Nuisance calls are the UK’s biggest annoyance

Research revealed as Janet Street-Porter launches new BT8500 Advanced Call Blocker phone, designed to block up to 100 per cent of nuisance calls 
Unwanted calls and automated recordings from PPI claim companies and sales people are Britons’ top annoyance, new research from BT has found. The average person in the UK receives six nuisance calls a week, amounting to more than 7.8 billion a year.[1] 

The bugbear ranked above queue jumpers, noisy neighbours and rude commuters as the biggest nuisance; with almost three quarters of people (74 per cent) agreeing that getting a nuisance call was the most annoying thing to happen to them. 

According to the poll of 2,000 people, 44 per cent find them so intrusive that receiving such calls physically raises their stress levels. In Newcastle, 80 per cent said it was the biggest irritation they had to deal with, while those in Norwich experience the highest stress levels as a result of nuisance calls (52 per cent). 

In response, consumer champion and TV star Janet Street-Porter is making a stand by launching the new BT8500 Advanced Call Blocker today. The phone is BT’s most advanced call blocking phone to date, stopping up to 100 per cent of nuisance calls. 

Its “Call Guardian” feature, based on “trueCall” technology, sets this phone apart with the ability to intercept all calls from people not on the contact list. This virtual assistant asks unrecognised callers to announce their name prior to being connected, allowing users to accept or reject the call. Rejected numbers are then stored so they are blocked automatically if they call again and the phone can store up to 1,000 specific blocked numbers. 

It has the ability to block withheld numbers and international numbers which account for a significant proportion of nuisance calls and users can also block by area code and mobile number[2]. There’s also a “Do Not Disturb” mode to give complete peace and quiet. 

The BT8500 Advanced Call Blocker follows on from last year’s launch of the BT6500 Nuisance Call Blocker, which can stop calls from international, withheld and unknown numbers as well as ten specific numbers. The BT6500 quickly became BT’s fastest-ever-selling home phone. To further validate BT’s research and the need for the new BT8500 model, figures from Ofcom earlier this year analysing a four-week period in people’s homes, found that 84 per cent of landline customers experienced nuisance calls.[3] 

With BT’s research showing that the average Brit gets one of these unwanted calls almost once a day, it is no surprise that many have found a novel way of dealing with them, such as playing pranks on cold callers. Scots are one of the biggest jokers, with 10 per cent of them admitting to doing so. 

Younger victims of nuisance callers are likely to be the most polite, with more than a third of 16 to 24 year olds (34 per cent) listening to what the caller has to say or telling them they are not interested. Those aged over 55 years are the most likely to feel angry if the call comes at an inconvenient time, with people in Leeds most likely to respond in this way (11 per cent). 

Meanwhile, many Brits are being driven to drastic measures to avoid unwanted calls, with almost half of the country (45 per cent) not answering their landline during the day in case it is a nuisance caller. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of people have resorted to unplugging their phone in order to get some respite from nuisance callers. This figure rises to 33 per cent in Cardiff and 35 per cent in Liverpool. 

Janet Street-Porter said: “The BT8500 Advanced Call Blocker is designed to stop these annoying and often intimidating nuisance calls once and for all. Your home is your sanctuary and the fact that these callers can invade your personal space is simply not on. Thankfully, they can now be blocked without even needing to speak to a cold caller, which is a huge step forward.” 

Erik Raphael, director of BT Devices and BT Wi-Fi said: “These nuisance calls are clearly causing huge frustration across the UK, so we’re very proud to be launching the most effective phone on the market for blocking up to 100 per cent of them. 
The phone is extremely easy to operate and will be a great help to the millions of people for whom nuisance calls are the bane of their lives.” 

Enquiries about this news release should be made to the BT Group Newsroom on its 24-hour number: 020 7356 5369. From outside the UK dial + 44 20 7356 5369. 

All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News 

1 6 calls per week x 25 mil landlines in the UK (Ofcom) x 52 weeks of the year = 7.8bil per year 
2 Customers need to have Caller Display service from their Network Provider for automated call blocking. Charges may apply 
3 Landline Nuisance Calls Panel Wave 2 (January- February 2014) 
4 Customers need to have Caller Display service from their Network Provider for automated call blocking. Charges may apply 
5 Customers need to have Caller Display / Calling Features from their Network Provider. Charges may apply 

Notes to editors 
*Research carried out across a nationally representative panel of 2000 adults by Opinion Matters, August 2014 

BT8500 Advanced Call Blocker product information 

RRP: single £59.99, twin £79.99, trio £99.99 and quad £119.99 
Launch promotional price during September and October: single £49.99, twin £59.99, trio £79.99 and quad £99.99 

Available from the BT Shop and the following retailers: Amazon, Argos, Currys, John Lewis, Maplin, Sainsbury’s, and Tesco Direct 

Features Summary[4]: 
• Blocks up to 100 per cent of nuisance calls 
• Blocks up to 1,000 numbers or blocks calls by type 
• Customisable Call Guardian settings giving complete flexibility 
• 200 Name and Number directory 
• Auto copy contacts between handsets 
• 1.8” Colour Screen 
• Hands free speaker 
• Record up to 60 minutes of messages 
• Uses multi-award winning trueCall call blocking technology 
• Easy guided set up 
• Outgoing call controls (PIN protect calls to premium / mobile numbers) 
• Backlit keypad for easy dialling 
• See who’s calling before you pick up[5] 
• Do not disturb mode 
• Up to 21 hours of talking and 240 hours on standby 
• See who's left you messages 5 
• Easy access to BT calling features (3 way calling, call divert) 5 
• See and hear if you have a second call waiting