/ Technology

How do you handle nuisance callers?

Cartoon of girl on phone

Since we launched our campaign, Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts, thousands of you have shared your frustrations. And I’ve noticed that many of you adopt various strategies to cope with unwanted calls…

You may recall that we set the relevant regulators a challenge to prove to us that they’re taking action by June. In the meantime, I’ve been reading through your comments, many of which reveal numerous tactics to deal with nuisance calls and texts.

Signing up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is one step you can take, but as many of you have told us, you’re still getting unwanted sales and marketing calls.

Brian is supposedly TPS protected, but he’s had to resort to using Pawley’s Peepholes as inspiration. In this short story by John Wyndham, a community battles time-travelling tourists with rude gestures. I’ll say no more. Some of you take to shouting, but I think Linda makes a good point when she says ‘screaming at a recorded message only hurts my throat, not the wretched company making the calls’. But some of you have adopted other tactics…

Tactic one: the pick up

Those who do pick up the phone are often happy to answer and even agree ‘it’s good to talk’. But, unwanted sales staff beware, many of our commenters have a trick up their sleeve.

When a scam caller claiming to be a ‘Microsoft engineer’ asked Mike whether he had a PC, he said he had two – one male and one female. Mike also told the bemused ‘engineer’ that he was hopeful a third PC would be on the way soon!

Bill’s wife told a double-glazing firm that they lived in a tent. The sales man actually called back after realising that tents don’t have landlines…

Tactic two: the put down

This seems to be one of the most popular coping tactics. Many of you just don’t answer and let calls go to voicemail, like Vince who doesn’t answer the phone before 8pm on weekdays.

Commenters Lynne and Les all put down as soon as they know it’s an unwanted call. They’ll even ask the unwanted sales caller to ‘hold the line please’, leave the phone off the hook and walk away. Les feels he’s helping out others, as he’s delaying a nuisance call to the next person on the list. Thanks Les!

Tactic three: the delegator

This is me. What better way to deal with a nuisance than deploying another ‘nuisance’. And many parents believe they have just the candidate…. My son hangs up in seconds if he suspects that it’s a silent call (apologies to the grandparents!). WB’s son likes to mimic accents and WB is happy to let him practise his ‘skills’ on unwanted callers.

Paul also lets his son answer. His son is fluent in Manx Gaelic and Paul can confirm that many sales staff are not. And finally Michael told us that he lets his son deal with unwanted nuisance calls. His son is two years old.

Of course, we don’t think you should have to adopt these tactics when the phone rings, which is why we’ve launched our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts campaign. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t share your tactics to deal with nuisance callers.

Are you fed up with nuisance calls and texts?

Yes (100%, 30,130 Votes)

No (0%, 91 Votes)

Total Voters: 30,221

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Kenny says:
20 June 2013

………….best one I’ve used when being offered various refunds from TPS due to failure in stopping calls (refund on a poor FREE service???). When asked for bank details offer name of bank , (need cards and note paper) but they will wait for you to get same from wallet/purse you’re now a possible scam target! When asked for 16 dig no. write it down and then quote it to them changing and noting several digits.Give wrong start and expiry dates as well Of course this fails and they respond that if you do not give correct details you will forfeit refund, you bluster that it’s your money so lets check details, quote no. again and point out one digit change , still fails, check bank name it’s not BOS it’s RBS, still fails, check no. again changing another digit (bad line excuse). OK it’s now time to discuss star and expiry dates amazing how many possible mistakes there, the above was interjected with several “sorry could you repeat that” This has taken poss. 20+ mins and they’re getting fed up but have hung on because you’d taken the bait. Now’s the time to explain that you’re not with the party offering the refund but you’re all on your own and don’t get many calls so thanks fot their call!

titch says:
20 June 2013

when my other half received a sales call from an indian call centre his conversation was quick and to the point.

In a rather angry dramatic rapid manner, it goes like this………

Where did you get this number, stay on the line, we are tracking your location now, this is a breach of national security……..

He rarely finishes the speech as the callers panic and hang up!

craggy says:
20 June 2013

I have noticed that nuisance calls have trebled in the past 2 months with sometimes receiving 4 phone calls a day covering PPI, Sky Insurance and recently even from charities….animal, cancer, red cross etc…..where do they get my number from?? However, have come up with a solution which works for me …………phone rings, I answer and my conversation goes like this….hello, hello, hello, hello is anyone there and click, the phone goes down the other end. Maybe it will work for you.

Angela says:
21 June 2013

I have had 6 today alone. I tell them we are moving house, leaving the country etc and I have been known to just pick it up and leave it and not speak.

Anthony Tallack says:
22 June 2013

We have a second home in France where nuiscance calls are much more of a problem than here. We claim not to speak French and insist on the caller speaking English: works every time unless the caller does speak English.

Recently we have adopted a similar tactic here by claiming to only speak French: even more effective here given poor foreign languge skills of the English!


Très bonne idée. Je l’essayerai la prochaine fois 🙂

JON says:
22 June 2013

I have a children’s toy that at a press of a button give out messages from Captain Kirk on the Enterprise.
There are several messages such as the BEAM ME UP SCOTTY ! which are useful during a conversation …………..with due apologies for the crossed line.

Do give thought however to the people out there who are trying to earn an honest crust !.

Kenny says:
23 June 2013

as soon as they mention bank details or money they are not in the business of “earning an honest crust”