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BT Call Protect eliminates junk calls - what's the catch?

This welcome new and long-overdue service from BT promises to intercept calls from known junk callers and divert them to a junk voicemail box instead. In theory you need never be bothered by nuisance calls again, or at least the mass-produced junk phone calls that bother us all too frequently.

Some notorious PPI and accident claims lines make millions of blind, automated calls every month and these distressing high-volume pipelines are recognised by BT’s new technology, resulting in their calls being ditched by BT before they ever reach your number, it is claimed. You can dial 1572 to check your junk voicemail box if ever you feel the need.

The rate of ‘false positives’ (false alarms) is unknown thus far. So there may be the risk that wanted calls get flagged as junk; only by checking 1572 will you really be able to tell. By the sound of it though, BT has done its homework on using technology to scan bulk phone callers and put them on a BT Blacklist. Using 1572 you can also create your own personal blacklist to block numbers in future: of course, you'll have to answer them first time round, or use Caller Display (CLID) to decide to ignore them.

So far so good, but what’s the catch?

Usually the first thing I do is check the small print, but I have now ordered BT Call Protect for one of my lines. This was done by logging into My BT / Your Package / Manage My Extras. The whole order form (correct at the time of writing) is here:

The whole BT order form for Call Protect... see the second part [click to see]

When you place an order online for free BT Call Protect, scroll further down the BT order form (here we go again, I thought) to the section called BT Privacy (mainly, to do with Caller Display) where more choices have to be made:

Second part of BT Call Protect order form [click to see]

  • Choose a 12 month lock-in contract, with free caller display (CLID) on offer for 12 months then £1.75 from month 13;
  • Or, if you already have it like I do, continue to pay BT Privacy at £1.75 per month with no lock-in;
  • Or, don’t buy CLID and just ask BT to register you with the TPS, which you can do for yourself anyway here. It is not clear whether this order form option also removes existing Caller Display if you already have it.
  • Lastly you can remove BT Privacy with Caller Display if you already have it.

 In the end I chose a 12 month contract renewal and save £21 a year on CLID.

Within an hour or so I got confirmation of the order, so I’m ready to log into My BT and see how the new service works. More on that soon, but below is an early screenshot of what you'll get.

BT Call Protect control panel [click to see]I'll check this regularly to see if it builds up, but I'm also keeping my BT 8500 call blocker phone system (superceded by the BT 8600) going too for now. It's become temperamental, intercepting and 'announcing' calls that are already on my White List, which I blame on telephone exchange problems.

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