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TalkTalk helps customers to consign nuisance and scam calls to history

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PRESS RELEASE

HomeSafe service to block those nuisance callers guilty of scam and persistent unwanted sales and marketing calls

30 October 2013 - TalkTalk is the first ISP to allow customers to identify nuisance callers and block them at a network level.

TalkTalk has today announced it will help prevent those who make scam, fraudulent and persistent and aggressive marketing telephone calls from calling any of the 4 million customers on its network with the launch of a nuisance call reporting service. The new service empowers customers to alert the company to suspected scam and nuisance callers that, in turn, allows TalkTalk to help protect all its customers from becoming potential victims.

Customers who have been receiving excessive numbers of calls from a single number can report them quickly and simply online with TalkTalk investigating requests with a view to potentially blocking numbers at a network level if there is evidence of misconduct that breaches a strict set of rules. These could be aggressive and persistent marketing calls, persistent silent or abandoned calls or calls they think could be scams.

"Customers tell us that getting calls they suspect are from scammers and fraudsters, along with persistent and aggressive sales and marketing calls, is one of the more stressful experiences they encounter," says Dido Harding, chief executive, TalkTalk.  "Now we have the technology, determination and thanks to our customers the help and support to identify and block these calls from reaching TalkTalk homes. This is the next stage in our HomeSafe offering, which we launched two years ago to let customers take control of how the internet is used in their home."

Ed Vaizey, Under Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries also welcomed the new service, saying "nuisance calls are a menace and the public have had enough. I welcome TalkTalk's initiative to protect their customers from being harassed and bombarded with unwanted marketing calls. Banning those responsible for scams and for making nuisance marketing calls could make a real difference. Tackling this problem requires regulators, industry and Government to work together and I hope others follow TalkTalk in acting against this menace."

Key categories blocked by TalkTalk's dedicated team are:

Repeat likely scam calls: for example, where a customer has received more than 10 calls from the offending number in the past 7 days and if when calling back the number is unobtainable (and not the official BT service message) or cannot be identified by its voicemail or IVR message, TalkTalk will block this number. These are often scam calls.

Nuisance Sales & Marketing calls: excessive and persistent cold calls from call centre operators or automated recorded messages, for example those that call in excess of 30 calls to a customer within 7 days. During a recent trial of the service, the team received reports of companies calling customers over 65 times in a week.

Each investigation can include assessing how frequently the customer has been called by that number, whether there are multiple complaints about the number, and calling the number to identify the originator. There needs to have been anexcessively high frequency of calls over a short period of time for a number to be blocked. The expert nuisance calling team will also look for other tell-tale signs of abuse, like the originator trying to obscure their number. From this, they are able to ascertain what action needs to be taken. This could include the number being blocked at a network level or, for example, in instances of suspected harassment advising the customer to contact the police.

TalkTalk have always provided customers with a range of support for dealing with nuisance calls, including comprehensive advice and guidance and free caller display to help them better manage calls, as well as more advanced optional features like anonymous caller reject. This is an evolution of this support. TalkTalk has also pledged its support for Which's campaign to call time on nuisance calls and is encouraging its customers to do the same.

Visit TalkTalk's nuisance calling guide here talktalk.co.uk/unwantedcalls. Customers can report a number for investigation at talktalk.co.uk/nuisancecalls

Note: As the block is at the network level, TalkTalk can only block for customers who are on the TalkTalk network; the service is not available to TalkTalk customers outside our network. We are unable to block residential or mobile numbers, banks or debt collection companies or legitimate sales and marketing companies that have not breached the strict criteria. A company who has evidence that they may have been blocked and has a query can contact the HomeSafeTM nuisance call team with the details of their request and phone number at Nuisance_calls@talktalkplc.com.

About TalkTalk

  • TalkTalk is one of seven partners behind YouView (www.youview.com), the internet-connected TV service, along with the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, Arqiva and Five. YouView launched to UK homes in 2012. Visit www.talktalk.co.uk
  • TalkTalk is the UK's leading value-for-money provider of fixed line broadband, voice telephony, TV and mobile services to consumers and business users
  • Under the TalkTalk, AOL Broadband and TalkTalk Business brands, TalkTalk serves 4 million customers across the UK
  • TalkTalk operates a fully unbundled network, which extends to over 2,798 exchanges and covers more than 96% of the UK population
  • TalkTalk is the only ISP to provide HomeSafeTM, our unique and groundbreaking whole home security and safety service, free of charge, exclusively to our customers. HomeSafeTM protects every device in the home using a TalkTalk broadband connection and since launch has been activated by more than 1.2 million customers
  • HomeSafeTM was awarded the Best Value Home Broadband Award in the uSwitch Broadband Awards 2013, the Broadband Innovation Award in the uSwitch Broadband Awards 2012, and the Internet Service Providers' Association 2012 Award for Internet Safety and Security. In Simplifydigital's 2011 Customer Choice Awards, TalkTalk's Essentials package was awarded Best Value Broadband and Home Phone Bundle
  • Customers can use TalkTalk's website, www.talktalk.co.uk to manage their account, use their webmail, resolve their problems and access a range of information and entertainment content