No More Dinnertime Telemarketing Calls
June 27, 2003 3:06 AM   Subscribe

No More Dinnertime Telemarketing Calls Finally, over the objections of the telemarketing industry and to the delight of every American who ever had a romantic dinner at home interrupted by some schlub with a headset, an autodialer and a terrible sales script, the National Do Not Call Registry is open for business.
posted by twsf (54 comments total)
 
Too bad this doesn't work for ex-wives! ;-P
posted by mischief at 3:50 AM on June 27, 2003


Quite a few exemptions: long-distance phone companies, airlines, banks and credit unions, the business of insurance, political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors.
posted by Ljubljana at 3:55 AM on June 27, 2003


I might be able to understand political organizations or charities (but not really), but how the Hell did phone companies (the WORST offenders), airlines, banks, insurance and telephone surveyors get exemptions?
posted by substrate at 4:40 AM on June 27, 2003


Naked political power, that's how. Still, this is a good start.
posted by Zonker at 4:43 AM on June 27, 2003


Anyone else having a problem getting to this site?
posted by MsVader at 4:44 AM on June 27, 2003


Substrate: they do say that "The FCC has initiated a rulemaking proceeding that would extend the National Do Not Call Registry to many of the businesses that are exempt from FTC coverage."

So maybe the FCC will save us! They're good guys, right?

*crickets*
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 4:54 AM on June 27, 2003


Try donotcall.gov instead of dodnotcall.gov.
posted by ursus_comiter at 4:54 AM on June 27, 2003


exemptions: ... telephone surveyors.

Muhahahaha! I'm still all evil and powerful and stuff!

Actually, I hope the FCC push through on those exceptions, or someone else does. Because if some jackhole is going to assume that I intentionally, via psychic powers, chose to call during his dinner time, and give me a huffy lecture about the new Federal Do Not Call thing, I want him to at least be right.
posted by cortex at 5:16 AM on June 27, 2003


Several months ago I signed up for Maine's version of this. I didn't expect it to do much, but I was pleasantly surprised; it seemed to help a great deal.
posted by JanetLand at 5:27 AM on June 27, 2003


I hate the telephone. Hate it. I resent people, even friends, who call me with the accursed device when it's anything but urgent.

I have, however, lived outside of North America or been on the road since the late 80's. I have as a result had a total of about half a dozen unsolicited, sales-type phone calls in my life, all of which from when I lived in Australia, and each of which spawned in my black heart such eye-popping apoplectic rage - how dare those bastards invade my sanctum? - that I simply cannot imagine the kind of constant hectoring from telemarketers it sounds as if most of you endure.

I would rather not have a phone at all.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:44 AM on June 27, 2003


Second what JanetLand said. I signed up for Pennsylvania's last November, and it's helped a lot. Pennsylvania's law has exemptions (politicians, charities), but fewer than in the federal bill.

I suspect the orcs telemarketers will try to game the system somehow, like by buying an affiliation with a charity ("Hello! I represent the Pennsylvania State Police Widows and Orphans Fund. I'm calling to let you know about a great opportunity to switch your long-distance service...") and it will be a continual cat-and-mouse game between the telemarketers, the regulators, the courts, and the legislature. Rather like what happened to the post-Watergate campaign finance reforms. Still, I think a Do Not Call list is a good thing, and better than not having a list at all.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 5:45 AM on June 27, 2003


Thanks ursus!
posted by MsVader at 5:48 AM on June 27, 2003


I hate the telephone. Hate it. I resent people, even friends, who call me with the accursed device when it's anything but urgent.

Hear, hear! The sooner they come up with a device that converts all incoming calls to email, the better.
posted by rushmc at 6:24 AM on June 27, 2003


why do people have to answer the phone during dinner? or when you are just plain busy? If I'm washing the dishes or having dinner, I don't drop what I'm doing to get to the phone. I just let the machine pick it up.

You don't have to be a slave to the phone if you don't want to be.
posted by evening at 6:25 AM on June 27, 2003


Stavros - It's really quite easy to get rid of the telemarketers. All you have to do, once you're sufficiently trained to be able to instantly identify them (not too hard really), is to shout out non-sequiturs without letting them get a word in edgewise, and then hang up:

"Oh my GOD! My pet RABBIT is on fire. I've got to GO!" (click)

"Oh my GOD! John Ashcroft has a huge ERECTION and he's coming after me! Gotta run!" (click)

Or, just "They're everywhere. Run!" (click)

Or, "I'm turning into grey goo. Aaaaaaah!!!" (click)

The more subtle approach:

"Ooops...just running out the door. Sorry." (click)

"Thank you very much for your time." (click)

The more aggressive approach - ask them personal questions:

"I'll only talk to you if you tell me about your sex life."

"Were you ever beaten with garden hoses and locked in a steamer trunk for 24 hours for "time-out", like when I was a kid? I really want to know if this was normal."


........I heard that just-passed "Anti-Spam" legislation empowers us, the victims, to stop spam. We can do this by contacting each spammer individually. The legislation had the support of Microsoft and AOL. Oh boy.
posted by troutfishing at 6:34 AM on June 27, 2003


troutfishing: I think we should just form a joint program operated by Orrin Hatch and the RIAA that tracks down individual computer users who transfer spam and have their computers destroyed.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:44 AM on June 27, 2003


Not Safe For Work Warning! - the second link in the post - the 'National Do Not Call Registry' one - has a typo in the url which takes you to a NSFW page on a site called 'ass.com' (which seems to be taking over the uninhabited parts of the internet quite quickly....)
posted by anastasiav at 6:49 AM on June 27, 2003


I'd like it if I could get to the site.
posted by agregoli at 6:57 AM on June 27, 2003


I always ask telemarketers "So, What are you wearing? No no, underneath?"

They usually hang up or continue on their script till I make *fap*fap* noises.
posted by oninochuck at 7:02 AM on June 27, 2003


Troutfishing -
I was always biased toward "Oh shit, gotta go, the dog's on fire...again!"
posted by notsnot at 7:27 AM on June 27, 2003


I just turn off my ringer and let all my calls go to voicemail. Then, whenever I feel like it, I check my messages.

If it's an emergency, the people who would need to call me can call my cell phone.

I never understood this whole phone problem.
posted by szg8 at 7:35 AM on June 27, 2003


So why is the site down? Has anyone signed up yet when it was working?
posted by agregoli at 7:48 AM on June 27, 2003


I thought it was illegal for marketers to leave messages, but here in DC it happens all the time ("Hello! This is not a sales call..."). WTF? Doesn't this fall under the same using-the-resources-of-the-target legislation that killed junk mail faxes (and, we hope one day, spam)...?
posted by gottabefunky at 7:51 AM on June 27, 2003


Sadly, my phone is also the buzzer for the front door, so I have no option of going phoneless (which I would happily do), nor do I have the option of not answering, as I love my friends and want them to visit.

It's been a good couple of days for this country.
posted by frykitty at 7:52 AM on June 27, 2003


Quick tip for getting rid of telemarketers: Don't wait for a polite moment to do so, don't wait for them to pause for breath, don't try to talk your way out of it, just HANG UP THE FREAKIN PHONE.

Works like a charm.
posted by signal at 7:54 AM on June 27, 2003


And I wonder how long it will be til some telemarketer sets up a fake site at www.dontcall.gov to harvest phone numbers...
posted by gottabefunky at 7:55 AM on June 27, 2003


I do phone work for a university, and some of the stuff we get is pretty weird. People inexplicably pick up the phone in the midst of very engaging activities.
If you're either doing something where you can't talk, or you're in a bad mood and don't want to talk, don't pick up the phone.
I personally don't answer my phone unless I'm almost certain I know who it is. That's what the answering machine is for. Leave a message and I'll call you back.
posted by sinical at 8:00 AM on June 27, 2003


I try to make myself pick up and ask them to remove me from the list, but I can hardly ever stomach it. My state isn't helping, so I hope the federal list stems the calls at least a little bit.
posted by Songdog at 8:03 AM on June 27, 2003


And I wonder how long it will be til some telemarketer sets up a fake site at www.dontcall.gov to harvest phone numbers...

Phone numbers and valid e-mail addys, gbf. Woo-hoo!
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:06 AM on June 27, 2003


If you're either doing something where you can't talk, or you're in a bad mood and don't want to talk, don't pick up the phone.

Yes. I do this to my friends, not just sales people. I grew up where phone service, while not non-existent, was poor enough that you didn't make a phone call unless you really needed to. It's better here in the US, of course, but my attitude toward phones as not being part of everyday life has carried over: I can easily ignore the ringer if I don't feel like talking at the moment, because the odds are pretty good the call is not important.

Also, for the longest time when i did answer a telemarketing call, I'd hang up immediately. While it limited the amount of time I was wasting, it didn't stop the telemarketing firm from calling back the next day or even later that evening. (Again, phone companies seem to be the most annoying and persistent offenders.) About six months ago, I tried a different tack; now I stay on the line long enough to tell the caller that we don't accept unsolicited sales calls, and to please put us on their "Don't Call" list. I believe (although I'm not sure) that they are required by law to do this, and this applies to all calls made by that telemarketing firm, not just to the particular client they're working for at the moment. Most of the callers have been polite and have said something like "All right, thank you for your time." And the number of calls from them has dropped to almost zero.

Just my experience. Your mileage may differ.
posted by deadcowdan at 8:14 AM on June 27, 2003


I also think it's funny that all the sidebar ads on this thread are for ways to get telemarketing phone lists. Sometimes determining ads based on keywords is not a good idea.
posted by deadcowdan at 8:18 AM on June 27, 2003


I used to just hang up on telemarketing calls. But then I got a call very early one Saturday morning (yes, I was hung over) from one of the local papers asking me if I wanted to buy a subscription. So I just hung up and rolled over. Not a minute later the phone rang again and the same telemarketer yelled "BITCH" into my ear before hanging up on me.

So now I'm all paranoid. I know I shouldn't care what the telemarketers think of me (especially since they obviously don't give a rat's ass about my privacy), but I can't help it. I'm such a sucker...
posted by MsVader at 8:42 AM on June 27, 2003


the phone rang again and the same telemarketer yelled "BITCH" into my ear

Now, see, this is why I can never go home again. 'cause that's the sort of thing that'd end up with me up on the clocktower with the automatic rifle.

Incontheivable! [/princess bride]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:51 AM on June 27, 2003


Ha ha, I just read that Yahoo is blocking the confirmation emails from donotcall.gov...as if it were, yep, unsolicited.
posted by tpl1212 at 9:07 AM on June 27, 2003


I never understood telemarketer resistance to this in the first place. After all, this gives them a list of people who aren't interested in whatever they have to offer, allowing them to concentrate instead on the truly gullible.

Frankly the exemption list is absurd: it covers at least 90% of the telemarketers I've ever encountered.
posted by ilsa at 9:17 AM on June 27, 2003


I just tell them I already get their long distance service/newspaper/whatever. Gets us off their list right quick.
posted by me3dia at 9:18 AM on June 27, 2003


anastasiav, I'd suggest you check your computer for viruses or spyware, or have a look at your hosts file... the second link points to dodnotcall.gov, which doesn't exist. If it's taking you to ass.com instead of just a "server not found" error -- especially if it's happening to you every time you enter a nonexistent url -- then I'd guess you're being redirected by some sneaky (if faintly amusing) evil code.

Just a guess. But you shouldn't be getting anything on that second link but dead air.
posted by ook at 9:20 AM on June 27, 2003


"troutfishing: I think we should just form a joint program operated by Orrin Hatch and the RIAA that tracks down individual computer users who transfer spam and have their computers destroyed. -posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:44 AM PST on June 27

XQUZYPHYR - You sound like a liberal to me - they'll just buy new computers. We'll need to put them in camps too.

Notsnot - I like that one.
posted by troutfishing at 9:31 AM on June 27, 2003


now I stay on the line long enough to tell the caller that we don't accept unsolicited sales calls, and to please put us on their "Don't Call" list. I believe (although I'm not sure) that they are required by law to do this, and this applies to all calls made by that telemarketing firm, not just to the particular client they're working for at the moment.

Yes, if you ask to be put on the "do not call" list, they are required by law (the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 among others) to place you on a "do not call" list. This applies to the company actually making the calls, not the client. If you ask to be placed on a company's "do not call" list and they call you back within the following year, you can take them to small claims court and sue 'em for $500 per call. Good times!
posted by bedhead at 9:32 AM on June 27, 2003


If you sign up for a credit card, I've heard you give them permission to sell your data, and since you've given them permission, they can legally call you, thereby ignoring this list. Anyone else heard the same?
posted by gramcracker at 10:27 AM on June 27, 2003


For those of you who hate telemarketing: Don't hang up on them. Sound very, very interested, ask them to hold on while you get your credit card/checkbook/whatever, and then just put the phone down. Leave it there, and go about your business.

Telemarketing relies on speed and quick turnaround time to make sales. If enough people do this, telemarketing will cease to be profitable.
posted by Jairus at 10:46 AM on June 27, 2003


According to news on NBC this morning, companies will be liable for $11K per phone call if they violate. Charities are exempt because they do not fall under the statute from which this is based.

Personally, I've never had a charity or politician call me. I did participate in a phone survey on state tax dispersment last week, and I had to keep telling the woman to slow down, I agreed to take the survey, and she was talking so fast I couldn't understand a word she was saying. Not sure if she was afraid I would hang up or trying to meet a quota.
posted by archimago at 11:23 AM on June 27, 2003


Jairus - I could swear that I found a link here on mefi that said to do just what you described. I'll be damned if I can find it though. Anyone else remember that?
posted by MsVader at 12:02 PM on June 27, 2003


Not sure if she was afraid I would hang up

I guarantee it's this one. But if you were you telling her she needed to slow down, she should have gotten clued in that you weren't going to hang up on minute three.
posted by claxton6 at 12:08 PM on June 27, 2003


Jairus - I could swear that I found a link here on mefi that said to do just what you described. I'll be damned if I can find it though. Anyone else remember that?

Here.
posted by Wet Spot at 1:40 PM on June 27, 2003


Nationally, the outbound telemarketing industry has 1
million employees in call-related jobs.


Yes, there's quite an exemption list, but this will certainly squeeze telemarketers, who are usually among the disadvantaged underclass, out of work. I mean, few people do telemarketing to boost their family income from $150,000 to $170,000. So this move will likely affect those who need work most.

Which is totally cool with me, as an insensitive libertarian jerk, but I'm surprised I haven't seen this opinion on a thread that's 45 comments old.
posted by trharlan at 1:47 PM on June 27, 2003


now won't everyone be pissed if that website turns out to be a giant email harvesting operation that sells your phone number too.
posted by faithnomore at 3:18 PM on June 27, 2003


> Not sure if she was afraid I would hang up

I guarantee it's this one. But if you were you telling her she needed to slow down, she should have gotten clued in that you weren't going to hang up on minute three.

Amen. She was probably brand new, though. If it was a survey dealing with something topical like that, she was probably one of several temps hired to meet the temporary need.
posted by cortex at 3:28 PM on June 27, 2003


I wonder how long it will be til some telemarketer sets up a fake site at www.dontcall.gov

As a civilian, ever try registering a .gov domain?
posted by moonbiter at 4:42 PM on June 27, 2003


tpl1212, thnx for the tip, now I know what happened. I'll try again, this time not Yahoo.
posted by MzB at 6:01 PM on June 27, 2003


"...few people do telemarketing to boost their family income from $150,000 to $170,000. So this move will likely affect those who need work most...I'm surprised I haven't seen this opinion on a thread that's 45 comments old."

I have no problem with inbound telemarketing (answering 1-800-whatever calls), but as soon as you start calling me at home, you've infringed on my right to be left the fuck alone, so I don't care if outbound telemarketers all starve to death.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:26 PM on June 27, 2003


Anybody remember the 'British Telecom' phone solicitor recording which made the rounds a few years ago? You can find it here - look for 'British Telecom'...still chuckleworthy...perhaps even Stavrosian...
posted by Opus Dark at 7:26 PM on June 27, 2003


who are usually among the disadvantaged underclass, out of work. I mean, few people do telemarketing to boost their family income from $150,000 to $170,000. So this move will likely affect those who need work most.

I second that. This goes hand in hand with the minimum wage thread. I went from a very nice middle class income to zero due to the economy, and telemarketing was there for me in my desperate state. Sure, they're some of the most hated people in the world, but they gotta put food on the table too.

I don't have a home phone, i have a cell phone. A common rule now is that if the person a telemarketer calls is on a cell phone, that person is to be removed from the calling list immediately. The company that i worked for goes through disciplinary steps if that's not followed through, so it's usually a good thing to tell them, even if you're not on a mobile.
posted by schlaager at 11:20 PM on June 27, 2003


Can they tell if you lie about that?
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:46 AM on June 28, 2003


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