TrueCall Nuisance Call Blocker

trueCall
After yet another badly timed call from a foreign call centre, we finally bit the bullet and ordered a trueCall nuisance call blocker. Despite being registered with the Telephone Preference Service, we were still getting regular unwanted calls most days.

Many people will remember this device being featured on the BBC programme Dragon's Den.

In The Box

The box
Our trueCall device was well packaged and arrived two days after ordering. We paid £104.98 for our device (direct from trueCall) and this included postage and VAT.

There are cheaper devices out there but, the many online reviews of this device are excellent and it has all the features we wanted. Unlike many other devices, there is also a set of support services and an on-line service site. Given the pain of regular nuisance calls, we found this price fairly easy to justify.

In the box
There are just three things in the box - the device itself, a plug-in PSU (6V / 400mA) and a comprehensive instructional manual.

The device is about 14cm deep × 10cm wide × 2cm high.

Installation & Setup

Installing the device is really easy to do. You plug it straight into the BT master socket and the cordless phone base station into the socket on the trueCall device. You then connect the power.

The device makes an out-bound call and this sets the time and registers the device. After a short period of time you get a call from trueCall, which talks you through recording a message. This is not like the 'Out Going Message' (OGM) on an aswer machine but is simply used to ensure the caller knows they have dialled the right number.

That is basically it!

This YouTube video provides a good overview of the device:

In Use

For trueCall to work properly, it really needs to be plugged into the master socket and between it and all the phones in your home. If you have extensions from the master socket, it cannot intercept calls to them. In our home, all of our phones are connected via a single cordless base station.

Internet Control Panel

Registration
The device comes with a free one-year subscription to the Internet Control Panel. This is a web interface that allows you to manage you account and service.

Before you can use this service, you must register and submit your devices serial number.

Before you can see any data in the control panel, your device must do an initial 'Weblink'. This basically makes the device dial-up the service and synchronise. You can force a manual Weblink by holding down the trueCall main button for 2 seconds. It beeps and says "Weblink started". A few seconds later it then says "Weblink completed OK".

You cannot access the control panel whilst a Weblink is in progress:
Weblink in progress

Home

The tab shows useful information, hints and tips and a summary of incoming and outgoing calls.

My Zap & Star List

The control panel allows you to view and edit your zapped and starred caller lists. This is handy as it means you can pre-populate the list with known callers. It is also possible to export and import numbers.

You can also block a range of numbers by adding a Star character to the end of the number entered. E.g. if you put '0207*' onto your Zap list you will block all calls from inner London.

Smartphone

You can also access a mobile Control Panel on a smartphone or tablet.

Voicemail / Answer Machine

The trueCall device has built-in storage for about 12 minutes of messages from callers. The main button flashes when you have message waiting, one flash per message (four flashes for four or more messages).

There are three ways to playback your messages:

  1. Via the handset - when you hear the dialtone, press the main button or dial '#*' to access your messages.
  2. Via the speaker - press the main button to start playback, left button to save and right button to delete. This is the easiest way.
  3. Remote access - when away from home, dial your number and when the voicemail system answers, press '*'. You will then be asked to enter your PIN to access the messages.

Summary

We have been using our device for a few days now and our initial impressions are really good. It is very easy to install and set up. The feature set and user experience is very good. The device works very well as an answer machine too.

Friends and relatives that have called us and subsequently been 'starred' found the initial calling experience to be very clear and easy to understand. Once starred, these callers will not be able to tell that the device is present and their calls will come straight through.

The web portal is extremely useful. It allows you to see who has called, provide clear names for the numbers and add numbers to your lists.

We currently have BT 1571 network answer machine enabled. We could call BT to disable this but, if the trueCall device is set to answer after 9 seconds, it will kick in before the 1571 service does.

We haven't covered all the things that trueCall can do in this review yet. There are loads of features that we will be testing over the coming days. This is a really powerful device and service!

Updates

29th September 2013

Since we have installed this device, we have not had a single nuisance call :-)

20th February 2014

We noticed that this quarters phone bill was significantly higher than usual. The TrueCall device has been making regular calls (122 in last quarter) to the London number 020 8940 2212. These calls have cost £25.74 and are the TrueCall system reporting in to synchronise. A simple configuration change has fixed this.

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