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Cold calls are the absolute curse of modern telecommuncations.
It’s now so cheap for telemarketers (especially abroad) to call random landlines that they often do so relentlessly without targeting willing consumers or even checking that they have consent to call in the first place.
I’ve had Insider’s Edge readers who’ve written to say that they regularly receive between 5 and 10 unsolicted telephone calls to their home phone every single evening.
When I wrote an article about how to stop cold callers pestering you I was taken aback by the response. It seems that a lot of us are taking sensible measures to try and prevent cold callers… but to no avail.
The Telephone Preference Service, was set up to help tackle the problem and while it’s certainly a help, it doesn’t go nearly far enough. It’s powers don’t extend to cold callers and telesales marketers operating outside of the UK. Furthermore there’s very little they can do to clamp down on rogue, illegal operators.
I did mention a couple of alternatives to TPS in that article, including a service called ‘Anonymous Call Reject’ from BT which is supposed to block any calls from witheld numbers to your phone. However it does get mixed reviews and costs £4.30 a month. Then there’s the option of going ‘ex directory’ – but this is a pretty drastic (not to mention expensive) solution.
That’s why I was intrigued to find this clever gadget from a company called ‘TrueCall’. It’s called ‘The Nuisance Call Blocker’ and you can see it here.
What is TrueCall (or ‘the Nuisance Call Blocker’) and how does it work?
TrueCall is a gadget that you plug into your phoneline that acts as a sort of secretary between you and your callers. So for instance if I were to call you completely out of the blue, my call would automatically be answered by the device – it would ask me what my name is and what my call is regarding. This information would then be filtered back to you and you decide whether to take the call.
So if you don’t believe that I’m a bereaved beneficiary who wants to hand you 75 million dollars, you can block the call and permanently blacklist the number I’ve called you from.
For people whose numbers you add to the device as ‘friends and family’ or other trusted numbers (for example your bank manager or local takeaway delivery service) they will get straight through to you without being questioned and your phone will ring as normal.
TrueCall is, in my opinion, a very elegant solution to a tiresome problem. I’ve played around on one at great length and it really works right from the word ‘go’.
Let’s do a quick overview of some of the features….
- You record the message that callers will hear. So for example you could tell it to say: “Hello you’re through to the Smith household, please could you let me know your name and what this call is regarding”. That’s a terrible example but the point is genuine callers will know they’ve got through to the right number. Genuine callers will only be screened by the service once because you can ‘whitelist’ them so that they instantly get through on subsequent calls.
- You can ‘zap’ unsolicited calls without picking up the phone. You no longer have to make awkard excuses or listen to the phone endlessly ringing. Most telesales marketers will give up once they get through to the TrueCall answer service, but for those that persist you get the need to know info (their name and purpose) and can decide whether or not to take the call with the push of a button.
- It gets smarter over time… The more you use it the smarter this device comes. As you whitelist (or ‘friend’) genuine caller numbers and blacklist (or ‘block’) dodgy ones you soon get a situation where hearing the phone ringing means you’ve got a genuine caller trying to get through… while TrueCall works quietly in the background blocking the rest.
- It has a built in answerphone – The only downside I could come up with was the price which isn’t cheap (although considerably less expensive than using BT’s monthly service after just over a year of use). This is a one-off cost. It’s worth bearing in mind that you also get a built in answerphone with it and this makes the cost considerably more bearable.
If you’ve been plagued by nuisance calls I’d definitely recommend taking a look at this. Right now on the Amazon review page for TrueCall you can see over a 100 reviews from people currently using it.