Whose Call is it Anyway?

nuiscane callsMost days, around about 3.15 the phone rings. Sometimes it’s just quiet at the other end, other times it’s someone from a spurious call center business with a very official-sounding name like the “National Free Window Replacement Service”. Whoever it is, they never leave their number.

If I dial 1471 to check on their calling number I invariably get a message that includes “The caller withheld their number”. And the perceived wisdom is that that is the end of the matter.

But why should it be like that? The caller has just broken the law – my number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service to stop nuisance calls and call centres that operate legally know how to suppress dialling machines to stop listed numbers from being called. So on a point of law we ought to trace these people.

There’s something else that worries me: when telephone calls are made, phone companies like to charge for them. I remember that from when I setup CableTel South Wales, which grew to be NTL and eventually Virgin Media. And they way they charge is relatively simple, they capture bits of data to make a call record and that is the basis of the bill.

The call records consist of “A Ends” and “B Ends” – if my memory serves me correctly – and the A End is the calling party the B end the Called Party. The call record then says, in digital terms, “A” called “B” for XX Seconds at this time/date. Computers turn and bills are created.

But here’s the rub: the A End has to be associated to a phone number, otherwise the bill can’t be raised. So can someone please explain to me how it is that “the caller withheld his number” and yet the phone company can still raise a bill for the call they made. Someone somewhere is not telling the truth whilst some are making money just as some are making a nuisance.

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