You know the feeling. Get home, get the dinner on. Maybe it's a Tuesday. Tuesdays are always a bit rotten. Anyhow, after a long hard day you make yourself something delicious. Like spaghetti. You sit down, throw on something televisually appealing, wrap that spaghetti around a fork and are about to eat it when the phone rings.
Perfect stranger: "Have you been involved in an accident that wasn't your fault?"
Nuisance phone calls are a plague on people's lives, but did you know there are ways you can stop nuisance callers in the UK?
Although I genuinely feel bad for people whose job it is to cold call people and read from a script, that doesn't make these calls any less annoying. In some cases, that can even really negatively affect people's mental health, according to debt charity Step Change.
So, what can you do to stop these kind of calls?
One route would be to can register your number with the Telephone Preference Service. According to their website, the free service is a bit of a game changer when it comes to avoiding cold calls:
"This free service gives you the opportunity to opt out of receiving unsolicited calls. Once registration is complete, telemarketers are legally bound not to call you."
In addition — and I know this may sound a bit obvious — but a good old-fashioned blocking of numbers that are dodgy is a good method of dealing with the calls. As is googling a number to double check if it is worth answering.
If you receive these kind of calls, you are within your right to contact the Information Commissioners Office to complain about them. The information submitted is used to investigate and take action against those responsible. If the companies are found to be contacting people who have not explicitly consented to receiving these calls, they could face a fine of up £500,000, according to the Data & Marketing Association.
You could also report the number to your phone company. As Which states, "Most providers offer products, services and advice — much of which is free — to block unwanted calls or reduce nuisance calls." BT, Sky, TalkTalk, and Virgin all haves pages on their website dedicated to this issue.
One of the most important things to remember, though, is that the person (if it is a person, not a robot) on the other end of the line is a human being who is doing their job. A job that they perhaps don't like doing, and are being paid a pittance to do it. A job where they have to deal with a lot of people screaming at them down the phone at them all day everyday. A job that leads to all kinds of mental health struggles. So, despite the calls being a nuisance, we should try our best to be as polite as possible, and just say no thank you.
Kate Solomon wrote in the Guardian about her experience working in a call centre and how much it affected her:
"Yes, robotic pre-recorded calls are clearly the work of a malevolent being but behind every other cold call is a person hating their life. I know: I was one of them. Working in a call centre is nobody’s dream job, but when your next student loan installment is months away and you’ve got to keep yourself in alcopops and accommodation, you take what work you can get".
Hopefully, as technology improves, the ability to avoid unwanted calls will also. And we can all live a nuisance-call-free existence.