Alan Castle: The nuisance of unwanted calls

Girl on telephone in silhouette. call centres, communication, special reports
Girl on telephone in silhouette. call centres, communication, special reports

Picture the scene, it’s a familiar one in households up and down the country.

You’ve just lowered yourself into a hot bath, put your feet up for an evening in front of the telly or sat down at the table for your tea.

The phone rings. Do you get up to answer it? Your chips will go cold and you might miss a vital clue in Poirot’s latest case. But it could be important. So you do.

Nine times out of 10 it’s an unsolicited sales or marketing call.

Cold calls are the bane of my life.

They have a knack of always ringing when I’m about to do something – usually put a fork in my mouth.

I know I should let the phone ring until 1571 kicks in and then check later. But it might just be the one time that the lottery people are calling to say there was a terrible mistake with last week’s roll-over and the jackpot’s mine, all mine.

It’s goes on all night, regular as clockwork. Heaven knows what it’s like during the day when I’m out at work.

One evening alone the phone rang eight times.

Three were recorded messages, two were from PPI companies, two from people trying to get me to switch energy suppliers and one was silent.

The annoying thing is I’m signed up to the Telephone Preference Service, which allows you to opt out of receiving these type of unsolicited phone calls.

Apparently 18million have joined it and it has been successful in blocking many unwanted calls. Unfortunately there are loopholes and overseas call centres still get through.

I know of an 86-year-old woman who is also in the TPS yet who has the same problem.

She is also being plagued by callers, three and four a day, seven days a week.

Being partially disabled, getting up to answer the phone is not just an annoyance, it’s extremely difficult for her.

Years ago, a friend came up with a solution to unwanted callers. When she picked up the phone, she let the caller go through their script and then blew very hard on a whistle down the receiver.

It usually had the desired effect.