Do you receive a lot of unwanted phone calls?

Posted 24 February 2015

Find out which debt solution is right for you

Get started

Answer a few simple questions

See if you are suitable

Understand your next steps

Find out the most common reasons why people screen their phone calls and how you can stop receiving unwanted calls.


If you find yourself screening your phone calls to avoid speaking to certain people or companies, you’re not alone. Recent research conducted for us* found that 70% of UK adults screen their calls.

Half of those who screen calls don’t pick up numbers they don’t recognise and a quarter instantly reject calls from 0800 and 0870 numbers. 1 in 5 have actually barred certain numbers from their phone so they don’t get phone calls from them anymore.

Why do people screen their calls?

Reason 1: To avoid having to speak to sales people


We all know how annoying it can be to receive a phone call when you’re in the middle of doing something important. You rush to the phone only to find that the person calling is trying to sell you something you wouldn’t buy in a million years. For 4 in 5 people, this is the main reason they screen their calls.


What to do:


If you are receiving a lot of calls like this, you might want to sign up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). On their website you can opt out of unsolicited marketing or sales calls in just a matter of minutes. It won’t cost you a penny and you can register your landline and/or your mobile.


If you have had dealings with a company, charity or organisation in the past, they may still contact you because they may have gained your consent at an earlier date. However, if you contact them and tell them you no longer want to be contacted for marketing purposes, they are legally obliged to stop calling.

Reason 2: To avoid someone chasing payments

1 in 12 people who screen calls do so to avoid creditors ringing to chase payments. People with numerous debts may often receive several calls a day, which can be very stressful.


What to do:


If you are screening calls because you can’t keep up with debt repayments and can’t face speaking to the person chasing, then you may feel that not answering their calls is the answer. However, they will keep ringing back until they get to speak to you, so this is not the solution. It’s best to tackle the situation as early as possible as the only way to prevent these calls is to take action. Explaining your situation to your lenders is the first step as they may be able to come up with a payment plan that’s more suitable for you.


If you need support and advice on how to deal with this, it could be a good idea to speak to a debt advisor. They will be able to talk you through the different solutions available and hopefully help you decide what to do next. Please be aware that fees are payable for some debt solutions.

Reason 3: To avoid being given bad news

1 in 16 people who screen their calls do so because they think the person ringing will have bad news. Avoiding calls in this way won’t stop creditors contacting you in other ways if they need to get in touch with you. They will send letters, may visit you at home and could even go through the courts.


What to do:


For many people, ignoring phone calls can leave them feeling more stressed and anxious than they’d have felt if they’d actually took the phone calls in the first place, because they are already fearing the worst. Like avoiding calls that are chasing payments, burying your head in the sand won’t stop the situation … but if you speak to someone who could help you, like a debt advisor, you may be able to stop things escalating and tackle these calls head on. Often the sooner you get help, the better.

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 20th January and 27th January 2015, of whom 635 were in Scotland.

by Kyri Levendi

Back to blog home

Did you find this useful? Share it with others!

To find other sources of free advice visit Money Helper. It’s here to listen and give free, impartial, trusted guidance. Based around you and backed by government.