/ Technology

TalkTalk: why we launched a nuisance calls blocking service

Landline phone

One way to stop the scourge of nuisance calls is to block them before your phone even rings. In this guest post, TalkTalk’s CEO explains how and why they’ve introduced a service to block calls at a network level.

Anyone who’s ever received persistent scam or marketing calls will agree that it is a menace and not something we should have to put up with.

Customers I talk to tell me that getting calls from suspected scammers, along with aggressive marketing calls, are one of the more stressful experiences they encounter.

This echoes research by Which?, who found that eight in 10 people received an unsolicited call on their landline last month, with one third saying they’ve felt intimidated by such calls. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be like this.

Technology exists to tackle the problem head on, and this is why earlier this month TalkTalk became the first phone provider to allow customers to identify nuisance callers, report them and, in certain cases, block them at a network level if there is evidence of misconduct that breaches a strict set of rules.

How does it work?

The service allows TalkTalk homes to report suspected scam or nuisance callers for investigation. Two key categories that the team block are:

  • Repeat likely scam calls: for example, where a customer has received more than 10 calls from the offending number in the past 7 days and if when calling back the number is unobtainable (and not the official BT service message) or cannot be identified by its voicemail or IVR message, TalkTalk might block this number. These are often scam calls.
  • Nuisance Sales & Marketing calls: excessive and persistent cold calls from call centre operators or automated recorded messages, for example those that call in excess of 30 calls to a customer within 7 days. During a recent trial of the service, the team received reports of companies calling customers over 65 times in a week.

Each investigation can include assessing how frequently that number has called the customer, whether there are multiple complaints about the number, and calling the number to identify the originator.

What else are we doing?

As well as enabling customers to report suspected wrongdoers, it’s important to provide a range of tools to empower those at the receiving end of the calls. TalkTalk homes receive free caller display, as well as more advanced optional features like anonymous caller reject. This is supported with advice on ways our customers can manage unwanted calls.

Like Which?, I believe that it’s time nuisance calls are consigned once and for all to history. I’m pleased with the focus the issue is receiving in Parliament and our new service has even been welcomed by Ed Vaizey, Under Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries and backed by politicians including Mike Crockart MP.

There’s certainly a great deal more that can be done and we would encourage other ISPs to follow our lead to help prevent British homes from becoming victims to nuisance calls.

Would you like your provider to introduce a nuisance call blocking service?

Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This is from Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk. All opinions expressed here are Dido’s own, not necessarily those of Which?

george says:
22 November 2013

thanks to the two mikes and everybody else that contributed, i have a pana sonic cordless phone and i will read the hand book to see if has this facility, now i am armed with information i can ring plus net and see what they can do for me to stop these call from far flung lands especially when we having our sunday meal thanks again everybody George

Very glad to have helped you George and hope we all benefit. I have from Lee, so this has at least this far even , been good.
If it helps you any more George, the phone I have is a Panasonic, model no. KX -TG 8521 E. There is another no. on it really rather oddly, that says,,KX – TG 8522 EB. Quite why the two numbers , I really don’t know.. I suspect the first one is ‘the one’… and I have 2 handsets( you can have four I think )
It’s not an old model ( I have had it about 5/6 years ) and you can get good deals on the net on them.. And again of course, there other marques.
Hth some anyway. Mike.

eileenhoward says:
23 November 2013

Nuisance calls are a menace. Any suggestions how to get rid of them.

Eileen… If you read all above, that will help you. Mike

Here’s our advice guide on how to stop nuisance calls Eileen. I hope it helps: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/problem/i-keep-getting-unwanted-calls-and-text-messages-what-can-i-do-/

The fair telecoms campaign has made a public contribution to this conversation, through an open message to Dido Harding, copied to other interested parties, including those named in the article.

See http://tiny.cc/Harding_OM.

The message is a little too long to present in full as a comment, but relevant text may be quoted in reply, or further comment.

Billi Ramsay says:
23 November 2013

Totally agree that this no more than an advert for talktalk and would consider whether I would want to subscribe to which if this is what to expect as talktalk have not repeat not helped in barring nuisance calls.

Where does the fault really lie should a complaint be with TPS or offcom who have not done as much as could be done or are we just wasting our time? Totally confused.

The point is why should people spend £40 on a call blocker? and 200 numbers is nothing, companies change there numbers all the time once people start googling them lol

Plus the £40 call blocker does not work. Here is a clip from BBC Wales on them: http://www.fairtelecoms.org.uk/video-player.html?486JQ8ustf4

That’s very interesting, Gary. Clearly more phone manufacturers are seeing the market for blocking kit.
Using the BT6500 (above posting 22 Nov) successfully for several months I have found that telepest calls are identified by caller ID as international, unavailable, phonebox, on the user’s list of numbers to be blocked, OR withheld. But I have also found it important not to block those specifically identified as withheld because they are usually legitimate, notably from the doctor, dentist or hospital. But blocking all the other types has been a great boon.
So, I wonder if the CPR system can distinguish in this way and be programmed to let through the straight “withheld” whilst blocking the others ?

That took the words right out of my mouth Bradbury…as I was reading above I thought about that…so you have to be careful. I wouldn’t agree that the bulk of withholds are legit, I feel it’s the other way round – but yes, one has to consider if you might have genuine people wanting to ring you, with withheld numbers…such as as you say, the doctor and so on. Blocking ALL withholds would therefore create a problem. The callers, such as the docs, as they are calling through a shall we say, non standard /home tel system, such as a switchboard of some type, likely won’t be able to override the withhold …so this is a very important consideration. The equipment such as the CPR and the bt 6500 I seriously doubt has the ability to suss one withheld call from another… That ‘tech ‘ is yet to come …but when it does, it will be near perfect.
No one has mentioned the TRUCALL device as yet… Again as I’ve said above, I get by with the answer phone and caller display quite happily, but the TRUCALL device is an excellent one , but not so cheap. I haven’t looked at it recently but I know it has had several improvements since it’s days on Dragons Den . Hth . Mike

I save all the nuisance calls and name them ‘Nuisance’. I then save them to a phone tone which we never use, when the phone rings with this tone, we know to ignore the call. It does not prevent them but at least we do not have the bother of answering or listening to a silent call. This method can be used for all calls with a number, Withheld numbers are another problem.

Anonymous call blocking does not block all calls I
have also blocked international calls but they still get through. TalkTalk CEO office said illegal calling is the reason. My compliant is not resolved.

Arlene Robinson says:
2 March 2016

I would like to know how to stop the nuisance phone calls FROM talk talk. I am NOT a customer, will NEVER be a customer again (tried it for 2 months – they are useless liars ) Yet I still get daily calls from them, 2 today before 10am, which as a pensioner alone I am now finding quite intimidating as they will not stop. I have told the agents I am not a customer, have phoned talk talk and told them but still they persist. This is causing a great deal of stress now and I need them to stop.

In my personal experience, you can easily fix your problem by using these simple steps:

1. First Log in to your Talk Talk account and then Click on the link My Account.
2. Click “Phone & broadband” from the menu.
3. Choose “Manage services” on the page.
4. Now checkbox “Anonymous Caller reject” in the “Privacy features” section.
5. Click “Update”.

For any assistance, you can directly contact to TalkTalk customer service at 0203 4415 550 or go to website

R Ashman says:
16 May 2019

How to stop international incoming calls, your article was as useful as a chocolate fire poker