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Telemarketers and Cell Phones?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the don't-try-and-sell-me-something-on-MY-dime dept.

News 569

jjshoe asks: "I have received one bumbling voice mail from a woman who seemed very confused as to why I wasn't there, like her auto dialer transfered her call to my cellphone in time for my voice mail, one missed call, and one in which I actually talked to the woman. My concern is that this all costs me minutes, which of course equals money. What laws are out there for me? What bills are out there waiting to head their way towards becoming laws? What can I do to be compensated for time? After I screamed at the tele-marketer lady she said she would mark me as a wrong number, but I still don't believe this is enough." Considering most tele-marketers use auto-dialers, would it be so hard to grab the definitive list of area-code/extensions that are exclusively used for cellular phones and just apply that to their dial-out lists?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's website was the only site I could find that had any information on cellphones and solicitation.

Note the first question from 'JOHN PUHATCH':

Q: Regarding the sole use of wireless phones as an alternative to a land line connection, as I have done for nearly two years: You stated that tele-marketers do not call wireless phones. If only that were the case. Tele-marketing agencies have regularly contacted me on my cell phone concerning everything from vacation homes to long-distance service. My assumption is that these agencies secure my cell phone number by buying information from the plethora of forms and applications that require home telephone numbers but leave no place for a cell phone.
And the answer basically amounts to, although we do have some protections, we can still be screwed:
'A: [...]In short, John, you lost your chance at a telemarketing-free life when you filled out those forms with your phone number. May others learn from your mistake.'
Does anyone have any advice on things I can do to get these tele-marketers to stop calling on my cellphone?"

Most land-based phone companies allow anonymous-call blocks these days. Are there cellular phone companies doing anything similar?

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CLITTY FP (-1, Offtopic)

krog (25663) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817633)

at +1 niggaz


Re:CLITTY FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817833)

The CLiT is no more.
Our well informed sources report that the
CUNT was circumized according to fundamentalist
islamic traditions.
There weren't any more details.
I think the whole slashdot crowd will miss her.

02 + 20 = 22 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817641)

= fp

Cherish my balls

I did this for a living (0, Troll)

SLASHDOT EDlTOR (589794) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817656)

The margin is great, basically, the costs are carried by the consumer. Additionlly, with the proliferation of plans out there, agreeing to telemarketing calls will part of activation. Win Win for us. You may not like it, but that is the way it is.

Re:I did this for a living (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817703)

you jack ass

Do not call list (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817730)

Actually, you can tell them to put you on a do not call list per telemarketer. Then, if that telemarketer calls you again, you can sue them in small claims court for your minutes and damages. Some skip tracing should help you find the offending company so that you can recover the money. It is even better if it is a local outfit calling you.

Re:Do not call list (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817746)

But you have to request this of each and every fucking telemarketing company that decides to call.

Telemarketing companies should be put to death. Not the employees, most of which are merely ignorant and desperate. Just the owners.

My cell phone stinks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817658)

Because I rub it all over my sweaty balls.... how come this helps reception though?

Re:My cell phone stinks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817763)

my balls smell like Salse Verde flavor Doritos. seriously.

To quote duke nukem... (0, Offtopic)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817663)

..."Kill 'em all and let god sort'em out"

BTW - Anyone that says "I did this for a living" is a blatant troll. Don't fall for it.

you geek (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817705)

duke nukem isn't the original source of that quote.

Re:you geek (0, Offtopic)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817741)

yeah, john wayne was, but I forgot which movie.

john wayne (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817868)

It was in his epic work Dallas does John Wayne. The original quote was "stuff all those penises up my ass and let me sort them out".

Re:john wayne (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817892)

You sure that wasn't Upright Citizen's Brigade?

Re:To quote duke nukem... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817706)

Anyone with "SLASHDOT EDITOR" as a nick is a blatant troll. You don't even need to read the rest of the post.

How valuable is your time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817665)

Look on the bright side. If you're billed for the call, there's gonna be a paper trail back to the telemarketer. Charged them a couple hundred bucks an hour for your time.

telemarketers are good (4, Funny)

squarefish (561836) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817668)

just ask this guy. []

Don't answer (4, Interesting)

sllort (442574) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817675)

My cell phone is my only phone. When you have "home phone" as a required field on most order forms, you have to give out something. Then, later, someone calls to sell you a hotel vacation, or Viagra. You can tell them it's your cell phone, and ask them where you can bill them for your minutes, but they just hang up on you.

These days, I just don't answer blocked ID's, and my voicemail says so. You need a valid caller ID to call me. Yes, it's pathetic and sub-optimal, but it's the system our lawmakers have left us with. Pay to be harassed, or become unavailable.

Of course, I always buy the Viagra, so it's not that bad a deal.

Re:Don't answer (3, Insightful)

dattaway (3088) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817926)

You can tell them it's your cell phone, and ask them where you can bill them for your minutes, but they just hang up on you.

I did this. They didn't hang up. But I did find out it was FirstUSA who gave out my number. After telling them I wished to be put on their no call list, they told me it would be three months before that would take effect. I told them this was unacceptable.

I also learned that these no call lists are only valid for one year at which time they can opt me right back in. Nine months of no calls by that *one* company? It was a coincidence that I was over my airtime minutes that month and paid 25 cents a minute for that nonsense. No thanks.

I promptly cancelled my credit card and the calls still came rolling in. It was satisfying to tell them why I was cancelling my card. That didn't stop the calls either. My final solution was to change my phone number. Other companies know this is my "home" phone number, yet I haven't been getting calls since.

Re:Don't answer (5, Informative)

gid (5195) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817945)

These days, I just don't answer blocked ID's, and my voicemail says so.

I'd love to do that, but unfortunately my sister's cell phone shows up as a "blocked id" she's in PIttsburgh w/ Nokia and I'm Gaithersburg, Maryland w/Sprint PCS. Kinda annoying, because if it weren't for that, I'd wouldn't answer blocked id's.

My current solution is once that I sniff that's it's a sales call, which usually takes me all of 2 seconds after noticing that no one greets with "hello" right away, because most sales calls are made by a machine that does dialing, once it determines that it's a person on the line, it passes the call to a human who does the talking, which can take a bit. Anyway I simply respond with "This is a cell phone, please don't call this number again".

For the above reason of how sales calls are placed I know some phone companies can give you a spam trap. Which basically means everytime someone calls you, the phone company takes the calls, asks the caller to press 1 to talk to a person, and then passes the call on to you. I had a friend who lives in Key West that had this feature, I wish more phone companies did, or maybe they do, and I just don't know.

Re:Don't answer (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817965)

"You can tell them it's your cell phone, and ask them where you can bill them for your minutes, but they just hang up on you."

I have a feeling that would be as effective as asking them where you can bill them for the use of your land line (which you also have to pay for). You're the one that gave them your phone number, you're the one that answered, and so the telemarketers feel content in placing the blame on your shoulders.

Not sure about laws... (1)

Matt2000 (29624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817678)

... but I don't think there is a definitive list of prefixes that are for cell phones only. For example, in the NYC area the prefix 646 is for land lines and for cell phones.

For the time being immediately ask for them to place you on your do not call list and at least they won't call you back.

Re:Not sure about laws... (2)

InnereNacht (529021) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817711)

Really? That sucks in a bad way.

Here (Wisconsin, Fox Valley area) we have a definitive list of prefixes that are only available for cellphones. I'd always assumed that it was the same way for everyone (just so it could be policed in some way).

mmm... (0)

mclaren_1010 (541130) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817684)

"keep looking shocked and move closer to the cake"

-Homer Simpson

Er, what? (2)

InnereNacht (529021) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817685)

Last I checked telemarketers weren't allowed to use cellphone ranges for phone spam (unless you somehow opt in, which I'd suppose theres a great chance of).

If I got a call on my cell with some "company" offering services to me, you'd bet that I'd be demanding to speak to management and taking down their name and number.

I think with some phone providers you can actually report those calls to them too and get a possible refund, or get the business blocked.

Works for me.... (2)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817691)

I tell them I'm on a cellphone and it's illegal for them to call cellphones in accordance with the 1997 Telecom Act, since we end up paying for the minutes. Then I tell them I'm a telecommunications consultant for Qwest/XO/Whoever. I then tell them to take me off the list, ask who they are, and them tell them that I am reporting them to my local Public Utilities Commission.

That should work. (No idea if it REALLY works or if its even correct, but if they're calling my spamming my cellphone, screw 'em.)

Cell Phone Area Codes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817697)

"would it be so hard to grab the definitive list of area-code/extensions that are exclusively used for cellular phones and just apply that to their dial-out lists"

Unfortunately, this would not work in most cities, as area codes are used for both mobile and land-line numbers.

Re:Cell Phone Area Codes (1)

Delphix (571159) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817860)

The Area code yes, but the prefix (first three numbers) is never split between land phones and cell phones... If the phone book can list what's local and what's extended area based on prefix, you can be sure telemarketers could get a list of cell phone prefixes and not call them. The only thing i'm curious about is this. For all those claiming to have only a cell phone and no home phone, how exactly did you sign up? My cell phone company (SprintPCS) requires you to have a home phone number... and they really mean it.

Get rid of telemarketers for good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817698)

When a telemarketer calls, have them put you on their "do not call list." This is a differnt thing than "take me off your list."

Whenever the marketing company buys a new list of numbers, they are required to remove all the numbers that have been placed on their "do not call list."

I have been living without telemarketers for two years now.

Opt-out lists (1)

wompser (165008) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817699)

You know, here in Washington State (through the Attorney General's office) we have an opt-out list for SPAM. Sign up to the list, and mass-emailers must (required by law) cross check their lists against the list the Attorney General has registered. In theory, a great program.

The with the proposed cell phone registry is just the same as with the e-mail list: It does not work.

Junkbusters Telemarketing Tips (5, Informative)

akiy (56302) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817701)

Some good information on decreasing the number of junk phone calls you get located here [] .

A magical phrase is, "Place me on your do not call list."

Cell Phones + Telemarketers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817708)

I've received exactly one telemarketer call on my cell since I got it. My land line gets deluged by them, however. My solution was to turn off the ringer on my land line and use my cell phone as my primary number. No more annoying phone calls peddling crap while I try to eat!

Plus, I can still always use the land phone for outgoing calls.

State Laws (1)

lionchild (581331) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817710)

The state of Missouri has a no-call list you can get your number put on, and when they call you after that, it's a minimum $500 fine for each call.

I recently had a call on my work cell phone. I simply told the operator when she asked for the owner of the house that she had called a mobile phone, there was no house. She thanked me, appologized, and hung up.

MO no call (2, Interesting)

Maledictus (52013) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817813)

The Missouri no call list is fantastic. I've extolled its virtues to many of my friends and neighbors. Since both of my land lines (a personal line and a fax line that SWBT doesn't know is a business line...heheh...) are on the attorney general's list, I've recieved very few telemarketing calls. And the ones I've received were probably from companies that are exempt - credit card companies, for example.

Plus, Missouri prosecutes violators. Gotta love that.

However, as far as I know, the Missouri law does not cover cell phones. In fact, we tried to put our cell on the list, the no-call folks called back and said that since it was a cell, it couldn't be on the list. But - as other posters have pointed out - I believe that in my area cell phones are automatically off of call lists anyway. And in the case of my specific area, the *area* *code* may be the same as land lines, but the *exchange* (that second set of 3 numbers) is different for cells. Thus marking cell numbers and putting them out of bounds for telemarketers.

We've not recieved one solitary telemarketing call on our cell.

But as always, milage varies.

Holy Whiny Consumers, Batman! (0, Troll)

Robinn (590048) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817713)

What's this? More whining on Ask Slashdot! Can it be true that telemarketers get your phone number when you enter it on forms? I know I never use the batphone number when signing up for pr0n sites, and so far, the only voice mails we get are from Commissioner Gordon. And that's as it should be.

Also, it strikes me that voicemail is an optional service, so no one is really forced into spending any minutes listening to it. Can you confirm, Batman?

If the cellular phone companies are indeed up to no good, then we should set them straight. But I don't want this to be a case of wrongful accusations.

Re:Holy Whiny Consumers, Batman! (0, Troll)

Batmann (590046) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817772)

Quick thinking, Robin. I've seen this kind of whining on Ask Slashdot before as well, and it has always spelt trouble. I also am very careful about who I give my business cards to. Actually, I only printed one, and Commissioner Gordon has it. As you've noted, the batphone number has stayed secret.

What's more, the suggestion from Cliff about blocking telemarketing calls to cellular phone area codes is a poor one. Sometimes area codes are shared by cellular and land lines, as in the case of the 917 area code here in Gotham.

I think this is indeed a false accusation, Robin. I'm not completely convinced that the wireless service and telemarketing industries aren't fronts for one of our old foes, but if we try to go after them on these trumped-up charges, we're the fools.

Re:Holy Whiny Consumers, Batman! (2)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817836)

Area codes may be, but exchanges are NOT. Exchanges are assigned to a provider for one purpose. Cellular/PCS, pager, and land line should ALL be separate.

Re:Holy Whiny Consumers, Batman! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817869)

BZZZT. wrong. i know of at least one case where i used to live where a friend's cell phone number was in the same exchange as my landline.

Redirecting home phones to mobiles. (3, Insightful)

Saggi (462624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817718)

Even if you mask out mobile numbers for the auto diallers, several telecompanies are providing a combined service that will redirect you home phone to you mobile. In that case you will end up receiving the message on you mobile phone anyway.

In regards to time, I'll usually just say goodbye...

But time is an issue. Just think about spam, commercials, etc... but I believe it would only cloud up things if we should start making new laws. What about using existing laws about harassment.

Its illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817719)

See You can sue for $500 every time a company calls your cell phone. This is a national law--the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.

Damn cell companies... (1)

Lokni (531043) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817721)

I am a user of Sprint PCS, as is my dad, my mom, my sister, and my girlfriend. Each one of use regularly receive calls that flash an "Unkown ID" on the caller id screen, and every time we answer the call it quickly hangs up. Each time it does this I am charged a minute. While I have plentiful minutes, how about the people that regularly go over their minutes? Is the PCS company using autodialers to generate revenue?

Re:Damn cell companies... (2)

MattRog (527508) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817806)

This phenomenon has been routinely happening to me now for the past week or so. I let it roll over into voicemail today and it is some automated recording, although it takes so long to get into the recording area that all I get are the last 3 digits of the phone number and to call them between some hours central standard time.

Totally bizzare!

Re:Damn cell companies... (1)

swfranklin (578324) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817912)

I've read that a common tactic for telemarketers now is to use equipment that is designed to hang up if a live person answers. They want to talk only to your answering machine or voice mail. I guess the theory is that you might be inclined to listen to the whole message.

Re:Damn cell companies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817944)

Get a different plan. Incoming calls less than a minute should *always* be no charge, for things like wrong numbers, hangups, etc. But of course, I had a Sprint PCS phone for a while. By far the WORST customer experience I ever had with a telecom company or ISP.

Rare occurrence. (2, Informative)

flamingchicken (151414) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817724)

Being someone that installs and services auto-dialers I can say for a fact that if you get a marketing call on a cell phone it is a mistake. It is illegal for them to call your cell phone because of the very fact that it directly costs you money. I have not had a marketer call me in 2 years because I have only a cell phone. The people who make number lists for auto dialers cross-reference their list with a list of cell phone number blocks. Most of the time the mistakes are made by small in-house call centers.

$$$ Money money, money $$$ (2)

gambit3 (463693) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817726)

IIRC, I read somewhere that the reason that telemarketers don't call cell phones is because most plans are "per-minute", meaning that time you spend on the phone is time that's costing you, unlike the flat-fee for unlimited phone usage on your house phone.

Because of this, telemarketers could be held monetarily liable for the minutes (which equal $$$ in mobile phone plans) that you "lost" talking to them.

Re:$$$ Money money, money $$$ (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817837)

But why on earth do you have a cell phone where _you_ pay for incoming calls?! The caller pays for the call on a land line, so how can you accept getting billed for someone calling you? Or I have misunderstood the whole piece, and you have forwarding to your cell phone from your land line or something... /Janne

Follow the Money (1)

philovivero (321158) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817732)

You will never stop receiving unsolicited bulk advertising in any medium until it is cheaper to not send unsolicited bulk advertising to you in that medium.

This includes cellphones, mail, email, pagers, and banner ads.

Anytime I receive a call on my cellphone from a telemarketer, I say: "This is a cellphone" and hang up.

What you need to do is ensure that your cellphone provider realises you want to use your cellphone to not receive advertising. If you do receive it, of course tell the person it's a cellphone and hang up, but then contact your phone provider and tell them you just lost a minute to a telemarketer, and you want that minute credited to your account.

Ask also to have a free service that blocks telemarketing calls (ie: as the submitter mentions, a way to block calls from callers who've masked their phone number).

Same Problem (1)

mattyohe (517995) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817734)

I purchaced a phone and plan from SprintPCS only a month ago and recived a very simular voice mail. Sounds like telemarketing spam is soon to hit cell phones. Why is this not illegal?

Re:Same Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817872)

It is illegal. It's illegal for telemarketers to call cell phones and for them to leave messages on any kind of answering machine or voice mail system.

Get a dedicated voicemail number (2, Informative)

BlingBlings (461325) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817736)

If all you have is your cellphone and no home phone # like me, get a dedicated Voicemail number, they're like $5 a month and you can make it seem like its your home number with an answering machine. Give this number out as your home number on everything, then just check it every so often. Don't ever give out your cell number. It's cheaper than having a home phone line and you can give it to everyone, even credit card companies, which are the worst telemarketing offenders.

Impediments to telemarketing reform (-1, Flamebait)

Ali Jenab (565034) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817738)

I worked my way through college by selling life insurance over the phone to cold customers (a.k.a. telemarketing). I know that what I did was wrong, but that job taught me volumes about the industry and there are a few things I'd like to share:
  • Many telemarketing firms are moving overseas. FTC rulings cannot control what happens in third-world countries like India and Portugal. The declining cost of international long distance telephone calls is making this a viable option, and soon the best option for most of us will be to block all incoming international calls.
  • Most domestic telemarketers violate the law. Indeed, calling people on their cellular phones to advertise services or leave prerecorded messages is in direct violation of many state and federal laws. Unfortunately, most telemarketers are boiler-room operations, and enforcement is a serious problem. Often (as was the case at the firm I worked at) the owner sets up a shell corporation that shields him from legal liability for the company's misdeeds. His plan was to dissolve the company and start a new one if he ever got caught.
  • Telemarketers are people too. Although many telemarketers are colored, most of them are just like you and me. Please do not verbally abuse them - you won't hurt the industry, just somebody (not unlike myself) who is trying to make ends meet.
  • U.S. corporations are not accountable to anybody. When federal law is changed to make CEOs and executives of rogue corporations liable for prison time, things might change. Until then, everything from illegal telemarketing to accounting scams will be fair game.
  • Telemarketers are allowed to circumvent caller ID. A very simple solution to the problem of domestic telemarketing calls would be to force telemarketers to stop blocking outgoing CND services. Unfortunately, our Congress has been paid handsomely so that they could keep this privilege.
Things will inevitably get worse before they get better. My recommendation is to buy a good answering machine and don't pick up "unavailable" calls. This blocks 99% of telemarketers in my experience.



Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817826)

The poster raises a number of important points.


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817949)

He speaks the truth, especially the last point he makes. Me thinks someone modded him as a troll, because its rare to forgive former telemarketing scum.

Re:Impediments to telemarketing reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817852)

# Telemarketers are people too. Although many telemarketers are colored, most of them are just like you and me. Please do not verbally abuse them - you won't hurt the industry, just somebody (not unlike myself) who is trying to make ends meet.

I'm sick of hearing this. No one forced them to be telemarketers. If they don't like the harassment they should GET ANOTHER JOB

Re:Impediments to telemarketing reform (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817942)

Telemarketers are people too. Although many telemarketers are colored, most of them are just like you and me.

Ummm, excuse me? Did I read this correctly?

Could Be Worse (3, Funny)

peterdaly (123554) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817739)

A guy I work with gets calls a few times a week (usually at odd hours, so he gets voicemail.) The calls usually are along the lines of "Hey this is -firstname- from -companyname-, the state says it is ok to dig. Thanks, seeya." When he does answer, the people don't seem to want to talk and tell him who they were expecting to get.

We to this day don't know who the callers are trying to get, but there sure are a lot of callers, and whoever is supposed to get the calls sure digs a lot of big holes.

Someone probably has a document in their customers hands with the wrong cellphone number on it. Makes for a good laugh every now and then.


Re:Could Be Worse (5, Funny)

zulux (112259) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817823)

A friend of mine had a phone number that was a two digit tranposition of a local Pizza Hut. When one of their stupider customers would call, he'd politly take their order, but would tell them that they coulden't deliver to their area as IT WAS FULL OF MAN EATING PIZZA MONSTERS. He'd then hang up.

Re:Could Be Worse (2)

T3kno (51315) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817951)

Haha, you just reminded me of Kramer doing movie phone. "Why dont you just tell me what movie you want to see..."

Re:Could Be Worse (2)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817970)

I moved in my house about 6 months ago and got two "new" phone numbers. The lady that gave out the phone numbers was nice and tried to get us numbers in the older exchange for this area, rather than the newer one, that differs by one digit and confuses people.

Anyway, to the point, apparently my phone numbers have been held by at least the following:

Some stoners
A very old lady
Someone who signed up for ever spam offer out there.

I'm thinking the last two are probably one in the same.

The stoner's friends calls are the most annoying. I pick up, say hi, they say, "Hey bill I got the stuff", then realize they called the wrong number and freak out. This would be OK if these people figured it out the first time, but apparently, they are either very dense, or this guy had a lot of friends.

The other callers are very old people, I'm usually nice to them, but they take a while to get straightened out, and tend to ramble about who they were trying to reach.

Then there's the issue of the people that call my fax number.... over and over and over. You'd think the telemarketers and people calling the number would realize after several weeks that it was a fax machine, but no dice. Eventually I turned off the ringers on the extension and just gave up.

The laws need to be updated (1)

marian (127443) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817753)

Since this is a practice that costs the person being called, it seems that it would fall under the same type of law as junk faxes. But then, so would spam. I haven't yet gotten a telemarketing call on my cell phone, but it would make me pretty irate. And when I get irate my elected representatives hear about it. Which is probably the only way to get the law updated.

Cash in! (5, Insightful)

Chmarr (18662) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817755)

According to the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act), it is illegal for a business to dial mobile phone numbers for unsolicited telemarketing. Unless there are some weird circumstances on how they got hold of your phone number, you've just earned yourself $500-$1500. Congratulations! You now just need to figure out how to claim it :)

A good resource for this kind of thing is Junkbusters []

It's illegal (1)

ToasterTester (95180) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817760)

From what I've been told it is illegal to set aside a area code or prefix for cell phones and pagers. It "is an invasion of privcy". What crap if they used specific area codes for cell phones and pagers then they wouldn't have to keep spliting up area codes for regular customers.

Re:It's illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817915)

This is complete crap. Area codes and exchanges are assigned by operating company. It is easy to tell if a phone number is cellular by which company the NPA/NXX is assigned to. Even the big guys (Verizon, etc) have sub-companies that are cellular (Verizon Cellular of Rhode Island)

Phone numbers not to call (1)

npsimons (32752) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817770)

Considering most tele-marketers use auto-dialers, would it be so hard to grab the definitive list of area-code/extensions that are exclusively used for cellular phones and just apply that to their dial-out lists?

Yeah, I've got a list of phone numbers they can take off their lists: all of them.

Seriously, why don't these people just stop calling and get a real job? Who honestly welcomes a call from a telemarketer? Has anyone ever bought anything sold by a telemarketer? If so,what is your address so I can beat you senseless for encouraging them?

The phone system is broken (2)

AdamInParadise (257888) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817779)

Actually, the real question is: why do you have to pay when someone calls you? The answer is simple: the phone system is broken. Fix it, and solve all the problems at once without any kind of bill or lawsuit. Easier said than done, but Europe, Asia, Africa and South America managed it (not sure about Australia). Granted, they leapfrogged the US by going to GSM directly. That's not a reason to stay behind.

Re:The phone system is broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817975)

Even in Europe you still have to pay for received calls if you are outside of home country - and the "roaming" charges can easily be $$ per minute.

There needs to be a way either for the callee to charge this back (to the caller's call cost) through the phone system, and/or a two-stage connect where someone dialing a roaming phone first gets a message saying that they are about to be transferred internationally adn to hit 0 to continue or whatever.

Note that roaming often f**s up callerID as well, so blocking unknown incoming might not be an option when you really need it.

I used to work for a Telemarketer (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817792)

In the IS department of course. So the laws, at least of 5 years ago, went as such:

- Some states, such as Florida, have a state-wide do-not-call list you can get on.
- Dialing of randomly or sequentially generated numbers is prohibited, you must get them from a list somewhere. Although the place I worked for did it anyhow at the request of clients.
- If you ask them to place them on their do-not-call list they must.
- UPON REQUEST THEY MUST MAIL YOU A COPY OF THEIR DO-NOT-CALL POLICY. Ask, I bet it will stump 99% of the telemarketers.
- They can still call you even if you're on that list if they have an "existing business relationship" with you, such as if you have their credit card and they want to sell you insurance.


inputsprocket (585963) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817884)

Ehm, scuse me, BUT when I lived in the states I couldn't get over how I had to pay for someone to call ME.

Here's my advise. Go live somewhere which has some logic like Europe (and probably every other continent in the world), where when you receive a call, only one person pays - the caller - and not the caller AND the receiver.

What a dumb ass (some americanisms stick) policy that is.

--- don't die an ignoramus. culture yourself

Could not find any pending legislation (1, Informative)

Theologian (583625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817797)

webpages don't have anything listing telemarketers or cell phones in your area of interest.
Give your lawmakers a a call!
(202) 224-3121

Best telemarketing call (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817809)

Me: Hello, Hello?
Telemarketer:Hello sir, I'm calling from [some bank name]. I'm offering credit cards at special low rate.
Me:Yeah, what cards are you offering?
Telemarketer:We offer AmEx, Visa, Mastercard, and Diners Club.
Me: Cool, put me down for all 4!
Telemarketer: Pause... Umm, we only give you the one with the best rate.
Me:Oh, Ok, put me down for all 4.
Telemarketer:Pause. Ok, sir, I just need you to answer a few questions... Is your household income over $1000.00 per month?
Me: Nope.
Telemarketer:Ok, um household is EVERYONE in the home. Is it less that $1000.00?
Me: Yep, we make around $750.00 per month.
Telemarketer: Is this Mr. Mike Douglas?
Me: Nope.
Telemarketer: Who is this?
Me: Who is this?
Telemarketer: My name is Mike Pringle.
Me: What are you selling?
Telemarketer: I'm offering credit cards. Who is this?
Me: This is Mike Pringles. I'm Offering you a low low rate credit card, would you be intrested?
Telemarketer hangs up.

Solid Gold!

Re:Best telemarketing call (2, Funny)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817962)

Usually I just say something like "Hang on, lemme take these clothespins off my balls" if its a guy.

If its a chick I say "What color panties are you wearing?". If they don't hang up they'll either keep talking, or make a smart ass comment. Thats when I bust out with "It doesn't matter, I strangle 'em with whatver color they have on anyway."

That does the trick, normally.

Two words: caller pays (3, Insightful)

_Quinn (44979) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817810)

Not _all_ European ideas are bad ones. :)


thats nothing... (4, Insightful)

r00tarded (553054) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817812)

wait till they start sending you SMS messages. its easy as hell to crapflood your phone with automated text messages.

How does a telemarketer know it's a cell phone? (2)

mcfiddish (35360) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817814)

I live in Los Angeles, and cell phones have the same area codes as residential phones. If they're just dialing numbers, what tells them a particular number is a cell phone? Is there a list of prefixes that are reserved for cell phones?

hard to get a good phone exclude list (2, Insightful)

Mirri (255359) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817816)

would it be so hard to grab the definitive list of area-code/extensions that are exclusively used for cellular phones and just apply that to their dial-out lists?

That's not so easy as a lot of people forward their home phone to their cell phones. I do always take in telling the telemarketer who thought they were calling home that they have called me on my cell phone and that it's costing me money to talk to them. Some guy actually told me to send him a bill.

Typical slashdot topic: Bitch Bitch Bitch (-1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817822)

typical responses: \bitch234324\bitch\bitch / \bitch\bitch\bitch24332423\bitch\bitch\bitch/ \bitch\bitch2345234\bitch\bitch\bitch\bitch/\bit\b itch\bitchch.\bitch\bitch\bi\bitch\bitch\bitch /\bitch\bitch23423424\bi\bitchitch\/\/\/\/\/\BITC H\\\BITCH\\BITCH\\BITCH\\BITCH\\BITCH\\BITCH\\BITC H\\BITCH\BITCH\ \bitch\/\/\bitch\bitch

RE: Cell Phone Solicitations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817824)

Lazy not Coward.

I tried to sign-up for Hollywood Video dvd rental card and put down my cell number but since the area code for the cell was different then the area of my address, "the man" said it was their policy not to accept cell phone numbers as home numbers. I told him it was my only phone. That didn't help.

So I boycott Hollywood Video.

-chris in MD

Europe, you're better off.... (1)

WalterSobchak (193686) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817828)

America, you're better off wrote J.W. Goethe [] , but in this case I disagree. In all of Europe, cell phone numbers can easily be identified as they have their own area code. While that may not prevent unsolicited calls (which are illegal in some if not all European states anyway), the simple fact that the caller pays for call and airtime usually will. Which - in my opinion - is only fair and makes my cell phone much more useful.

Just my 0.02

Alex -- No soup for you. Come back, one year!

It's a solved problem - USA just needs to catch up (5, Informative)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817829)

In the UK:
  • All cellphone numbers start with 07. Other ranges of numbers are reserved for various things. There was much disruption while the phone number for London changed from 01 to 071/081 to 0171/0181 to 020(7/8) though - a boon for all stationary reprinting companies :-)
  • You can opt out of all junk phone calls by joining the Telephone Preference System. This applies to landlines as well as mobiles. If they ring you when you are on the TPS, you get medium large amounts of cash from them.
  • You don't pay for receiving calls, unless you are out of the country and are on a roving tariff (in which case you pay the bill for calling from your home country to the country you are currently in). It seems absolutely crazy to charge to receive calls, as this would cause the penetration of mobiles to drop dramatically as it would exclude poor people (e.g. many teenagers). Generally people I know receive lots of calls, and then spend up to their limit of outgoing calls and wait until they get more money.

Introducing those changes should help you.

Re:It's a solved problem - USA just needs to catch (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817956)

So THAT is what the TPS reports are for...


Under The Federal Telecommunications Act.. (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817839)

It is illegal and fineable for telemarketers to call any cellular phone numbers known to the industry. So there is yer answer boys and girls.. IF you get a marketer calling, just say are you aware that this is a cell number that you are calling? If they say no, then throw the book at them, inform them that this is a cell number and you MUST cease and desist this call and put the number on their no-call list... I've had two such calls and both were stopped short by the previous statement.

Call me, please! (2, Interesting)

saberwolf (221050) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817842)

I love getting marketing calls on my cellphone. Possibly because we don't pay for incoming calls in the UK and possibly because I find it an intellectual challenge to keep them on the phone for as long as possible (in the knowledge that it's probably costing them 15p/minute to talk to me).

Yes, I have a lot of time on my hands. ;-)

Why on earth do Americans pay to receive phone calls?

It IS illegal under the TCPA (for most plans) (5, Informative)

pthisis (27352) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817845)

Telemarketing to a number where the recipient has to pay by the minute is illegal under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. See the U.S. Code, Title 47, Chapter 5, Subchapter II, Part I, Sec 227.

I got rid of my land line 3 years ago in favor of a cell phone and haven't had a single telemarketing call since then. I'm pretty surprised that you have; they're liable for a $500 fine for each such call placed.


Call center (2)

Sivar (316343) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817863)

I worked for a call center for a short while and on occasion we would need to make outgoing calls if requested by customers. Any outgoing calls to cell phone numbers were automatically disabled and could not be made even by the executive manager of the call center. I say this because it demonstrates that it is possible to avoid calling just cellular phones.
The outgoing call system did have a few false positives (marking a number as cellular when it was not) but I never did see a false negative.

First minute free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817865)

Don't some cell service providers give you the first minute free? If so 1) Do not answer anonymous calls, 2) If that fails, hang up within 60 seconds of screaming at them.

You can also follow the telemarketing guidelines set forth by Junkbusters [] including their script [] in hopes of getting some sort of compliance out of them.

this is why (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817866) civilized countries we pay for making phone calls, not for receiving them.

The UK is different (4, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817867)

There are a number of reasons that we in the UK are protected from this.
  • We don't pay for incoming calls. The result is the calling party pays the bill - and calling cell phones during the day can be expensive - circa 30p (40c) /min.
  • We have a regulated scheme by which you can opt out of all telemarketing calls - the telephone preference service [] Click to sign up now. Companies calling numbers listed on the TPS face a 2000 GBP fine.
So you have two things to pursue. Campaign for the calling party to pay the cost of their call, and campaign for the government to legislate to make one country wide telemarketing opt-out list with fines for companies that ignore your request. Sadly I don't see either happening in the US any time soon.

mobile calls billed to caller (1)

osjedi (9084) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817883)

I've read that most mobile phone plans in Europe bill the caller, not the mobile user on the recieveing end. I would LOVE this. "If you want to speak to me, YOU pay".

Anyone know of plans like this in the USA? Why isn't this widespread? I'd love to have a plan like that.

more than you ever wanted to know about telemktg (2, Insightful)

randyest (589159) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817886) []

I'm not connected with this site in any way, but I've used info from there to rid myself of 90% of telemarketing calls. And I've had some fun with telemorons in the process. :)

sorta related but not situation (1, Offtopic)

JimBobJoe (2758) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817898)

When I had a land line phone, if that number rang four times, it would automagically forward into my cell phone. If you listened to this while it happened, you heard some type of little click.

The county jail uses some sorta automated call out system, announcing that "inmate x" (recorded voice by inmate)is trying to get in touch with you, do you want to accept the collect call for $1.95 (or some other vigorously offensive amount for what is really just a local phone call.)

For some reason, that little click made on forwarding was enough for the computer to think I accepted the damn collect I would pick up my cell phone and someone would say:

"yo? snake?"

" got the wrong number."

"sheeeeeeeeeeet" (inmate hangsup)

This happened to me a bunch of times...and there was no fucking way i could get out of paying the 1.95 or whatever it was (without a huge amount of work.) Furthermore, when I did answer my landline, and refused the call, the inmate would continue trying back over and over again (since there was no way to tell him that he got the wrong number.) Finally, it truly pisses me off that some company out there is making a killing off those incarcerated (and their friends/families) simply to make what is in most instances a local phone call. Look: americans have had unlimited local calling for years, and many businesses have it now too. Why can't the county jail? (The minimal cost of the line and the phone is likely paid already by the county.)

Not entirely true about dial-out lists (2)

sporty (27564) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817911)

Considering most tele-marketers use auto-dialers, would it be so hard to grab the definitive list of area-code/extensions that are exclusively used for cellular phones and just apply that to their dial-out lists?

NY has so many phone customers, they had to start using 917 for landlines, which used to be only used for cell phones. Since then, I've gotten a few spam calls.

As seen on [H]ardOCP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817913)

Zap telemarketers free: Put the sound file on this web page at the beginning of your voice message on your answering machine. The telemarketer's equipment will hang up and delete your phone number. Kewl (if it works!).

Has anyone tried TeleZapper? (2)

Kurt Gray (935) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817920)

I noticed Radio Shack has been advertising this device TeleZapper for $49 which sends a "disconnected" tone up the line everytime you answer a phone call so telemarketers with autodialers automatically tag your phone number as disconnected. Anyone have one of these things? I guess it'd be difficult to tell how well it works if number of spam calls received is still > 0.

Laws... (1)

anubis (87418) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817921)

A few resouces on the web to look at for the laws are:

Your local Attorney General's Office. The New Hampshire AG's office has some info about telemarketers here [] .

The FTC has a bunch of links here [] .
More here [] .

I can't put my finger on it right now, but it is illegal for a telemarketer to call a cell phone. The problem lies in tracking down who it is to sue if you want to pursue that route.

Hope this helps.

On who's dime? (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817923)

"from the don't-try-and-sell-me-something-on-MY-dime dept."

What, is local telephone service now free? Somebody better tell the baby Bells, then.

Cell phones or land lines. The only difference is how you're billed.

Re:On who's dime? (2)

Kredal (566494) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817946)

Incomming calls on land lines *are* free. You pay for the dial tone, and assorted taxes and fees. The people that call you about the greatest deal in the world are spending their money.

If your home phone is a cell phone, you pay extra ( or it costs minutes) for every call the phone is a part of, incoming or outgoing.

"Put me on your do not call list." (5, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 12 years ago | (#3817936)

In the U.S., ask what company is calling. Then say "Put me on your do not call list." Say nothing more. That is very effective, since they can be sued in small claims court if they call back. Use exactly that language and nothing else, the sentence has legal meaning. This works perfectly for me.

US telecom is screwed UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817937)

Where else do you pay for incoming calls

eight words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3817969)

Please(optional) put me on your do not call list.
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