Block cold calls to your landline

The TPS has a limited but essential remit. The next step is to block calls before they reach you.

IPS automatically adds members to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) the UK’s official “Do Not Call” register which makes it illegal for unsolicited cold callers to contact you – with fines of up to £500,000 for organisations that do not comply.

Protect your friends by sharing this article with them:

Many IPS members tell us that, after TPS registration, they continue to receive unwanted phone calls. The TPS website acknowledges that their remit only covers “live unsolicited sales or marketing calls”.

So you need to report other issues to other bodies:

  • Recorded/automated messages to the  ICO
  • Abandoned and silent calls to  OFCOM
  • Market research (tell them you don’t want to participate)
  • Overseas companies you believe didn’t screen their calls should be reported to  TPS
  • Debt collectors need to be told if it’s mistaken identity and then reported to the ICO
  • Scam calls you should be report to  Action Fraud
  • They can’t help with nuisance and abusive calls either

It is a confusing picture with far too much onus on the consumer to investigate as to where to log their complaint. As IPS mobilises the community we are looking at ways to centralise all these complaint procedures on your behalf. Watch this space for updates.

Here is a quick recap on what you can do to stop cold calls from reaching you:

1. Check your TPS registration has been activated

This part is easy. To ensure your TPS registration has been activated (after 28 days), follow this link to check your telephone number appears. You can also add any new mobile numbers by free text message. Text “TPS” with your registered email address from the mobile you want to register to 85095.

 

2. I am registered with the TPS. Can an organisation legally call me?

Once registered, an organisation can only make a marketing call to you if you have given your consent to them. Ticking a ‘positive opt-in’ on an email or webpage is a good example of consent – or agreeing to it during a customer service interaction. Companies cannot make calls to anyone registered with TPS unless they have that consent to market or sell products and services.

Any calling organisation must confirm who is calling, allow their number to be displayed, and provide a contact address or freephone number if asked by you. They must not block or hide their number to prevent you running a search to double check they are who they claim to be.

TIP: You have the “right to object” to receiving any further marketing calls, and the organisation MUST not call you again if you tell them. If they fail to comply and do call you again, you can complain here.

3. What about scams or unscrupulous companies that keep calling, despite the rules?

Sadly, there are organisations that do not abide by the law. Some of them are based overseas and confident they are out of reach of UK law enforcement, but the law states that they must first check the TPS register before calling you.

a) The same rules apply to them, so the TPS request calls like these are reported to them to help them track down the perpetrators.

Below are two links where you can currently report suspected scam calls and nuisance calls:

b) Suspected illegal nuisance caller.

c) Suspected scam/fraud.

Once again IPS are looking at ways we can help members by centralising this process on your behalf in 2021.

4. Landline call screening and blocking services can stop 100% of nuisance calls to your landline

Landline call blocking services can help stop or massively reduce scam, fraud and nuisance calls before they reach you.  The four most recognised landline providers for call blocking are BT, Sky, Virgin Media and Talk Talk as they cover 85% of the UK market in the provision of home phone numbers as part of packages that can extend to broadband, television. Here is what they have to help customers:

You can read more about ways to block calls on your mobile here.

BT Call Protect*

  • Free for existing BT customers
  • Pro-actively diverts nuisance landline calls to junk voicemail by comparing numbers to those on the national BT Blacklist
  • Block up to 100 numbers and create your own personal Blacklist. (Better that other BT services which are limited to 10 numbers and actually cost money!)

Existing BT landline customers can activate BT Call Protect here.

BT also offer a range of phones with advanced call blocking functionality.

If you think the BT Call Protect is a strong reason for you to change provider then visit their site.

Sky Talk Shield*

  • Free to Sky Broadband and Sky Talk customers.
  • Screen your calls before answering…
  • Callers are asked to identify themselves by an automated service. When you answer, you will hear a recording of caller saying their name. You can then: accept the call, add them to your block list, add them to your Star (approved) list or send the caller direct to You the customer decide who you want to talk to.
  • See more here

If you have the Sky Talk landline service you can access Sky Talk Shield for free here.

If you think the Sky Talk Shield is a strong reason for you to change provider then visit their website.

Virgin

Virgin hasn’t developed such a strong offering in this area and direct customers to its more limited Anonymous Caller Rejection feature. They can call 150 from a Virgin phone – or 0345 454 1111 from another line – to activate a block on already withheld numbers at a cost of £3 per month. We feel this is a poor effort from a company with 17% UK market share. Existing customers should let them know!

TalkTalk Call Safe*

  • Free to Talk Talk customers.
  • Customers can block up to 100 numbers.
  • Free screening service available to a) ask callers to record a short introduction for user to approve or b) compare with numbers in CallSafe’s database of unwanted callers.

Activate Talk Talk Call Safe free for existing Talk Talk customers here.

If you think the Talk Talk Call Safe is a strong reason for you to change provider then visit their website

NOTE FROM IPS: In this article we have explained the limitation of the TPS and the logical next step to further reduce the stress that nuisance and potentially fraudulent calls can bring. These Landline Call Blocker providers are the main players in the market. IPS make a small commission per transaction, at no cost to members, and want you to be aware of that. The choice to find out more remains entirely at your discretion.

Have your say

As an IPS member, you can leave us your thoughts, comments and experiences in the commments section below

7 Responses

  1. Brian Allison says:

    Got 3 calls today I have stuff to do irritating is just (one word I would ,,say)rest better not repeat😒

  2. Tim A says:

    Anyone who rings me on my home number, and id not in my list . Gets asked the purpose of the call, only then if are genuine do i get to answer or ignore them.

  3. geordiejim says:

    Be careful as I thought I was ringing Microsoft about something that was going on and the call was to America and cost me a few pounds..

    • IPS says:

      Hi Jim

      When calling a company, checked where it is based before you make a call and you can also check to see if they offer a low cost / free number too.

      Kind regards

      The IPS team

  4. geordiejim says:

    Do you give info re repeatedly being called by? different numbers but same source Rings for 20 seconds each time!

  5. Ronald Milton says:

    Dear Sir or Madam
    We are getting many calls from someone reporting to be from Microsoft all hours of the day mainly very early saying I have a virus on my computer and asking me to turn it on the usual story of course I do not carry out their instructions.
    The last two numbers that have called to my land line are 07381956570 and 07560447362
    But I will say I have had more nuisance calls since I joined Virgin!!

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