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Message 1 of 5

Has Call Protect replaced Choose To Refuse?

Has Call Protect replaced Choose To Refuse? I searched Choose To Refuse service and opened All about Choose to Refuse | BT Help page which mentions the use of 14258. But when I follow the link to 'add or remove calling features' it takes me to MyBT and the only option is then 'Call Protect', which I believe is the 1572 service?

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Message 2 of 5

Re: Has Call Protect replaced Choose To Refuse?

@AdyP - I think it's safe to assume that BT are winding down both Choose to Refuse and Anonymous Call Reject, as they reckon Call Protect does the same thing (it doesn't, but I won't go into all the ins and outs of that now, as it would take some explaining).

Are you an analogue (PSTN) or Digital Voice customer? It may be discerned from this link that neither Choose to Refuse nor Anonymous Call Reject are available on Digital lines, and will therefore cease to exist after 2025.

Also, what is your call package? I suspect that this is the deciding factor in whether or not analogue subscribers can have Choose to Refuse.

You see, my parents are on the original incarnation of 'Home Phone Saver', which includes Choose to Refuse and Anonymous Call Reject at no extra cost. I'm on the current version of that plan, which includes free Anonymous Call Reject but not Choose to Refuse. I don't have a 'My BT' account, but it used to be possible to view your current and available calling plans/features by entering your phone number on (presumably BT stopped allowing this after realising that it was a breach of data protection). Indeed, I was able to snoop on an elderly neighbour's phone line in this way and saw that she was paying for a broadband service she didn't need (she has never used a computer in her life!). I helped her to switch to Home Phone Saver, for which she was very grateful. Anyway, I digress.

Doing this revealed that Choose to Refuse is not available to me, not even as a chargeable add-on. I phoned Customer Service on 150 and asked if they could add it for me; the agent told me that he could not see it on his screen to be added onto my line at all (neither as a free, nor as a chargeable option). I suppose I could request that it be added as a "back office" job, but am reluctant to do so in case it interferes with all the features that I get free with Home Phone Saver. Knowing BT, that's exactly what would happen! Anyway, I don't fancy paying £5.50 a month for a service that only blocks 10 numbers - that's daylight robbery! TalkTalk's version of Choose to Refuse, which uses the same 14258 code, allows you to block 100 numbers. BT should have expanded Choose to Refuse to do the same, instead of developing the vastly inferior Call Protect.

Bear in mind that subscribers with Anonymous Call Reject and/or Choose to Refuse who add Call Protect to their line will lose Anonymous Call Reject/Choose to Refuse. Call Protect is not compatible with those features, which BT don't make clear enough. My parents discovered this the hard way, after BT talked them into having Call Protect and they couldn't get on with it. They were able to reverse the situation, but it took a few very patient phone calls to Customer Service to get CP removed and free ACR/CTR restored to their line.

The CTR link you posted needs to include a disclaimer that the feature is not available to all customers. BT also need to take out the bit about Anonymous Call Reject, as it misleadingly suggests that ACR is included for free with CTR. Wrong! ACR will set you back an even more extortionate extra £7.50 a month, unless you're on Home Phone Saver.

Incidentally, Line Rental Plus customers get free Choose to Refuse but not Anonymous Call Reject...go figure(!). I don't think they can pay to have ACR, either, if I remember rightly from when I set up Line Rental Plus for my late grandfather. BT certainly like to complicate matters!

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Message 3 of 5

Re: Has Call Protect replaced Choose To Refuse?

Thank you @Tim123 for you reply. I also had a Live Chat with BT yesterday and they told me that Choose to Refuse is only available to Business Customers. Although, earlier in the chat they said it was available to Line Rental Plus subscribers, so a bit of further confusion there. 

A bit more info on the differences between Call Protect and Choose to Refuse would be useful if you have the time to explain? I was enquiring for a friend who has been receiving nuisance calls from someone who's number is withheld. She managed to block the caller before they changed to withheld using Call Protect (1572), however, a neighbour of hers who is receiving the same nuisance calls, says she can't block the calls using 1572? 

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Message 4 of 5

Re: Has Call Protect replaced Choose To Refuse?

Hi @AdyP welcome to the community and thanks for posting.  With call protect you can choose for calls from withheld numbers to be sent to the junk voicemail box. You can manage this feature either by dialling 1572 from the landline or online at

The three call types are:

✓ International numbers
✓ Withheld numbers
✓ Unrecognised numbers (shown as 'unavailable' on caller display or on 1471)

To choose individual call types you want to send to your junk voicemail, go to 'Manage your personal settings'.

You can also listen to your junk voicemails from the main menu.

BT Call Protect - 'How to...' guide | BT Help



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Message 5 of 5

Re: Has Call Protect replaced Choose To Refuse?

@AdyP - Sorry for the late reply, I've been extremely busy of late.

'Choose to Refuse' and 'Anonymous Call Reject' are two separate features that have been around for many years. Choose to Refuse allows you to block up to 10 numbers and Anonymous Call Reject blocks any number which is with-held by the caller. Both features block the calls at your local telephone exchange, so that the calls are NOT connected at all, in any form, full stop. So, although expensive, they are extremely effective and well worth the money (and available free if you have the right phone package).

'Call Protect' (launched just a few years ago) is BT's intended replacement for those two features. It's free - however, it's a con. It doesn't actually "block" anything! In fact, Openreach internally refer to the feature as "Choose to Divert- a far more accurate name. Calls are still connected (thus ensuring vital revenue for BT); your phone just doesn't ring and Caller Display is somehow bypassed as well. Other than that, it's not much different from the standard 1571 Voicemail service. It's inconvenient for the user as well, because you have to keep dialling 1572 to see if a voice message has been left that might, just might, be important (at least 1571-compatible phones will check this for you and send an alert, or you hear the stuttered dial tone when you pick up the receiver which tells you there's a message waiting). And no, you can't deactivate the Voicemail element of Call Protect, which is an absolute pain! You also can't review your list of blocked numbers and unblock them using your telephone keypad - you have to do it online (not good for those without a 'My BT' account, which is most of those who only take a phone service from BT), whereas Choose to Refuse lets you do it over the phone. You can only "block" the last number that rang as well, whereas Choose to Refuse allows you to manually add a number.

All of this is why my parents cancelled Call Protect and went back to the tried-and-tested pairing of Choose to Refuse/Anonymous Call Reject. I was living with them at the time and saw for myself the difference between Call Protect and CTR/ACR. I have to say that ACR is more valuable than CTR, as CTR only allows you to block 10 numbers; it would be far better if BT followed TalkTalk's example and expanded that to 100 numbers (the maximum permitted with Call Protect). But clearly they have no interest in expanding the service and want to wind it down.

I hope that explains the differences and why I consider Call Protect to be inferior. It's certainly no better than those so-called "call-blocking" phones, which are now very common (and at least such phones allow you to deactivate callers' ability to leave a message, unlike Call Protect, meaning that Call Protect is inferior even to those).

You didn't answer my question about which call package you're on and whether you're on BT's traditional analogue phone service or the new Digital Voice (via broadband) version?

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