I use a company called Viatalk and since it’s a VoIP, it comes with a lot of free features that either aren’t available with landlines or you have to pay extra for. I especially love the Incoming Call Routing feature that Viatalk has. It gives you a lot of flexibility in handling incoming calls from specific numbers. It’s really helpful for blocking telemarketers or other unwanted callers. For example, you can make calls go straight to voicemail, give a busy signal, or play a handful of different messages. You can play a “disconnected” message that plays the recording you get from the phone company when you call an invalid number. You can even play a “blacklisted” message that literally tells the caller they’ve been blocked and to “go away”!
I’ve been using this feature a lot with some annoying and persistent debt collectors. Just to be clear, I don’t actually have any delinquent debt. They call every 2-3 days, sometimes twice a day, and it’s been going on for about 6 months now. A few times I’ve accidentally picked up and they asked for someone that’s not even me so they clearly have the wrong number. It’s often a recording with a name voiced in and it even says if you’re not this person then hang up. But they just keep calling, often at night or very early in the morning. They also do it through different numbers and different shell companies. It’s very annoying because the person they’re trying to collect from isn’t me.
For one thing, whether it’s my cell phone or home phone, I never answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize. If it’s important enough, or if it’s actually someone I know trying to reach me, they will leave voicemail. So I just block the debt collectors’ numbers every time. It’s actually very easy to do an online search for a number. If it’s a telemarketer or other unwanted caller, you’ll find info on it. So this incoming call routing feature has been awesome because my phone won’t even ring when they call. No longer will a debt collector wake me up at 7 am on a Saturday morning.