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BT Text to Home Phone

A good idea initially but widely open to misuse. How to put a stop to it.

BT's clever idea to allow text messages to be sent to normal home phones, (land lines), may have seemed like a fun idea and a useful application of technology. There are sensible reasons to want to send text messages to phones, and with the British Telecom system the text message is converted to speech and conveyed to the recipient. The message is read out by the friendly robot. But unlike text messages to a mobile phone, where messages arrive and are stored like e-mail waiting for the recipient to read them, BT Text Messages are sent by ringing the recipient's telephone. Answering the telephone involves an interruption, and if it's a company phone then it can cost money.

I have never received a proper text message from anyone, however I have ignored two childish hoax text messages which arrived from someone who presumably had nothing better to do with their time. There is an easy answer to put a stop to such nonsense. Just turn off text messaging. If you are victim to harassment or abuse, time wasting, or just general nuisance from text messaging, here's the number to phone: 0800 587 5252 (also see note about T-Mobile at end of page).

This gives you the chance to turn off text messaging, or to set an optional curfew to stop the worst excesses of late-night text calls.

Trying to psychoanalyse telephone nuisance call perpetrators is always tricky, but usually the reason turns out to be jealousy, or some kind of personal failing in the personal life of the hoaxer. It's best not to get involved. Police advice is to initially ignore hoax messages and if the problem persists, then go for an investigation. Offenders can be prosecuted, but are sometimes let off with a warning, but with their details stored on a police database a bit like the sex offenders register in case they repeat-offend. This usually does the trick, and repeat offenders are rare.

Other contacts: (also see those at the page about Phone Hoax problems)

British Telecom Nuisance Call Advice: 0800 661441

British Telecom Nuisance Call Action Line: 0800 085 4750

Also see bullying, crime fighting, phone information, British Telecom, What to do about Nuisance Calls, etc.

Extra note: To stop nuisance text messages you will also need to phone T-mobile on 07953 966066 (cheaper after 6pm). Unfortunately this costs money, so there'll be some people who will say they are profiteering out of nuisance calls. However, I think it is just that they do not understand that by offering this service they have offered a hoax callers' charter. We will see just how "funny" this is when the hoaxers start phoning airports.

Speculative note: If other mobile phone companies start offering nuisance caller services, I suggest the landline providers offer an option to ban all incoming mobile calls. (This idea in itself should help to deter mobile phone network providers from offering services which harbour phone hoaxers). Mobile Caller Rejection could either take a form where the hoaxer gets "Sorry, this phone number does not accept calls from mobile phones", or the rejection could be provided by a computerised addition to Caller Display, where in effect all incoming mobile numbers are ignored. To the caller, the phone would appear to ring out indefinitely but to the recipient the phone would not ring, as the call would not be routed through, if it was from a network that was behaving unreasonably.