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‘Phone number withheld’ legislation

17 Comments 19th May 2015

Please make it illegal for any caller to withhold their phone number; especially marketing and cold calling messages. 99% of the 'number withheld' calls I receive [and cannot access by 1471] are marketing or selling a product. 

Why does this matter?

I think if they are legitimate businesses, surely they WANT me to be able to phone them back? The very fact that they can and DO withhold their number immediately raises suspicions as to their business integrity. Also please make it MUCH easier to block or ban nuisance callers [and that includes persistent sellers/marketers who refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer].

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17 Responses to ‘Phone number withheld’ legislation

  1. David Howlett says:

    Agree entirely. Withheld telephone numbers should be banned. It is the equivalent of someone knocking on your door with a balaclava mask on. It is your right to know, or be able to trace, who you are talking to

  2. martin lindhurst says:

    please someone give me one good reason to hide phone number, if no, ban in it!!!!!!

  3. linda tyler says:

    TPS registration and going ex-directory are no barrier to cold callers. Using caller id was the last barrier to having to listen to a cold call sales pitch but even this line of defence has been removed from us with callers being able to withhold their number. The law must be changed to prevent marketing companies and any other business from withholding their number. The NHS and Police withhold their numbers as well and if you are waiting for a call from hospital you have to pick up unwanted calls just in case. There is no longer any protection for people who just want a quiet life. Time for the government to act on this one!

    • Tracy says:

      Agree totally plus they ring allday even if you already spoke to them and told them your not interested also they wait until the school run when you can’t hear them any way I get called between 5 to 10 times a day sick to death of it.

  4. Bob Downing says:

    Great idea. And please extend it to all the public sector organisations who also automatically withhold their numbers for no good reason. If they are public, they should be open to the public. There are only a few who need to hide their number to protect vulnerable contacts, but that goes out of the window if they use post or email anyway. Being unable (now we have anonymous call blocking) to receive calls from a council, surgery, hospital etc is frustrating to everyone.

  5. Richard Anderson says:

    I agree with this. I would also add I think legitimate callers such as Job Centres, Governmental departments and Doctors Surgeries should also be forced to display their numbers. There is absolutely NO reason to hide!

  6. Trevor Carr says:

    I can not understand how this idea has not gone viral.
    When will those policy makers within companies and organisations realise that number withheld equals nuisance call to most of the British public.

  7. Trevor Green says:

    I cannot agree more. It is obviously in the interests of the government to allow marketeers to continue to be able to withhold their numbers while making intrusive calls. Often they are also sinister, i.e no one answers, caller puts the phone down when asked {politely} what their business is. If a caller calls from a legitimate business I have the option to decline but not if they do not answer and withhold their number. They should be outlawed, banned, their ‘companies’ struck off the register and the names passed to the police for harassment charges to be brought. I am thinking of starting a social media campaign to present to force the government to act.

  8. Steve hawker says:

    My Parents were scammed by a withheld number, and when the Victim Support Agency phoned me, they couldn’t get through as my Truecall Callminder makes it easy to block calls. They ended up writing.
    I phoned them and told them they were adding to the problem.

  9. alan gibson says:

    I completely agree with all the afore mentioned, the only people that withhold their number are those with something to hide. This ridiculous idea brought in at the conception of the “1471”fiasco, leaves me absolutely bewildered. Ask the government *&^% they could not locate their anal canal with a route map.

  10. Peter Preston says:

    Frankly, I can’t see why ANY number should be withheld. If you want to prevent the called party from returning your call, a ‘Presentation Number’ can be obtained from BT which displays a number the recipient will recognise to identify the caller – but won’t accept incoming traffic. Of course, when the Caller Display service was introduced back in the 90s, all numbers were presented but thanks to Anne Robinson and the Watchdog TV programme (“Did you know that from now on your telephone number will be available to anyone you call …..”) BT were cornered into introducing the 141 facility, which enabled your number to be hidden on a one-off basis. Then a blanket withheld facility whereby your number was permanently hidden was brought in, realistically rendering the Caller Display service useless for identifying malicious callers and marketeers. It’s a shame and it should be a condition of accepting a modern telephone service that a number is displayed at all times.
    The reason we have car numbers is to identify the vehicle and its driver and ‘phone numbers are no different: we need to know who we are talking to and letting into our homes and offices. As a general rule I don’t answer calls presented as Withheld, International or Unavailable – but of course if you have family or friends overseas it could just be them ringing – or, in the case of Withheld or Unavailable, your Doctor or Hospital, virtually all of whom withhold their numbers. It is very frustrating.
    I don’t know how easy or otherwise it would be to forward CLI data from overseas numbers but I would have thought it was not beyond the wit of man (or woman!) to do so in this day and age. However, if it’s not cost-effective I guess there’ll be no motivation to provide it.

  11. Barrett says:

    I get dozens of anonymous / witheld CLI calls. Privacy is used by scammers/telemarketers/robocallers. also professionals NHS services clinics, police etc. use privacy and then have to release number when privacy is blocked by subscriber.
    It is essential that privacy calls, as well as spoofing CLIDs are made illegal to allow the peace of the innocent subscribers being pestered by scammers and by spoofed CLIDs. Proffessional and NHS services if exempt could use an alternative number for their organisation’s Telephony section with a message identifying the organisation and with an apology for the disruption/worry/upset that they are causing.

  12. Martin says:

    All the above comments are looking at this subject through one lens only. All are concerned (with justification) about companies and scammers hiding their identities, but their really ARE other issues. For instance:

    What about the person individual who makes an innocent enquiry to what turns out to be a disreputable company or person? They can then be bombarded with sales and/or scamming calls if their number has been disclosed.

    What about the small home business owner who has two lines, one his published “business” line and the othe his “home” line? I had exactly this arrangement some years ago in my own small business. I (and my employee) made all outgoing calls via my home line to keep the genuine business line free for incoming customer enquiries, but I didn’t want customers ringing back on my home line if I had rung earlier, so I arranged for that line to be withheld number.

    Just two examples of why an individual might want a withheld number, for those who have asked>

    • James Sutherland says:

      Trying to keep your number secret is a silly way to try to prevent nuisance calls from a dodgy business you contact – apart from anything else, if you actually communicate with them, how and why would you hide your identity?! Only if you knew they were dodgy – in which case, don’t contact them at all. Do you conduct your in-person business wearing a balaclava or crash helmet in case anyone identifies you, too?

      Equally, in the dual line case, you can arrange for the outgoing calls to show the number of the other line instead, so people get a legitimate point of contact instead of a potential nuisance call.

      It’s high time 141 was either removed entirely, or made chargeable – for the very few niche cases anyone might have a legitimate excuse for using it, a pound a call should be a fair compromise to make up for the inconvenience you cause others in the process.

  13. J P Bell Kent says:

    An online petition might result in this issue being brought up in Parliament if enough signatures are added -it is very frustrating as we have just bought a phone with call blocking specifically to stop nuisance calls only to discover that local hospitals are also blocked as they withhold their numbers!

  14. William Eaves says:

    Withheld numbers do not desrve an answer. It should be illegal to make any call without displaying a number or at least an identification of the organisation calling. It is pure stupidty that the NHS withhold numbers as important calls WILL get ignored.

  15. anne says:

    i had a rude phone call and it seems i dont have the right to know who called me. who are we trying to protect with this rule. with the technology we have i find it hard to believe we cannot have calls traced. this was on my landline and they also knew my name.

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