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Last Updated: Friday, 3 November 2006, 07:13 GMT
Update: Silent calls
Silent phone calls
Silent calls: intimidating and annoying for many people
There has been another development in our long running story about silent calls, that we have been following for nearly a year.

And you may find the latest development a little surprising.

That's because Breakfast has discovered that a big government department is one of the culprits.

  • We found out more from Liberal Democrat MP, John Hemming
  • Read all our stories from the last year via the links to the right of this page
  • It was the Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming who has picked up on Breakfast's campaign to wipe out nuisance silent calls.

    Mr Hemming in turn discovered that HM Revenue and Customs, what used to be known as the Inland Revenue, has been making silent calls.

    He's raised a question in the commons, and tabled an early day motion.

    The calls are not intended to be intimidating or sinister, it's just the organisation uses automated dialling systems that dial several numbers at once.

    The system dials more people, than there are to handle the calls, so when you pick up the phone, there's sometimes no-one at the other end.

  • John Hemming spoke to Breakfast on Friday - watch again from the link to the right
  • Lib Dem MP John Hemming
    Lib Dem MP John Hemming: praised Breakfast

    Mr Hemming said no one is taking the law seriously, despite the prospect of heavy fines, purely for a matter of commerical convenience, people are bing given nuisance phone calls.

    He says that people are harassed by them even though the technology existed to give out a recorded message instead of the scary silence.

    "Ofcom haven't been taking action on it.. they really do need to enforce the law, it is a problem for people

    "We have to congratulate BBC Breakfast for taking it seriously whilst the government doesn't", Mr Hemming told Breakfast today.

    He urged those concerned to contact their MP, and encourage them to sign the early day motion.

  • Details of the early day motion can be found via the link to the right of this page
  • You can check if your MP has signed

    How to stop silent calls

    There are several ways to stop silent calls and other forms of tele-sales:

  • Register with the Telephone Preference Service. This is run by the Direct Marketing Association, which promises that its member companies won't bother you once you've registered.

    This service is completely free - but it won't necessarily stop calls made from countries in the developing world.

    Telephone Preference Service (TPS)
    DMA House, 70 Margaret Street
    London W1W 8SS
    Telephone: 0845 0700707

    Make sure you follow the correct link, rather using a search engine: there are bogus Telephone Preference Service websites, which charge users for something you can get for free.

  • BT Privacy. Launched last year, this offers you free caller display and the chance to register with the Telephone Preference Service.

    The basic package is free - although there are charges for additional features, such as automatically blocking anonymous calls.

  • Finally, if you find tele-marketing calls disturbing or annoying, be very careful about which companies you give your phone number to.

    If you're applying for a catalogue, filling out a questionnaire or entering a competition, you may be asked whether your details can be used for marketing purposes.

    If you don't like cold calling, you should say no.

  • Have you been plagued by silent calls? Do you have any tips for dealing with them. You can use this form to e-mail the Breakfast team direct

    Your E-mail address
    Where you live

    The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

    Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming
    "We have to congratulate BBC Breakfast for taking it seriously whilst the government doesn't"

    BBC Breakfast


    Silent calls - one year on
    30 Oct 06 |  Breakfast
    Silent calls: Ofcom investigates
    17 Jun 05 |  Breakfast
    Tracing the silent callers
    15 Jun 05 |  Breakfast
    Silencing the silent calls
    05 May 05 |  Breakfast
    How to stop silent phone calls
    07 Nov 03 |  Breakfast

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