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?