Nuisance telephone calls are deeply distressing.  They come in differents forms but in many cases amount to a form of harassment that can cause great upset.
  • On the one hand there are phone hoaxers who simply make abusive or revolting calls as a result of their own psychological inadequacy.  Their acts constitute a criminal offence under the Prevention From Harrassment Act 1997 which also gives rise to civil law remedies.  In extreme cases there is no question that your best form of complaint is to the police who ought to take reasonable steps to assist.  At the other end of the spectrum are nuisance marketing calls which, at the very least are extremely annoying.  Some are automated and the more sophisticated ones come from abroad which makes them more of a challenge to block.  What can you do?
  • If you want to complain you need to gather up your evidence.  When the call is made make a note of the date and time, the incoming call number (if your system displays this) the nature of the call and its duration.  All of this information will be critical to the police if they can pursue the hoaxer or to BT if they are able to trace and put a block on the caller.
  • In order to get BT to help you need to be pushy.  There is a helpline that gives general advice (telephone 0800 661441) but they will not do anything.  A better port of call is the BT Nuisance Call Bureau telephone 0800-411422) (office hours 8:30 until 5:00 Monday to Friday).  If the hoaxer puts 141 in front of his number to disguise his identity (which results in a caller withheld display) the call can still be traced although BT do not readily admit this.  If the hoaxer is sloppy he may not dial 141 in front of his number in which case you should simply dial 1471 to discover this.
  • As an aside, be very wary of any nuisance marketing call that demand you call back.  If you do so you may well find that your return call is charged at a horribly high premium rate.  There are similar scams operating in emails and in hard copy fake invoices that invite the recipient to call a “helpline”.  When you do so you later discover that your call was charged at £5 per minute.  Not nice.