BT has launched a new landline phone that can block nuisance calls, such as those from PPI and gas company cold-callers.
The BT6500 range allows you to block calls from international, withheld, or up to 10 specific numbers. BT says that by doing so it will block up to 80 per cent of unwanted calls. It also reveals that it receives more than 50,000 calls to its Nuisance Call Advice Line each month, while Ofcom receives more than 3,000 complaints a month about "silent calls" - the type of automated marketing call that just remains silent at the other end of the line.
Blocked calls will be sent to the answering machine, so if genuine can actually leave you a message. Some companies and facilities block their calls for a reason, but aren't cold-callers - hospitals, for example.
As well as the nuisance blocking function, the BT6500 handset has a Do Not Disturb mode, which allows you to switch off the ringer either manually or through a timer. There are also parental controls, allowing outgoing numbers to be blocked, such as premium-rate numbers.
"We know from talking to our customers that nuisance calls cause huge frustration and even anxiety at times," says John Petter, managing director of BT’s consumer division. "When people feel as though they are being harassed in their own homes they need to be able to take action and block the offending callers."
There are two variants of the phone, the BT6500 and BT6510. They have different designs but the same feature set.
The BT6500 is available now from BT, Argos and Amazon, with Tesco and Sainsbury's stocking it from the end of February. Prices start at £44.98 for a single handset and base station, up to £109.99 for a quad set, one base station and three smaller stations for other rooms.
The BT6510 is a variant for John Lewis and Currys, and will be out the end of March.