Have you seen that show on BBC Three called The Call Centre? In it, you learn about the goings on and practices behind those calls to help you get more insulation or to help you reclaim thousands in PPI.
It's a great show, and well worth watching, because it humanises - to some extent - the people who can literally make your life miserable. PPI is certainly the new scourge on humanity. Like pox of the genitals, a call for PPI is about as welcome as the news your favourite body parts are about to rot and drop off.
- Google Play
Other calls are more helpful, but you may want to avoid this unsolicited nonsense all together. After all, you probably know if you've paid PPI, or if your phone can be upgraded, or if your house needs new insulation. You're not an idiot after all.
There is, happily, now an Android app that can help with all this. Called Truecaller, it uses a massive database of numbers, against which people can report PPI calls. So, when your phone rings, a pop-up appears that gives you details that aren't stored in your phonebook. This is incredibly helpful.
Since we've installed it, the app has managed to tell us when Barclay's are calling to conduct a survey. This is useful, because why on earth would we want to participate in an unpaid survey for a bank we pay monthly for its services. If it wants us to give it a review, it can pay the going rate like anyone else.
The developers say that they have a database of 950 million numbers across worldwide. Our experience was that while the phone did identify a lot of people, some slipped through. But that's likely to be because UK users aren't using the app, and adding numbers into the database. The good news is, the more of us who do use it, and add info, the better it will get.
Truecaller does other things too. You can connect it to Linkedin and Facebook, so you'll get more comprehensive access to phone numbers as well as much nicer profile pictures - if your phone doesn't already source its images from Facebook that is. There's also an alarming function that allows you to "Tweet" when you're on the phone. Please remember though, only utter morons would use this feature.
You can also use Truecallers as a sort of free international phonebook. Just search for the company you want to call, and the app will bring up all the entries made. We found that some didn't have a number attached, but a flick through the other entries soon turned up one that does. Certainly a lot easier than messing around trying to get contact details from a company website. Even BT, a company that deals in phones, doesn't make it at all easy actually to phone them.
The only irritation of the app is that it uses ads to make revenue. These are mostly okay, but when you search for a number they pop-up fullscreen on the phone, which is a bit of a hassle.