Private number calling

Private number calling…

Don’t you hate that?

I really dislike picking up calls that have the number withheld. Most of the time it’s cold calling or other junk calls. Maybe I am just getting old but I don’t remember so many legitimate companies withholding their number when contacting existing customers or people they have an actual relationship with. So in my memory it used to be easy to say “oh I wouldn’t deal with companies that do that all the time..”

These days it doesn’t seem to be an option. In the last two days I’ve received four calls with withheld number and they were all calls that I wanted to receive. Not taking two of them would have caused me considerable difficulties. Two were from British Gas about our Landlords’ Safety inspection, one was from a bank and another was from a financial services company.

I suspect if I could be bothered to ask why they use withheld numbers they’d say it’s because they don’t want people calling back directly, which is fair enough, but surely there is a better way to do this? Didn’t companies used to use presentation numbers that showed the main customer services number or something?

I’d like to see that taken a step further in fact, because it seems to me that if you can use a presentation number then couldn’t the phone come with (and update) a database of known presentation numbers? So that when British Gas calls, instead of saying the number of what will be some call centre in the middle of nowhere, it says:

British Gas Customer Services

even if I have never saved that number in my phone?

6 thoughts on “Private number calling

  1. I agree, and I think that the telephone system is totally backwards. It’s based on the requirement of the one who’s making the calls (who’s also paying for the call, funnily), not on the one who’s receiving the call (who’s also paying a line rental, incidentally).
    How come the caller can decide to blank their number out.
    Shouldn’t it be so that the receiver should be able to request identification before answering a call? Your bog standard land line should ring with a specific (silent?!) tone if the call is coming from a non-identified source. If it, on the other hand, is made from an authorised source your phone should ring with a more pleasant tone. On top of this you could personally authorise your friends, busines’,services to ring with a very very pleasant tone.

  2. To cap it all off, if you do want to block incoming calls with withheld numbers, BT will charge you a considerable amount for that service. That’s a shame, because this kind of blocking handles the issue with calls you do want to receive – the calling party gets notified that they’re blocked, and the reason why.

    The better option would be to set up your own Asterisk-style system and route them straight to a recorded message or voicemail. That’s on my (long) list of things to do.

  3. If you receive a private number on your mobile just ignore it. These people are idiots and cowards for withholding their numbers. If its a company why are they withholding the number. Easy – they know people wouldnt pick their phone up if they knew the number. In my experience private numbers are one of two things. Companies trying to sell you something or someone harassing you that you may know who you do not want anything to do with.

    Simple answer – just dont answer. After a while they will stop ringing because you are not playing ball.

    1. Or alternatively read the article you’re commenting on and see examples of calls with withheld numbers which I did actually want to receive, and caused me hassle when I ignored them. Since then you can add to the list various doctors and hospitals.

  4. @Andy

    Right? Not only did that person clearly not read the article but then proceeded to give a blanket statement as a solution.

    Tsk tsk tsk.

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