Call blocking devices – eveything you need to know
Want to stop nuisance calls? If you’ve signed up to the TPS and are still plagued by double glazing salespeople then it may be worth investing in a call blocking device.
There are several call blockers available and they all offer an extra level of protection from unwanted calls. Trouble is, these devices can also cost you up to £95 for the privilege. We explain what a call blocker is, whether you need one and which models are worth buying.
Calling time on nuisance calls and texts – join our official campaign
What is a nuisance call?
In July, Which? research revealed more than eight in ten of us have received a nuisance call in the last month. While a free sign-up to the TPS is supposed to lessen the amount of calls you receive, 57% of people we spoke to with an active TPS registration were dissatisfied with the service.
The main reason for this is that the TPS only covers live unsolicited sales and marketing calls. If you’re pestered with recorded sales messages or market research calls, then it’s powerless to help.
Can a nuisance call blocker help me?
There are two types of call blocking devices: those that come preinstalled with a phone, and those you buy separately. Both allow you to screen the calls you receive but each offers a different level of protection. When buying a call blocker you should be mindful of the total amount of phone numbers you can block and the caller IDs it is compatible with.
Call blocking devices generally offer better value than a paid-for service from your phone provider, such as BT’s ‘Choose to Refuse’ for example. These will usually have limited powers and typically cost between £3.30 to £4.40/month.
What call blockers are available?
The BT6500 can block up to 10 specific incoming numbers or all calls of a certain type, like international calls or those from a withheld number. This also means that it will block any calls that are routed through switchboards, such as those from a local hospital or friends and family overseas.
Which? members, Bob and Wendy Ham, found the BT 6500 reduced the amount of nuisance calls they received from 25 to just 4 in two weeks. That said, they felt that blocking just ten numbers was of limited value, and that the blocking of withheld and international calls meant they might miss important calls.
The CPR Call Blocker comes pre-programmed with the numbers of 200 nuisance callers and has a ‘Block Now’ button that allows you to stop new numbers from getting through. It also enables you to block withheld and international numbers. Disappointingly, it doesn’t give you the option to record messages.
When Which? members John and Avice Harbottle tested the CPR Call Blocker they only got two calls during their fortnight of using it, both of which they blocked and haven’t heard from since. The Harbottles were unable to block all international calls because they have friends living abroad, but thought that the CPR Call Blocker was still worth buying.
The TrueCall Call Blocker works by screening your calls, connecting those you want and blocking those you don’t. The unit keeps a list of ‘friends and family’ numbers and puts them straight through if they call. But if the caller isn’t on the list it then asks them to say their name – if they do so your phone will ring, the unit will announce who’s on the line and you can decide if you want to speak to them.
Dr Howard Manwaring found that the TrueCall had successfully blocked five callers after checking the device’s online log. He wasn’t bothered by any nuisance calls during his time with it, describing the device as a ‘good product that works well, but is rather expensive’.
Calling time on nuisance calls – join the campaign
Although investing in a call blocker can be a useful purchase, we don’t think you should have to pay money to be rid of the scourge of nuisance calls. That’s why we’re calling for strict new measures against the thoroughly irritating phenomenon. Join the 100,000 people who have already pledged their support to our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts campaign.
Have you had success with any particular call blocking device? If you have let us know in the comments section below.
Which? research shows the TPS is failing to block nuisance calls – read the full story
I keep getting unwanted calls and text messages – the Consumer Rights guide
How to stop nuisance phone calls – our top tips
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