The Fixer: Stopping nuisance calls

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Dear Fixer,
I am being driven mad by calls from companies wanting to sell me payment protection insurance - even though I have no interest in cover of this kind and have repeatedly asked to be removed from their lists.

Now, we have also started receiving silent calls, which just make me even angrier.

What can we do to stop these companies calling our home? Thank you for your help.

M Wright, Dover

Dear Mr Wright,

You are far from the only household to receive nuisance calls from payment protection insurance (PPI)companies.

The Information Commissioner's Office recently fined two PPI companies a total of £225,000 for plaguing people with unsolicited marketing calls.

Action you can take to stop these calls includes signing up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) – a national opt-out service for consumers who do not wish to receive unsolicited telemarketing calls.

This service is free to use, but the bad news is that research from consumer group Which? indicates that it often fails to solve the problem in the longer term.

One of the main reasons for this is that the TPS only relates to "live unsolicited calls of a sales or marketing nature".

This means that it cannot and does not claim to stop other call types such as recorded or automated messages, silent calls and international calls from overseas sales companies.

You will therefore need to come up with another way to prevent calls of this kind. One cost-effective option is to set up the "caller display" on your phone, allowing you to see who is calling and decide whether or not to take the call.

Alternatively, BT, which handles more than 50,000 complaints about nuisance calls each month, has launched a phone that is designed to block withheld numbers and those without an ID and allows users to bar up to 10 specific numbers.

You can use the BT6500 phone even if you do not use BT for your home phone services. However, it costs £49.99 for a single handset, £69.99 for two handsets and £89.99 for three.

If you are prepared to pay to avoid cold calls, trueCall's Call Blocker allows you to set up various filters ranging from simply blocking international calls to asking every caller to identify themselves before putting them through to you.

You will have to shell out £99.99 for the device, though.

The Fixer

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