Residential White Pages phone numbers. Why do we have to pay for removing our details?

Why do you have to pay Sensis to NOT have your name & phone number printed in their residential white pages or in their online directory. I have paid Sensis for years to not include my details but I’d like to know why I have to continue to pay them. As an aside not having your details printed in either the white pages residential or in their online book really cuts down dramatically the nuisance calls I receive.


It reads like you have “silent line service” and pay maybe $2.93 per month for the [Telstra] “service”? (just guessing)

According to Sensis FAQs you get removed through your telecom provider, not them. Ring your telecom provider who is charging you, tell them you do not want to be listed but do not want a silent number (a silent number is more than just not being listed) and see how you go.

I suspect the helpful agent on the phone might be less than helpful to give up revenue, but stand your ground. I am unlisted (not Telstra) and never paid a cent.


As Phil (@PhilT) said. It is up to your carrier.

The historical reason is that the White & Yellow pages were part of what is now Telstra. Prior to 1993 their trading name was Telecom Australia.

Telecom Australia, and then Telstra being the monopoly carrier gouged for every penny they could, and used to charge customers not to have their names listed. Possibly this was because if my memory serves me correctly; in the early days actual living breathing people were responsible for manually removing details from the database Telstra provided of all of their connections. Another area did all the corrections. This is why it took so long to process and was so error prone.

Now days Telstra & Sensis still seem to be in the same monopolistic mindset where they believe they can largely ignore their customers and charge a premium for their services.

Back to your issue… If you have a valid privacy reason for wanting to be removed, many carriers will do so for free if you approach them, as Phil suggested.


I get really cranky when I receive ‘cold calls’ eg for solar, my computer being faulty and they represent microsoft , etc… Its almost always during mealtime. I found that having registered not to receive sales calls was useless. but paying nearly $3 a month for privacy is an outrage. Can’t win.

Scammers are not inclined to follow any rules or laws. Microsoft will NEVER cold call a consumer about anything.


Some of the robot calling which scammers and some sales organisations use go by increment increases in phone numbers…e.g. will call 12345678 and then will call 12345679 etc. Having a private number will mean nothing to such calls as your number will eventually come up in the sequence.

Scammers however appear to be using bought phone number lists to get the initial and last name of the person who holds the phone, in attempt to make their scam calls sound more genuine.

For any cold calling, never give your personal details or credit card details. Never confirm your details. Also never allow them to send you an email or access your computer remotely. Only scammers will do such.

In relation to solar cold calling, it is possibly also a scam.…likewise with Telstra and Microsoft cold calling.


I find a referee’s whistle next to the phone works wonders. One blast and they suddenly hang up and don’t want to call you.


When I answer the phone and there is silence or a chime, I then answer it again with my name followed by ‘solar and electrical’. The clever callers then apologise and hang up. The not-so-clever ones stick to their script. If they are flogging solar panels or to change my energy supplier, I point out that I am in the business (I’m not) and that generally ends the call, but the really dumb ones keep going until I annoy them and they hang up.
On the odd occasion when they are trying to get me to change my phone service supplier, I talk over them and try and sell them solar panels.
On the odd occasion when they are calling from Microsoft or Telstra’s technical department directly (ie, no pause or chime) to assist me with a problem with my Windows computer or BigPond internet access, I play along right up to the time when I can’t find the Windows button (not one on my Mac) and the light suddenly dawns after maybe 10 minutes that they are wasting their time. Great fun (you can probably tell that I have too much time on my hands).


My favourite trick for the last one where they pretend to be from Microsoft about “your PC”, play along with a Japanese accent (or as close as you can get and pretend you’ve got a PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16 game console) and mention some of the games you (don’t) have on it to see how long it takes for them to realise you’ve been playing them for a fool the whole damn time you’ve been wasting their and keeping them unable to scam others.

1 Like

Wouldn’t work for me, I’m afraid; the only games I know are Solitaire and Bejewelled.

1 Like

I start with my finest faux Indian English and ask if they are working in Mumbai or Bangalore, then if they know [name withheld] who also works for Microsoft. From there it is all ad lib chit chat and usually entertaining. Good fun.

1 Like

I agree - it is is entirely the policy of the phone service provider to charge for a silent number. Some phone service suppliers don’t charge for having a silent number. Shop around! (Or ask nicely…)

1 Like

thank you petermac, shall try to outfox them like you.

1 Like

We had a silent line at our previous residence which cost $2.93/month. We recently moved house and decided to go with mobiles only. Our home line is part of a Telstra Internet bundle. When I said we would not need the landline I was told it was required as part of the internet service (we’re on NBN) and we would continue to be charged for the silent line or our details would be published, albeit anyone ringing the number would not get an answer. So in effect they expect us to pay for a service we’re never going to use. I said that when the contract expired in 3 months I would be voting with my feet which brought a change of attitude. Finally settled it when I mentioned that I am a retired law enforcement officer. Apparently if you have a good reason to keep the number private they will drop the silent line charge.


We use the built-in answering machine on our home land line to eliminate sales calls. The answering machine is always on, we can still pick up calls from people we do want to speak to, and any presumed sales calls hang up as soon as they hear the answering machine message. Works every time.

posted elsewhere by @NubglummerySnr

1 Like