How to stop nuisance phone calls

Unwanted phone calls can be a real nuisance. This guide will help explain what to do if you're plagued with unwanted calls and give tips on how to block them.

1 Report a nuisance call

If you are receiving nuisance calls or unwanted texts from a company or a number, there are a range of organisations you can complain to. 

These include the TPS, your phone operator, Ofcom (which covers silent and abandoned calls) and the ICO. 

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Report a nuisance call

Report a nuisance call or text to the regulators. Every complaint helps in the fight against nuisance calls and texts

Report a call or text

The threshold at which the ICO is allowed to act has been lowered and they have the power to fine companies up to £500,000 that break the rules on unsolicited texts and nuisance phone calls. 

Which? will continue to work with all the relevant bodies to ensure that efforts to tackle the problem of harassing phone calls and unsolicited texts are stepped up.

2 Register with the TPS

If you're receiving unsolicited phone calls, you should register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).

The TPS is free to use and is a register which records your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls.

If you’ve registered with the TPS and still receive unwanted calls, you can make a complaint to the TPS and it will investigate.

But the TPS doesn’t have enforcement powers so it can’t penalise the company responsible for bombarding you with unsolicited calls.

Although the TPS is unable to prosecute, it does send complaints to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) which has the power to take action.

It's against the law for companies to make unsolicited phone calls to consumers who are registered on the TPS without their clear consent.

It’s worth noting that people have had mixed experiences after registering with the TPS. Some have told Which? they noticed a reduction in unwanted nuisance calls, while some say they still receive them.

3 Talk to your phone company

If you're still receiving harassing or unsolicited phone calls, you can talk to your phone company to report the phone number. Most providers offer products, services and advice - much of which is free - to block unwanted calls or reduce nuisance calls.

We've included some links to additional information from some of the UK's biggest phone companies.

Talk to your phone company
Phone companyFurther information
 BTLearn more about BT call protect
 SkyCaller identity services
 TalkTalkHow do I manage nuisance calls?
Virgin mediaStop unwanted, nuisance or malicious calls

If your phone company isn't listed above you can check its website or contact its customer services department to discuss what more it can do to stop nuisance phone calls.

If you're registered with the TPS, third parties are not allowed to call you but some companies still do so.

Third party marketing is when your details are sold on to numerous other companies for marketing purposes.

Look out for tick boxes that request consent for your details to be passed onto third parties, if you do not want other companies to contact you, make sure you haven’t ticked the box.

If you've consented to receive marketing from a specific company then this organisation is allowed to call you - even if you've registered with the TPS.

But, companies must stop calling you if you explicitly ask them to. So if you're receiving phone calls which you find harassing, make sure you do request for them to take you off their call list.


If you fill in a form and have to enter your phone number, you can use trueCall38.

Simply enter the phone number 0333 88 88 88 88 as your phone number, and if the company calls a short recorded message is played:

'trueCall38 is handling my calls. I prefer not to be contacted by phone, so please contact me via my email address. Goodbye!'

5 Consider call blocking technology

Phone companies offer a number of services that can help block unwanted nuisance calls.

Some of these services are free but for some, monthly charges can apply, and may vary depending on what package you're signed up to.

Services include caller display, which shows you the number of the person calling; incoming call blocking, which prevents selected numbers from getting through; and caller identification - or 1471.

In an ideal world it wouldn't be necessary to use call blocking equipment, but this can protect you and older or vulnerable relatives from nuisance callers.

Systems cost between £40 and £120 and can be very effective. In a recent trial by Trading Standards the trueCall system blocked 98% of unwanted phone calls.

For more information on the different types of services available to block unwanted calls, take a look at Which?'s guide to phone blocking services.

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