Local authority tackles misery of nuisance calls

Technology such as this call blocker has made life better for residents.
Technology such as this call blocker has made life better for residents.

NUISANCE calls can add misery to an already difficult life, especially if you are coping with dementia.

But the people of East Renfrewshire can live a little more comfortably now as the trading standards team have found a solution to speculative calls about PPI and scams.

They teamed up with their counterparts in Angus and East Dunbartonshire for a pilot study into taking a prevention-based approach by installing call-blocking machines in the homes of the most vulnerable.

Residents across the region were given either a True Call Care unit, costing £119.99, or a CPR call blocker at a cost of £39.99.

The machines cut out many of the nuisance calls that people receive.

Now completed, the team are heralding the pilot a resounding success.

Many of the families and carers of people with dementia claimed the technology lengthened the time that the recipient could live independently in their own home.

One family member said: “The True Call Care unit (set to trusted callers only) has really made a positive difference in helping my aunt adjust to living with dementia, renewing her faith in her own abilities to cope with her home.

“We feel this could be a really great intervention to assist vulnerable people.”

A vulnerable resident, who had the use of the CPR call blocker, also gave the kit the thumbs up: “The CPR call blocker unit has cut out a lot of nuisance calls.

“Before, I was getting calls regarding mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance all the time, now I’m getting much less calls.”

Data collected by the True Call Care units has now been shared with OFCOM and the information commissioner.

East Renfrewshire council’s senior trading standards officer, Paul Holland, said: “We urge residents sick of nuisance calls and texts to follow OFCOM tips to take back control of your phone.

“If you are interested in call blocking technology, do some research on the products on the market and select the most suitable product for you individual circumstances.

“We don’t endorse individual products, but it is important to consider the potential benefits of different call blocking systems for our residents – many of whom are under siege from nuisance callers.

“We have dealt with vulnerable residents who have been deprived of extremely large sums of money after falling victim to telephone scams.

“With appropriate funding, we would like to extend the trial to protected our most vulnerable residents, particularly those dealing with the challenges of dementia.”