damn telemarketers
February 27, 2003 5:31 AM   Subscribe

Thought you were rid of the telemarketers? Perhaps not. It looks like they're fighting back to items like the TeleZapper that fake telemarketers into thinking your phone is disconnected by playing the three tones you get if your phone doesn't work. Castel, Inc claims their DirectQuest software defeats devices like Telezapper by reading the connect messages delivered by your public switched telephone network. Fave quote - “It’s a privacy arms race.." Will this ever end?
posted by djspicerack (17 comments total)
I love how they keep saying "we don't want to call people who don't want us to call them" yet they do stuff like this. Are they losing sight of their goal of effeciantly marketing for their clients to willing customers and adopting an adversarial mentality?
posted by Space Coyote at 5:34 AM on February 27, 2003

Surely anybody who has gone out of their way to buy a TeleZapper isn't likely to buy anything from a telemarketer anyway?

In Britain, we have a national "do not call" list, which works brilliantly. I can't remember the last time I got a junk call.
posted by salmacis at 6:08 AM on February 27, 2003

I have caller ID and reveal service (forces them to enter a phone number if it is not picked up my Caller ID service). If it is not a phone number I recognize, I don't answer the phone. If it's important, they'll leave a message or phone again.
posted by benjh at 6:30 AM on February 27, 2003

I know it's a racket, but the privacy director service from Bellsouth has made me a very happy person. It works with Caller ID. If a phone number is blocked or unknown, privacy director answers the phone and makes the caller record who they are. It then rings our phone (with Privacy Director on the caller ID), you answer and it replays the recorded message. If you want to answer, press 1, if you want to ignore, press 2 and it'll hang up on them, if you want to never be called by them again (sales call), press 3 and it'll play a recorded message back to them saying, "Please place this number on your do not call list." After a month of use, I was sold, I'd pay whatever they wanted to keep the service. Still wouldn't mind a national "do not call" list, though.
posted by jdiaz at 6:52 AM on February 27, 2003

There are some ultra-libertarians who would absolutely oppose a legal solution when technological ones are available. Although I have some libertarian leanings, I also believe that in some cases--such as spammers and telemarketers--the legal solution is the best one (or, at the very least, a combination of legal and technological means for handling the problem). This is just a demonstration of why technological means are sometimes insufficient--it leads to a never-ending technological arms race. I don't have the TeleZapper. I do live in a state which has a do not call list, and I have not received one telemarketing call since I put my number on it, save for a few charities (which are exempt from the law, for better or for worse).
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:52 AM on February 27, 2003

Fine. I have a new anti-telemarketer measure. I like to call it the "Fox 40" method. Simply utilize this handy, ultra low cost device any time you receive a harassing phone call and you be assured they won't call back.

Perhaps I'll put them in boxes, call them countermeasures and charge $80 like the TeleZapper!
posted by shepd at 7:07 AM on February 27, 2003

I'm sorry, I have to say this. Here's how you handle a telemarketer, (just got one while I was writing this, LOL!) all you do is

1. Interrupt them after you KNOW it's a telemarketer
2. Say the following "I'm not interested, don't ever call me again."
3. Hang up quickly

That's it. Rude? Yup, but who the hell gave them permission to call you.
posted by CrazyJub at 7:13 AM on February 27, 2003

In Britain, we have a national "do not call" list, which works brilliantly. I can't remember the last time I got a junk call.

I'm not on this list and I barely get any calls. In fact, I think the last one was about 2 years ago.

I think this is down to the fact that it costs telemarketeers to call us (rather than vice versa). Say what you want about the pro's and con's of the US way of telephone call billing - but telemarketing thing is one very big con.
posted by ralawrence at 7:13 AM on February 27, 2003

Here's how you handle a telemarketer [...]

In the rare instances I get telemarketing calls (a big THANK YOU to the State of Indiana!) I use a similar method, although my step #2 consists of "Wait, let me get a pen!"
posted by moonbiter at 7:49 AM on February 27, 2003

benjh & jdiaz: except now the gits are going to be able to fake whatever caller ID they want. loverly innit? (actually anyone with their own PBX pretty much already has that ability...)

add in things like the "friends and family" scam or the fact that your telco is allowed to sell these sleazebags your incoming call records (you did take the time to opt-out of that, yes?) ...and you will probably start getting telemarketer calls where the ID says it's your moms.

legal? heh, what do they care about legal.

still the best practical solution for privacy: pre-paid cell service. the cell part means no tele-losers and the pre-paid part means the telco has no info of yours to go whoring around with.
posted by dorian at 9:02 AM on February 27, 2003

I stopped getting telemarketing phone calls after I started getting cash settlements from telemarketers instead of taking them to small claims court for violating FCC codes. (It was cheaper to settle.) I did a little online research on the many anti telemarketing sites and recorded names, dates, and times in notebook by the phone. Then I kept after the companies who didn't stop calling me and I got money from local aluminum siding installers, long distance companies, and large corporations whose stocks are listed on the NYSE. One year I made a few thousand $ US and went to Hawaii! Now I'm on some kind of "Psycho! Danger Will Robinson!" kind of list and don't get calls anymore.
posted by Dinzie at 9:20 AM on February 27, 2003

I have not received one telemarketing call since I put my number on it, save for a few charities

this is exactly the problem with legal solutions. the monkeys making the laws (and the wealthy lobbies telling the little monkey paws what to write) just don't get it:

it's not about content, it's about consent.

but the DMA and all of the other idiotic "permission based marketing" scams^wgroups are there at the drop of a pen to remind the gubmint that "oh no, we're the responsible ones, what we do isn't spam/unethical/etc."

I'd like to believe that spam/telemarketing laws will have a positive effect, but I also fear that all that they are going to achieve is to clear the small-time roadkill out of the road and make more room for the mainsleaze.

want a legal solution? here's one: national opt-in list. and by opt-in, I mean very well-confirmed opt-in, so that no one could fake a record of you having opted in. not on the list? can't call them, and stiff penalties for doing so. and make damned sure that phone #s can't "opt" themselves in automagically when you open an account at the telco. and be able to remove yourself from the list at whim over the phone in 30 seconds or less, none of this "send us postal mail -- may take 3 to 4 weeks to be removed" shite.

heh, want to bet whether the marketeers and telcos would support that?

Dinzie: you rock! I keep trying to do that, but the slime seem to have wised up and refuse to give out their company name and phone #, even though federal law requires it. guess I need to pretend to be interested and tease it out of them...
posted by dorian at 9:50 AM on February 27, 2003

I have SBC's privacy manager service, and it sounds exactly like the privacy director service mentioned above. And personally, it's been well worth the cost. Although I have noticed lately that I've gotten a few more telemarketers that the caller id comes up (Talk.com has been a consistant culprit, unfortunately I haven't taken good records of when I told them not to call).

Most of the do not call lists that have been created in some states (and especially the federal one that's in teh works), have been so riddled with exceptions I'm not convinced they're going to be real effective. Banks, insurance companies, phone companies, charities, and political campaigns are all exempt. Hell, the worst offenders always seem to be the damn phone companies. (And they often refuse to admit that they're soliciting you, even when they are, I had SBC deny that they were trying to sell me anything when I asked them, then turn right around and continue the spiel trying to sell me additional services).

If I had better cell phone reception in the house, I'd probably drop the home phone. It's just not worth the hassle.
posted by piper28 at 10:51 AM on February 27, 2003

Caller ID - I pick up if I recognize the number, but sometimes I'll go ahead and pick up if it's an 'unknown number'. Usually I'll get a couple of seconds of dead silence, then I'll hear the telemarketer pick up on the other end.

And I say "Goodbye" and hang up the phone.

posted by JB71 at 12:41 PM on February 27, 2003

I tell them that, in order to talk to me, the call will cost 5 dollars a minute and to please provide me with a valid credit card number. After they say, "huh?", I tell them to fuck off and die {click}. I usually feel much better.
posted by Witty at 1:05 PM on February 27, 2003

I'm sorry, I have to say this. Here's how you handle a telemarketer, (just got one while I was writing this, LOL!) all you do is

1. Interrupt them after you KNOW it's a telemarketer
2. Say the following "I'm not interested, don't ever call me again."
3. Hang up quickly

Well, here is my semi-annual reposted comment on this:

Crazyjub: Your method will not work, because you didn't use the "magic words" that require telemarketers to take you off their calling list. Screaming, hanging up, saying "not interested", etc. - none of those methods will EVER work. Learn it, love it, live it:

"Put this name and number on your DO NOT CALL list." [Click]
posted by jca at 1:42 PM on February 27, 2003

Time is money. "Can you hold on for a minute" is the correct response to telemarketers who make it past the caller ID and privacy manager. Say the magic words, put the phone down and go back to whatever you're doing. If you're really mean, go back to the phone five minutes later and say "are you still there?" If you get a response, say "I'll be right back".
posted by filifera at 7:53 PM on February 27, 2003

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