Unwanted cold calls are Britain's biggest money bugbear. A recent survey by GoCompare found that nuisance calls - especially those about PPI claims - are even more hated than charity muggers, subscriptions that are a nightmare to cancel and misleading supermarket promotions. So it comes as great news for millions of us that there's a new service which can help eradicate nuisance calls for good.
See also: The phone scams you should be looking out for
See also: The most irritating cold callers and how to stop them
Getting rid of cold callers has always started with registering with the Telephone Preference Service - either online or by calling 0345 070 0707. This takes your name off the cold-calling list for any law-abiding UK company that you haven't given specific permission to contact you.
Now, however, the organisation is going further, and has launched the TPS Protect app, with a number of extra services. By installing the app, you block can unwanted calls to your mobile entirely, and check whether a caller is to be trusted before you pick up the phone.
When a call comes through, the app checks its own database for the number. If it's on there, it will show a trust rating between 1 and 5, so you can decide whether or not to answer. The trust score is devised by feedback from users, who will be able to reflect their experiences with whoever is calling.
If an unwanted caller rings your mobile phone, the app also lets you send off a report about the call immediately - and easily. The app is free to download, and you'll get both these services for free.
However, if you're happy to pay 99p a month after the first sixty days, you can unlock extras - such as being able to divert nuisance calls to voicemail, or set up your own personal list of blocked and approved numbers. You can also block calls from specific types of companies - such as PPI claims firms or accident claims companies.
The app could wipe out all unwanted cold calls to your mobile, and with a couple of additional steps, you can stop calls to your landline too.
You will need to deal first with the companies you have accidentally given permission to contact you - usually by ticking a box on a form - or by leaving it ticked. When they ring, ask to be taken off their marketing list.
This still leaves you facing calls from companies who are not abiding by the rules. The easiest way to block these is by get a call blocking product. Ofcom has a very handy list of all the services on offer from each of the landline companies - including BT and Sky.
Alternatively, you can buy a stand-alone product. There are a number of call blocking phones available, and it's worth checking out a recent Which? review of these phones. There are also stand-alone devices you can plug into your phone. There are several of these on the market, and some are much better than others, so it's worth reading the reviews before you buy. One of most sophisticated and effective ones is from Truecall, which is worth considering if you know someone comfortable enough with gadgetry to set it up.