectly capable of making our minds up about things like Malcolm points out

Anyone else interested in a regular 10 minutes online to vote on the decisions of our nation

I have had over 50 nuisance calls from abroad this year alone (I have noted all the numbers). Have also changed my broadband supplier as BT are non-caring. Money was being taken out of my bank in January by somebody who said they were from Microsoft but the bank was quick-witted and stopped it immediately. Pot holes, dog mess and people parking on pavements, what a world we live in.

Tessa Calvert-Linnell says:
10 April 2016

My everyday bugbears include – those turbo jet Dyson hand driers in public toilets , surely contributing to the deafness of the nation and the unlicensed mobility scooters whose ‘drivers’ act as if they’re kings of the road. Nuisance calls of course. Letters in the box that are addressed to another householder; happens often. Unsolicited catalogues – now dangerous to order anything from a new company…Trainlines who tell us that ‘this train is composed of 4 carriages’ – why bother, when the passengers need 5 or 6?

Wires and cables irritate me. So many electrical and electronic devices – just look at the back of my TV/HiFi – tv, video, dvd, turnable, power supply, amplifier/tuner, CD player, Appletv, Freesat box – oh, and an aerial. Time for wireless power.

What I also find irritating (but only slightly) is when I read something in the weekend newspaper (amongst all the rubbish) that was interesting, then try to find it again. Where was it? It was the “free wireless power” that I recalled, so I looked in the DT (newsless paper, Saturday edition) – no luck in the paper or the business bit. So the Money supplement? No. Just given up then spotted it in the Motoring section – one of the few sections worth reading. Freevolt, from Imperial college, London, is “harvesting” (stealing?) energy from wireless networks. Its first application is to power CleanSpace, a portable detector for air quality that can send the data to a mobile phone. It might be a while before I can power my washing machine this way. Bu might not small solar cells/battery storage be just as good? They already power LED “cats eyes” in the road.

My biggest annoyance is pop music almost wherever I go. Even doctors’ surgeries and our local builders’ merchant has it! It drives me crackers. Western society is quite sick.

Interviewees on the television beginning a sentence with ” So …………………….”

Planner says:
11 April 2016

Drivers who seem to deliberately drive their car straddling the central white line along country roads as they approach you travelling towards them. They then ‘nip-in’ to the left at the last minute. As an elder driver who was taught to keep the car to the LHS of the road, I find this somewhat alarming and also dangerous.

Another irritation for home bound people are cold callers at the door, who seem incapable of reading the notices saying they are not welcome. Perhaps they are illiterate!

I am very surprised that piped music in shops etc has been mentioned by only two contributors to this conversation. Which? has previously reported that a previous conversation on this subject received the third highest number of comments ever received! I am also surprised and disappointed that piped music didn’t even get a mention in the annoyances listed here by Which?

Tom says:
11 April 2016

Having been “bitten” twice, I now have a complete distrust of all tradesmen. It is far too easy to call yourself a builder , plumber , gardener etc. Trading standards needs to do more about these people

Living in an inner city, namely Portsmouth Hampshire, traffic speed in heavily populated side roads. The local city council some while ago put on a city wide 20mph limit on such roads. Having had my car written off whilst outside my front door, fortunately locked and empty, by a local boy racer, I wrote to the council to suggest some additional traffic calming measures would be useful. I received a reply, only because I attended at city hall, three previous email requests having been ignored, and was informed that the local constabulary were responsible for public education on such speeding matters. A typical political answer in order to avoid any reference to my original enquiry, however a brief reference to a possible 7 day speed observation exercise might be put in place sometime in the future.
This kind of thing is what I find particularly annoying.

Comparison websites. Do they really?
Horses ridden on public footpaths, especially when they leave a deposit!!! That’s illegal isn’t it?