BT blocks nuisance calls with new BT6500 phone

Nuisance calls are a major issue in the UK with BT receiving over 50,000 calls to its Nuisance Calls Advice line every month 

BT today announced a brand new landline phone that lets customers control their calls by allowing them to block calls from “International” numbers, “Withheld” numbers, or specific numbers. The BT6500 will give customers the power to block up to 80 per cent 1 of unwanted calls, such as PPI claim sales calls and other cold marketing calls. 

Nuisance calls are a familiar issue in the UK with companies who don’t want to be identified flouting the rules. BT receives more than 50,000 calls to their Nuisance Calls Advice Line each month 2 . Especially irritating are silent calls, generating up to 3,392 calls to Ofcom per month 3 . Of those who receive silent calls, 57% receive five or more calls a month, causing customers distress. Ofcom also found that just over seven in 10 (71%) people have received live marketing calls on their fixed-line phone in the past six months 4. Older consumers are more likely to have been affected; with four in five (80%) people aged between 65 and 74 reporting that they receive these types of calls 5. 

The BT6500 comes equipped to help combat the irritations associated with nuisance calls. Users can specifically block calls from “International” numbers, “Withheld” numbers and numbers without a caller ID which will cancel out most unwanted calls. The handset also allows users to block up to 10 specific numbers, so any nuisance calls from a known number can be automatically blocked. 

The BT6500 also has a “Do Not Disturb” mode, which is ideal when customers want peace and quiet. Do Not Disturb mode switches off the ringer and can either be operated manually by the customer or they can set it on a timer. Friends and family that you still want to get through, even when Do Not Disturb is switched on, can be saved as VIP contacts within the phone memory, making it an ideal phone for home workers, people with disabilities, parents and the elderly. 

Blocked calls will be silently routed to the answer machine so genuine callers can leave a message, except when the customer has blocked a specific number. 

The BT6500 is also equipped with parental controls which allow you to block outgoing calls to selected numbers, for example premium numbers, mobile numbers, international, and the speaking clock, but will still allow customers to call contacts designated as VIPs in the phonebook. 

John Petter, managing director of BT’s consumer division, said: “We know from talking to our customers that nuisance calls cause huge frustration and even anxiety at times. When people feel as though they are being harassed in their own homes they need to be able to take action and block the offending callers. The BT6500 puts the customer in control of the types of call they receive. We believe this phone gives customers the peace of mind that when the phone rings it should be someone they want to speak to.” 

BT is launching two variants of the phone with different designs, the BT6500 and the BT6510, which have exactly the same functionality. The BT6500 is available from BT, Argos, Amazon from today and will be available from Tesco and Sainsbury’s from the end of February. The BT6510 is available from John Lewis and Currys, from the beginning of March. 

BT takes the issue of nuisance calls very seriously and is constantly looking for ways to help our customers to manage their calls. We are also working with Ofcom and industry and consumer groups to establish ways to tackle this issue, which we know customers find frustrating. 

For more information visit www.bt.com/phonedeals 

1 Based on BT's Nuisance Calls Advice line data for 2012, up to 80% of international, withheld nuisance calls, and specific UK numbers could be blocked.

2 BT’s Nuisance Calls Helpline receive on average 56k call per month.  They reassure customers that not all calls are of a malicious nature, direct them to the website and offer BT’s Calling Feature products to help handle calls

3 July 2012. Ofcom Consumer Experience Report for 2012 published in January

4 Ofcom Consumer Experience Report for 2012 published in January

5 Ofcom Consumer Experience Report for 2012 published in January

Notes to editors 
BT 6500 
RRP: single £44.99, twin £69.99, trio £89.99 and quad £109.99 available from BT, with discounts for BT customers 
Unique functionality gives the customers the flexibility to block up to 80% of nuisance/unwanted calls. 
Customers can choose different ways to block calls: 
1. Choose the type of calls you can block 
a. International Calls 
b. Withheld numbers 
c. No caller ID 
d. Payphone 
2. Do Not Disturb mode blocks all calls but you can select some numbers that still get through by selecting them in your contact list as a ‘VIP’ (eg. friends & family) 
3. Users can block up to 10 specific numbers 
Blocked calls are sent to the answer machine, unless the customer has specifically blocked the number as per option 3 above. 

Key Features: 
• Blocks nuisance calls 
• Do Not Disturb mode 
• Visual voicemail - see a list of who's left you a message and choose which to play first 
• Record up to 30 mins of messages 
• Handsfree speaker 
• Saves up to 200 contacts 
• Automatically copies contacts between handsets 
• Easy guided set up 
• Large clear screen (1.8" backlit) 
• Easy access to call divert, 3 way calling, and call waiting 
• Parental control allows you to block outgoing calls to selected numbers using a PIN code e.g. premium numbers, mobile numbers, international, speaking clock etc.