Telecoms regulator Ofcom has published a guide to services offered by the UK’s biggest home phone companies which can help households protect themselves against nuisance calls.
Available services include Caller Display, Incoming Call Blocking, Anonymous Call Rejection, Last Caller Identification (or 1471) and Voicemail (or 1571).
Caller display helps consumers (who have handsets capable of displaying numbers) identify who is calling them. A consumer can choose whether to answer an unrecognised number or not and shield themselves from potential nuisance calls.
Caller display information is also important so customers can report nuisance calls to Ofcom and other regulators, and for the effective use of handsets and services that rely on the telephone number to help block and filter calls.
Incoming Call Blocking
Incoming Call Blocking services can help consumers to tackle nuisance or unwanted calls by preventing selected numbers from getting through.
Anonymous Call Rejection
Scammers or callers making unsolicited or nuisance marketing calls may wilfully try to conceal their identity by withholding their number.
Anonymous Call Rejection allows consumers to stop calls from people who withhold their number from getting through.
Last Caller Identification or 1471
If a consumer receives a nuisance call, dialling the 1471 service immediately afterwards can help identify the telephone number of the last caller (unless the caller has withheld their number).i
Consumers could then contact the person or company to opt out of future calls, or report the caller to the relevant regulator.
Voicemail or 1571 (standard and enhanced services)
A voicemail service allows consumers to decline to answer certain calls (perhaps those from an unrecognised number) and make a choice whether to return the call once they have listened to the message.
Some providers also offer an enhanced voicemail service. This includes features such as remote access, allowing consumers to listen to messages from a device other than their landline.
Ofcom has set out the charges for these services across seven landline providers – BT, EE, KC, Post Office, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media:
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director said: “When shopping around for a new landline service or provider it’s important that consumers have access to information about a range of factors such as price, quality of service and any additional call features.
“For many consumers, protecting themselves against nuisance calls may be a high priority and providers offer a number of useful services.
“We have set out information about some of these services to help consumers understand the choice available and whether they’re free or cost extra. This information is intended to help consumers to make an informed decision about the landline provider and package that might best meet their needs.”