Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Raw Deal: Cold-callers selling phone pest blockers accused of charging for free service

Margaret Balsillie
Margaret Balsillie

Consumer watchdogs warn vulnerable Scots are being cold-called by companies selling telephone call blocking services that are otherwise available for free.

Some of the firms claim they can prevent all nuisance calls and make sure that call centres know not to contact you.

They then offer a paid-for service – which they claim is an “improved” version of the official, and free, Telephone Preference Service (TPS) – for a payment.

What victims may not realise is that there is only one TPS, and that this is the only official register for opting out of live telesales and other unsolicited calls.

Once you register, companies are required by law not to cold-call you. Signing up to the TPS costs nothing, and you’ll never be asked for bank details.

However, some people who fall for these calls then see monthly direct debits deducted from their accounts which they haven’t authorised.

Consumer help organisation Advice Direct Scotland said these cold-callers often had the intention of tricking people into giving away information such as financial and personal details.

Spokesman Colin Mathieson said: “In relation to nuisance calls, we will always recommend registering with the TPS in the first instance, to help reduce the ‘legitimate’ unwanted sales calls.

“We would say that if someone is in a situation where they have been mis-sold a call-blocking product, or feel that their consumer rights have been compromised, get in contact with our consumer service.”

Raw Deal has received a number of complaints from readers who have signed up to paid-for call-blocking services, not realising they could be available for free.

Dawn Myles, from Leven, Fife, contacted us after her elderly mother Margaret Balsillie was charged £300 after twice being contacted by a firm called Infinity Call Blocker.

“Last August, mum received a call from this company trying to sell her a phone which she could use to block numbers,” said Dawn. “Despite her saying she didn’t want it, the phone arrived and we discovered she had been charged £148.

“We returned the phone but did not get any money back despite promises of a refund. Unfortunately, in January this year, the same thing happened again, this time they charged her £149.99.

“Mum couldn’t remember the details as her memory isn’t great but she thinks she must have given this company her bank card details for payment.”

Dawn also said that she could get the same model of phone that was sent to her mother for a fraction of the price from the likes of Argos and Amazon.

“Mum is now £300 down and our attempts to get a refund have gone nowhere despite us returning both of the phones.”

Infinity Call Blocker did not respond to requests asking them to investigate Dawn’s concerns.

The official TPS said that people being cold-called with offers of paid-for blocking services was now widespread across Scotland.

The TPS added consumers should lodge complaints with their local Trading Standards office.