TalkTalk to charge for blocking anonymous calls
TalkTalk is to charge £2 a month for its Anonymous Caller Reject service, which automatically blocks calls from withheld numbers.
Anonymous Caller Reject helps to cut nuisance, scam and cold calls by screening callers who try to hide their number. TalkTalk says the feature intercepted around 147,000 calls a week in 2017.
From 1 November, customers who have the feature activated will be charged £2 a month on top of their usual plan price (some customers will not see the change until 8 November, depending on their billing cycle).
TalkTalk was previously one of only two major home phone providers to offer the service for free, after it scrapped charges in 2014. At the time, TalkTalk said: "We don't believe customers should be charged for protecting their privacy".
SSE is now the only major provider offering the feature free of charge.
TalkTalk is also introducing a £2 monthly charge for its Call Divert service, which lets you forward calls to another landline or mobile, from November.
For more info on preventing nuisance calls for free, see our Stop Cold Callers guide.
Will I have to pay the charges?
If you're a TalkTalk customer and use Anonymous Caller Reject, you should have been contacted by email or letter (depending on your billing preferences), and been given 30 days' notice of the changes.
TalkTalk wouldn't tell us how many customers will be affected, but confirmed that if you don't want to pay the charge you can opt out of the Anonymous Caller Reject feature at any time using your online account or by calling 0345 172 0088.
Alternatively, TalkTalk also offers a free CallSafe plan, which lets you screen calls and set up approved caller lists (although it won't block withheld numbers specifically).
What do other providers charge for this service?
While TalkTalk is the latest to introduce a fee for its Anonymous Caller Reject feature, its £2 monthly fee is far from the most expensive option, with other providers charging up to £6.50 a month for similar services:
However, many providers also offer other call privacy features for free, including call screening – so check whether you need the additional anonymous call rejection function before you opt in.
What does TalkTalk say?
A TalkTalk spokesperson said: "We've been making major investments in improving our broadband network, products and services to ensure we deliver the best customer experience."
They added that TalkTalk still offers a range of free calling and privacy features including CallSafe, voicemail, last caller barring and caller display.