Nottinghamshire residents are being warned about cold calling companies selling phone blocking services that either do not work or do not meet their customers’ needs.
The county council’s Trading Standards team has been receiving increasing numbers of complaints from residents who have been sold a phone blocking service that is meant to cut the number of unwanted calls that they receive.
Many companies claim that they can offer a service to filter incoming calls remotely without the need for a device being fitted to their phone, which is not possible.
Other companies are supplying devices that block calls that people need to receive or are not giving advice and guidance on how to set up the devices to block calls appropriately.
Although there are several models on the market, the councils’ Trading Standards team can provide advice on finding the right call blocking device that will meet their needs.
Some of the units, including trueCall Care, play a warning message to all incoming callers explaining that the resident does not wish to receive unwanted sales calls to encourage sales people to hang up.
Other models, such as CPR Call Blocker, have known scammer telephone numbers pre-programmed into the units and calls from these numbers will always be blocked.
Coun Glynn Gilfoyle, chairman of the community safety committee, said: “Phone blocking devices can be used to cut unwanted phone calls but people need to be careful as not all services are effective or appropriate for them.
“We are offering advice to residents on devices that will help meet their needs and not block important calls.
“It is quite ironic that cold callers are targeting vulnerable people to sell them ineffective products or services to block cold calls. We always advise people never to buy anything from a cold caller to reduce their chances of becoming a scam victim.”
Nottinghamshire pensioner Beryl Smart (80) received a telephone cold call from a company offering a device to block unwanted calls on her landline.
Beryl said: “They made out they were a well-known telephone company and said the box would only cost a few pence a month but after I gave them my bank details they said there would be a charge of £99.99.
“As soon as I got off the phone I knew I had done the wrong thing and they took the money out of my bank straight away.
“The box came but the connections didn’t fit my phone and when I rang them they said they would send me another if I sent my box back. I haven’t been able to get hold of them since.
“Luckily, my bank has reimbursed me the money but I would tell other people not to give your bank details to unknown companies over the phone.”
For advice and information on phone blocking devices contact the council’s Trading Standards team on 01623 452005.