The nuisance of unwanted calls and what to do about it

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone the aspiring Scotsman could never have imagined just how successful his invention would become, and yet nearly 150 years later it can be a source of great irritation to users.

How so you might ask of a vehicle for communication which made life so much easier for families and businesses throughout the land in the intervening years?

Quite simply, used properly and in the right hands all well and good, but faced with unscrupulous people who attempt to infiltrate our air waves it can be nothing short of excruciating.

I calculate that over any given weekday I am fielding up to six unsolicited calls from companies seeking to sell their wares, not all them polite, and significantly none of them successfully able to promote their product.

Despite trying to block the unwanted calls by virtue of installing a preferred line, and having a display screen I have not been able to stop the unwelcome intrusions.

Short of going ex-directory - which I am reluctant to do, seeing myself as a public person, welcoming all callers, well most of them, I really don’t know where to go next.

What gets to me most is at no point in the last five years have I made a purchase through any of these cold calls. So why then do these companies persist?

Your guess is as good as mine, though I would have expected to get greater protection from my provider who, in this case, is BT.

Its attitude apart from offering a preferred line has been less than helpful, which is nothing short of criminal.

In fact trying to speak to anyone at BT about the problem facing so many of us is nigh on impossible. They have all kinds of mechanisms in place to sell us new devices, but no real concern for the issues I am raising. This has to change, or certainly will when BT loses its monopoly.

Since embarking on writing this piece I have fielded two calls, both of them from withheld numbers.

Finally, there was a strange flatness in the land last Friday morning after the nation had spoken in the referendum, not confined exclusively to those who had seen their hopes of independence dashed by the 55% to 45% vote. It was if we were missing the cut and thrust of the debate.

But it is over, for despite a hard-fought campaign we have once again to trust the late promises of the three main parties will be delivered not next decade, but next year, or shortly thereafter. The 85% turnout demands a quick response, anything less would be a total abdication of responsibility.

I am glad we had the opportunity to vote on such a vital issue, it now remains to be seen if it was a wasted opportunity.

The turnout, the participation, and the excitement of the event all went to ensuring politics in the UK, never mind Scotland, will never be the same again. For this we should be truly grateful.