Nuisance calls

At home I still have a landline.

This exposes me, and D, to a multitude of unsolicited canvassing calls.  Apart from these, comparatively a few people – overseas callers and people who only have a landline themselves – ring us on the home number.  – Or people who want a good long chat.

It got to the point where D, who is home at the relevant hours (daytime, early evening) more than I am, would not answer the phone unless I rang twice or without an accompanying attempt on his mobile to show it was somebody who really knew him.

I’m too stingy to pay for caller ID.

Since then, D and I have twigged that most of these calls are placed by machines and that a person does not come on at the calling end unless somebody speaks at the answering end. So now we just wait for the caller to speak. We figure that a genuine non-canvassing caller could be baffled by that, but would probably call again.

This doesn’t save us the trouble of answering the phone, but it does save the struggle of dealing with unwanted calls, especially the (I confess) losing struggle of maintaining civility whilst doing so.

My aunt, 86 and living on her own, is also plagued by such phone calls.  She rang Telstra and they arranged to block her phone to international calls (I didn’t even know that this was possible) but the problem has persisted.

I told my aunt about D’s and my new practice of keeping stumm.  Now she does likewise, but it is the effort of getting up to answer the unwelcome call that really annoys her.

On Saturday, my aunt told me that she had finally got through to the section of Telstra which deals with nuisance calls and that they would be monitoring her calls for the next 30 days. “That’s the maximum period. I hope ASIO won’t get involved.”

I said to her that I thought that was for nuisance calls in the traditional sense – heavy breathers and the like. “You’re always opposing me!” she replied. “Anyway, they’re a nuisance to me.”

I think the bit about ASIO was a joke.

On Sunday, she rang me again. She knew I was visiting my father in Canberra, but we were out. Then she rang D at home. “Tell [M] to phone me straight away. It’s very important. And he must speak first. It’s very important.  He will know why.”  She insisted D write her message down verbatim.  He humoured her….over the telephone.

Not long after she rang Canberra again and after speaking to my father (not her brother: she is my maternal aunt) got through to me.

“I neglected to emphasise enough yesterday that when you ring me you must speak first.  Otherwise, if you ring up and do not speak, I shall write down the time and then report the call to Telstra.  So you must speak first or there could be trouble for you.”

I told D.

“Is that a threat?” he asked.


One Response to “Nuisance calls”

  1. Andrew Says:

    We only keep our landline for my mother to call us on and it doesn’t cost us anything directly. We too are plagued by such nuisance calls with one in particular playing a recording with dire threats of terrible penalties for not paying our tax bills. If only I wasn’t a wage slave and in a position to accrue a tax bill.

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