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Suing Telemarketers Made Simple

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the run-them-through-the-ringer dept.

The Courts 351

Lord of the Distinctive Rings writes "Telemarketer calls victim in wee hours. Victim is lawyer. Victim sues telemarketer. Hilarity ensues, as recounted in narrative replete with links and information on how you too can sue up the wazoo." Well, one's certainly not ever going to get rich or anything going after telemarketers on a one-off basis, but every bit helps, I think.

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351 comments

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I can't wait... (4, Insightful)

stev3 (640425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880621)

I can't wait for the National Do Not Call List to take effect.

HURRY UP!!

Re:I can't wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880643)

It's taking forever, because the peeps in charge of it keep answering the damn phone!

Re:I can't wait... (3, Informative)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880665)

Previously covered when it was signed into law on March 11 [slashdot.org] .

Keep em on the phone. (5, Insightful)

amembrane (571154) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880631)

I've had friends who have had to do this to make ends meet. The key to this business is speed, so if you really want to make it ineffective, keep them on the phone as long as possible. Doesn't matter to me, I haven't had a land line since the last millenium. =P

Re:Keep em on the phone. (4, Funny)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880666)

Hrm... unsolicited telephone calls using an automated voice that doesn't clearly identify the business or person?

Shit... I should have stayed on the line those last 12 time whoever the prerecorded hell it was called and tried to offer me a Disney vacation... I could have afforded to go by now...

Kierthos

Re:Keep em on the phone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880681)

Pet peeve.. it's millennium.. two b's! thanks.

Re:Keep em on the phone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880700)

hahaha, two n's even. damn alcohol.

Re:Keep em on the phone. (2, Insightful)

L1Trauma (531944) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880683)

Your strategy for dealing with the intrusive and obnoxious is to listen longer? More power to you, buddy. Also, see earlier /. Cell-e-marketers are on the way.

Re:Keep em on the phone. (0)

WWE-TicK (593858) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880727)

Erm ... I think the idea is to get them to give thier big selling pitch, then walk away from the phone. And if it's a prerecorded message, even better.

Re:Keep em on the phone. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880689)

It's "millennium" you fucking idiot!

Re:Keep em on the phone. (5, Funny)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880709)

I once did this with an automated recording. I discovered by chance that hitting '7' on my phone caused the recording to start over, so I spent a bored afternoon hitting 7 and tying up their system for a little over an hour. I was watching TV at the time, so pressing a button on the phone every minute or two wasn't that much of an inconvenience.

Re:Keep em on the phone. (1)

Gopher (24294) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880728)

Does it really matter how long you keep an autodialer on the phone, as the author was called by one?

Re:Keep em on the phone. (2, Interesting)

realdpk (116490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881309)

If it has 1 line, certainly. If it has 4 or so like the author states, you'd probably have to coordinate the "defensive attack" Operation Telephony Freedom.

Re:Keep em on the phone. (5, Funny)

hipster_doofus (670671) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880788)

Whenever a telemarketer calls me, I always keep them on the phone and use this fun script [xs4all.nl] against them! It's generally a great time for me and everyone in my vicinity.

The best way to get rid of telemarketers. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880821)

Back in college, we were on the A-list for credit card bills. Hardly a day would go by when I wouldn't get a fat envelope of "You've Been Pre-Approved" nonsense, or a phone call at around 7 in the evening. Anyway, eventually, a simple "I'm not interested" *click* wouldn't do. So, we got creative, and decided to have some fun.

Eventually, one of my roomates, Matt, discovered the best solution. Once, a telemarketer called, and asked, "Are you Matthew *****"? His reply: "I don't know". Yes, that's right. "I don't know". As in, "I don't even know my own name, I'm definitely not responsible enough to own my own credit card. You must have dialed into a Home by mistake. Try this number again and Big Nurse will open up a can of tele-whoopass on you". Needless to say, he wasn't bothered for another three months. Before that, it was about twice a week. And that, my fellow readers, is how to get rid of telemarketers.

Re:Keep em on the phone. (5, Interesting)

shachart (471014) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880878)

Ohhhh.... This is soooo much more than just keeping one of them busy. In fact, you screw up their ENTIRE operation, even if they have 100's of telemarketers. Why? Explanation below:

In order to raise the productivity of their employees, they save them the time dialing, recognizing answering machine, ringing-and-ringing, busy signals, tone waiting etc.

How? The use these machines which are called predictive dialers. Why predictive, you ask? because they predict when the next agent will end her call, and based upon lots of parameters (call duration, busy signal rate by time of day, time to recognize voicemails etc.) - will place a call BEFORE that agent hangs up, so the moment she hangs up - she has the next call ready for her, with an actual person on the line.

Now, it is rather clear that if you hold just one agent on the line for a LONG time, then you screw every statistics the predictive dialer has, and so the agents lose sync with the dialer, and as a result - their productivity dives....

Which is what we wanted.

Re:Keep em on the phone - good idea! (5, Funny)

PHPee (559830) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880903)

Keeping them on the phone is a good idea!

While reading these comments (at 9:15am), I got a call from an obvious telemarketer (couldn't pronounce my dad's name right...) so I decided to keep them on the phone, just to see how long they would actually wait (I'm unemployed, and living at home, so I've got nothing but time on my hands). I told her to hold on while I got my dad, and proceeded to just sit there listening. I didn't say another word for the entire 13 minutes and 42 seconds that the telemarketer actually waited for me to come back! I almost burst out laughing several times when I heard her sigh or start humming a little tune.

It brought a smile to my face on an otherwise boring, unemployed day of my life...

Re:Keep em on the phone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880935)

I've had friends who have had to do this to make ends meet.

To make ends meet? All my friends who became lawyers did it for the gobs and gobs of dough.

Re:Keep em on the phone. (3, Interesting)

PhipleTroenix (240551) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881190)

While you're keeping them on the phone, try to talk them into another career.

For "charities" (police benevolence society or whatever), ask them how much goes to the "cause", and how much is used for admin and overhead. They'll offer an 800 number, try to get THEM to call the number. I try to convice them they are working for crooks. Quote GWB's "you're either on the side of good, or the side of evil".

I don't know if it does any good, but it always makes me feel better.

Re:Keep em on the phone. (3, Funny)

jsupreston (626100) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881213)

I tied up a telemarketer one time for about 10 minutes when they called during supper. I have a high pitched voice for a man, so when they asked for "Mr. L," I handed the phone to my 1 1/2 year old son who was just learning to talk. My wife and I nearly wet our pants watching our son talk on the phone to this telemarkter. Needless to say, we had a very entertaining dinner.

Sweet. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880642)

Another reason for me to sit by the phone on a saturday night. I mean..... to bad I'll be out hanging with the ladies.

Ring....Please Ring..

Don't make them stop calling! (-1, Offtopic)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880662)

I still think it is funny as hell to have phone sex with the telemarketer (if it is a girl only =P).

Re:Don't make them stop calling! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880715)

What if it's a guy with a high-pitched voice and you just can't be sure? Is that okay too?

Re:Don't make them stop calling! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880790)

...or maybe an ICQ handle with a chick's name. Is it OK to cyber then?

To keep 'em along ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880670)

When harrased by telemarketers, I just make up the weirdest stories ever (I just bought that penis enlargement gizmo!! - or - I'm sorry, my religion regards it as infidel, unless I get a free massage), and if they really piss me off, I just make up a credit card number and expiration date, and give them the white house's address for mailing me that penis-enlargement thingie. Perhaps someone in there will put it to use?

Re:To keep 'em along ... (-1)

Proctal Relapse (467579) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880745)

at 5:30am? to a prerecorded message? eat a bag of shit and shoot yourself in the head

Re:To keep 'em along ... (1)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880929)

um, thats called fraud dude. and since they already have your phone number...

Finally? (5, Funny)

jonjohnson (568941) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880677)

It's about time people do something. Let me recall two funny incidents: Brother in-law: "Yes, Oh? I get something free? What's that? Oh that sounds great... What else can you guys offer me?"... (Ten minutes later)... "Well, can I talk to your supervisor? Thank you. .... Yes, I hear you have some great offers, but you see, Colorado has a no-call list and if you don't honor that ..." The hilarity of the situation was the fact that i'm sure they thought they had another sale, then it turns into another 20 minute lecture. The best transaction was from my stepfather, while my friends and I were watching a movie in the living room. "Hello? Umm... let me check. IS MR. HIND-ER-LITER HERE (pronounced incorrectly of course)?" (In another yelling voice, somewhat feminized this time, he replies to himself) "NO, HE'S NOT BACK FROM HIS PAROLE MEETING FOR KILLING THAT SALESMAN." (back to his voice) "OH, THAT'S RIGHT. No, I'm sorry, he can't come to the phone right now. Bye." Makes me wonder how much of these funny things do go on...

just like refried beans.... (-1, Redundant)

bashbrotha (41617) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880679)

/. stories must be better the second time around as seen here [slashdot.org]

I'm betting that the beans might be cheaper than a /. subscription

This is cool (4, Informative)

rf0 (159958) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880680)

This gives a nice HOWTO on suing people who abuse the system. Here in the UK there is a opt-out system in the form of the TPS (Telecomunication Protection System) to stop people doing this sort of thing. Failure to comply get at £10,000 fine. Haven't had one call since signing up :)

Rus

How much... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5881056)

...is the fine for using the wrong cover sheet on your TPS reports?

Yes! YES!!!! (5, Funny)

Shoten (260439) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880688)

I, like the person who wrote the article, live in DC, and have been bothered by a pre-recorded telemarketer...in this case, a "non profit" that seems not to exist except as a front to accept donations. I'd elaborate more, but I'm off to the courthouse now...:)

Re:Yes! YES!!!! (2, Interesting)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881159)

The bad thing is that "non-profits" do not have the same restrictions as a business.

Do not need to use do not call lists, can call you over and over, can use pre recoreded messages.

I think 75% of the Tele calls I receive to day from from such "non-profit organizations".

Andy Rooney sez... (5, Interesting)

TheArmageddonMan (646744) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880694)

Three Little Words That Work !! (1)The three little words are: "Hold On, Please..." Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off (instead of hanging-up immediately) would make each telemarketing call so much more time-consuming that boiler room sales would grind to a halt. Then when you eventually hear the phone company's "beep-beep-beep" tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task. These three little words will help eliminate telephone soliciting. (2) Do you ever get those annoying phone calls with no one on the other end? This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone. This technique is used to determine the best time of day for a "real" sales person to call back and get someone at home. What you can do after answering, if you notice there is no one there, is to immediately start hitting your # button on the phone, 6 or 7 times, as quickly as possible. This confuses the machine that dialed the call and it kicks your number out of their system. Since doing this, my phone calls have decreased dramatically. (3) Another Good Idea: When you get "ads" enclosed with your phone or utility bill, return these "ads" with your payment. Let the sending companies throw their own junk mail away. When you get those "pre-approved" letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope. Most of these come with postage-paid return envelopes, right? It costs them more than the regular 37cents postage "IF" and when they receive them back. It costs them nothing if you throw them away! The postage was around 50 cents before! the last increase and it is according to the weight. In that case, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little, postage-paid return envelopes. One of Andy Rooney's (60 minutes) ideas. Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express. Send a pizza coupon to Citibank. If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them their blank application back! If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you send them. You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing! Eventually, the banks and credit card companies will begin getting their own junk back in the mail. Let's let them know what it's like to get lots of junk mail, and best of all they're paying for it...Twice! Let's help keep our postal service busy since they are saying that e-mail is cutting into their business profits, and that's why they need to increase postage costs again. You get the idea ! If enough people follow these tips, it will work---- I have been doing this for years, and I get very little junk mail anymore.

Re:Andy Rooney sez... (5, Informative)

ergonal (609484) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880792)

If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you send them.

I don't know how the system works where you live, but here a lot of "Reply Paid" stuff is barcoded and they could (theoretically) find out who you are by scanning that barcode.

Re:Andy Rooney sez... (1)

Carbon Unit 549 (325547) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880855)

And so, what are they going to pursue you for 37 cents. If your worried, send it back empty, then you can claim it was a mistake.

Re:Andy Rooney sez... (3, Funny)

TheArmageddonMan (646744) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880869)

Good point! Not a prob for me, though. I like to think they tear up the junk apon getting it back and scream my name, like in Wrath of Khan. Good point, still.

Re:Andy Rooney sez... (1, Funny)

hbackert (45117) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880880)

Wouldn't that be even better? This way they know what to expect from you and (hopefully) that will result in less spam from them. Simple calculation: this potential customer costs us more maney than we can possible earn from this him/her.

And since you do nothing illegal, no need for fear! In the easiest case send them their empty envelope back. You can always say that you forgot to put something in.

Re:Andy Rooney sez... (5, Informative)

tmark (230091) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880885)

"Hold On, Please..." Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off (instead of hanging-up immediately)

Actually, the *people* (as opposed to the companies) who make the telemarketing calls often *love* when people do this. It gets their talk time up; it shows their superiors that they're can keep someone on the phone for a long time, presumably talking about their product. I'd even bet the telemarketing companies (assuming they're hired by whoever is selling the product) like it too. The only party who doesn't like this is the company paying for telemarketing, but the telemarketers themselves often love it.

Re:Andy Rooney sez... (5, Insightful)

LotusNailo (652865) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880898)

Maybe so but talk time is up while sales are down. I don't think the company likes that very much.

Re:Andy Rooney sez... (4, Informative)

Schnapple (262314) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880972)

start hitting your # button on the phone, 6 or 7 times, as quickly as possible. This confuses the machine that dialed the call and it kicks your number out of their system
This sounds a lot like the TeleZapper, the $30 brick that plays the little "doo-dah-dee" sound that means the line is disconnected. Of course, from what I've heard, the telemarketing computer systems are getting wise to this sort of thing and before long (if not already) the TeleZapper will be useless. As a result, I can't help but think this technique Rooney mentioned is obselete already.

More specifically, my information says that when you don't hear anyone on the other line what has happened is that the system they use which automatically calls people based on the average call time of their employees, has misestimated when to call (or all the employees are unavailable), so there's a silent pause. If the pause is long enough, the computer simply hangs up. Consequently, anyone who calls me from an unlisted number and gives me silence for three seconds or so I hang up on. If it's someone important, they'll call right back.

Re:Andy Rooney sez... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5881065)

"Hold On, Please..."

God, you must be a fucking retard.

The article is talking about automatic dialers with recorded messages. I don't think your stupid idea will work, do you?

Go and dribble somewhere else.

Re:Andy Rooney sez... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5881089)

I live in norway, and sometimes get these envelopes too.. What I sometimes do, is just blanking out the pre-written adress, and use it as a regular envelope(with prepaid postage :)). Works great. every time I've done this, my letters have reached their destination

Re:Andy Rooney sez... (1)

Elvisisdead (450946) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881171)

Sounds like one of my Granddad's plans. He used to wrap up bricks and tape the postage paid subscription cards in magazines to the outside and drop it in the mail. He knew it wouldn't make them stop putting them in his magazines, but I guess he figured that they would pay for it.

How to identify 'Out of Area' on called id? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880702)

I get like 2 of these calls a week, none of which announce the business name, some of which arrive after 9 p.m. However, these scumbag telemarketers have their numbers show up as 'Out of Area' on my caller id. How do you identify the offending company then?

that's illegal too (1, Insightful)

krog (25663) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880768)

I believe that telemarketers are prohibited by law from blocking their phone number, so add that to the list of infractions.

(IANAL etc)

Re:that's illegal too (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880916)

That might be out of bounds in the US, but it isn't here in Australia.

We don't have to pay to receive calls, though :-)

Re:that's illegal too (2, Interesting)

skarmor (538124) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881000)

While it is illegal for a telemarketer to intentionally block their phone number it is still possible that the CallerID (CLID) information will not be sent due to system limitations. Digital Exchange Access (DEA) Line-side and V-Net Service, which do not support the transmission of calling party number comprise a large percentage of line-side connections.

Re:How to identify 'Out of Area' on called id? (2, Interesting)

Zigg (64962) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880770)

You can't, but the telco can. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be required to give you that information. At one point, before I started insisting on DNCs and saw the dropoff, I actually opened a case with the cops and had traces on my line -- of course, I got a form letter from the telco saying they couldn't "find enough information to generate a complaint". BS.

Re:How to identify 'Out of Area' on called id? (1)

telstar (236404) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880919)

Well, in theory they're only going to make money if they give you a way to "buy" their product. Find out what the machine is trying to sell and go from there...

Re:How to identify 'Out of Area' on called id? (5, Interesting)

Sounder40 (243087) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881092)

Absolutely, positively, answer these calls! Talk nicely to the poor dweeb on the other end of the line, and find out the name of the company. Politely refuse the offer. Then report them to the Federal Trade Commision [ftc.gov] (assuming you're in the states.) It is illegal. This will not necesarily produce an actionable case, but if you and your fellow pissed-off citizens do it enough, then they will get swatted.

ARS? (4, Funny)

arvindn (542080) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880713)

Anywho gave me the caller's name - I'll call him "ARS"

Did you leave out the 'E' at the end?

Re:ARS? (0)

dangermurphy (446628) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880766)

Or possibly an 'S' at the beginning....

I know telemarketers suck, but... (2, Insightful)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880735)

This sounds like some poor schmo who was sold an autodialer and forced his (now unemployed) secretary to program it. Sucks that the lawyer had to go after a legit business owner that actually works hard for that $500.

Too bad he couldn't just extort the name of the phone number list seller out of the guy, and go after "the dealer."

Re:I know telemarketers suck, but... (4, Insightful)

nuggz (69912) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880865)

Yes he is likely a legit business owner.
But he did at least 2 things wrong.

#1 He is calling people in the middle of the night, this is not acceptable.

#2 He didn't identify himself when he called, this is also a violation.

Both of these are wrong, you take away #1, and you're left with #2, which at the very least meant that he didn't properly look into what he was doing.

Also I hate telemarketers, and door to door soliciters, I just tell them no I won't support their cause because I hate people calling/coming to my door.

Re:I know telemarketers suck, but... (3, Funny)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880902)

#3 PROFI... Sorry, I mean he considered telemarketing a legitimate activity to begin with.

Telemarketing is the perfect example of "Just because it's legal doesn't make it alright". Why we go after pot smokers but consider telemarketers off-limits is a question that's yet to be answered.

Business Owner Too Dumb to Deserve $500 (2, Insightful)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880891)

I don't know about getting the list. With an autodialer, the list might be simply "The Telephone Directory." After all, simply stomping through the numbers is a lot cheaper than buying a fully qualified list of customers. Some legit direct mail companies pay in excess of one or two million dollars for a list of a thousand names. (Eg, 1000 Rich professionals who have just gotten married. 1000 Rich professionals who have just bought a house etc...)

A landscaper who is too clueless to know that an autodialer is illegal in his area would probably NOT be able to afford a list.

I say sue the telemarketer. That way you have low court costs and better chance of winning.

Whatever ,troll (5, Insightful)

mekkab (133181) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880974)

I live in Rockville, and I constantly get calls from that handyman service.

Guess who I DON'T call when I need my gutters cleaned?!

Just because you run a business doesn't mean you are gauranteed to make money and not have honest efforts to plug your business backfire in your face. And if you ignore the laws governing your conduct don't be surprised when you get slapped.

Now I know your retort will be "well! The law code is so hard that the average person can't understand it and can't afford a lawyer to double check the legality of every action! WAAAAAAAA!"

My response? He just got a lesson in the law. And it only cost him $500.

Life isn't fair. Get a helmet and an unlisted number.

P.S.- The Washington Post had a great article on all the scam handymen in the region. So while you say actually works hard for that $500 I say he ripped off some old lady while cleaning her gutters and "reshingled" her roof. Both of our conjectures have one thing in common: there is no proof of either of them.

Re:I know telemarketers suck, but... (1)

!Freeky2BGeeky (657344) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881192)

Are you saying that the telemarketer/business owner is not responsible for his/her actions?

That's like saying let's all charge Smith and Wesson for murder because some guy bought one of their guns and shot someone (not knowing it was against the law, so it's OK).

Please, ignorance of the law doesn't hold up in any court.

Honest bidnezmens (4, Funny)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881234)

Sorry, but I don't buy the "but he was just an honest businessman who made a mistake" line.

He bought an autodialer with the expressed intent of telemarketing his business. He knew that what he was doing is held in very low regard by the general population, and he did it anyway.

The arguement you often hear of "but I was just trying to make a living" applies equally well to crack dealers as to telemarketers.

In fact:

Wowbagger's top 5 reasons why crack dealers are better than telemarketers
5) Some people actually WANT what the crack dealer sells.
4) Crack dealers don't knock on my door while I'm having dinner and say "You want to buy some crack?"
3) When you tell them you aren't interested, crack dealers leave you alone.
2) Crack dealers don't give your name and number to other people (except, perhaps, to law enforcement).
1) Crack dealers AREN'T TELEMARKETERS!

Just kill your local land line. (4, Insightful)

disc-chord (232893) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880742)

At this point most people use their cell for everything. Especially with the competing providers offering more and more free minutes, you may actually find it's a lot cheaper to go cell only. I'm personally saving $15 a month.

But here's the sweet bit... You never get telemarketed at! (Obviously you shouldn't be doing stupid stuff like giving it out to businesses.) And you don't have to worry about annoying late-night calls, as most providers give you free voice mail, so you can just turn off the phone or put it in silent mode.

Re:Just kill your local land line. (2, Interesting)

Schnapple (262314) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881010)

You never get telemarketed at!
Care to share the secret with us? My wife and I both changed our cell phone numbers recently and within days we were recieving telemarketing calls. I had mine for less than a day or so and I got an automated computer voice trying to sell me a way to avoid calls like this in the future!

Of course in my case it may have been different - I got a call from someone trying to track down someone else, so I probably had someone's old phone number, but I can't explain my wife's as anything but "let's dial all the phone numbers and see who picks up!"

Australia (1)

ergonal (609484) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880744)

Every time one of these telemarketer articles comes up, I wonder "what are they talking about?". Here in Australia there is VERY little telemarketer calls. Anyone know why this is? Is it just me, or do other Australians receive a lot of telemarketer calls? I don't think my phone home has received one in a few years. What's Australia doing right, or telemarketer companies doing wrong? Is our population too small?

Re:Australia (2, Interesting)

Hellraisr (305322) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880850)

We have the same thing here in Canada. We rarely get telemarketing calls.. probably once or twice a month. I have heard that in some parts of the USA, a person can potentially get up to 9 calls per day from telemarketers.

That's just crazy.. But of course, they wouldn't be doing it if they didn't make money off of it, so the best solution is to have no-one ever buy anything over the phone from a telemarketer. This would be the same reason that spam is still going strong. Enough people actually buy the crap to support their continued spamming.

Re:Australia (1)

DangerousDan666! (260862) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880852)

I do not know about the laws and stuff, but in my time in Sydney and Canberra - about 1 call a year from charity. Maybe one of the things that Aus has not completely stuffed up legally recently?

Dan

Re:Australia (1)

james b (31361) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880939)

I live in Australia, and at my old number I used to get `junk' calls maybe once or twice a month, normally in the evenings. These were normally `market research' (surveys about products and the like) rather than direct sales pitches, although I got those too.

However, my new phone number used to belong to a business, and now I get more calls - one every day or two - from companies selling inkjet refills and other businessy services.
So maybe there are different rules for calls to businesses and private numbers?

james.

Re:Australia (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880941)

Maybe you get lucky. I get about 3 a week here in Perth - and I have an unlisted number.

Doesn't stop me putting them on hold, though :-)

Re:Australia (1)

bernywork (57298) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881151)

I think its because of a different culture.

Americans are a lot more used to buying things from catalogues, (Sears for example) and from the internet. Australians are not as likely to buy something over the internet.

The same goes for Telemarketing. Basically, the people aren't there to buy the stuff as what they are in the US. The people just aren't interested.

I have had a few phone calls for people doing survey's and the like, and the couple of calls that I have had from call centres are namely people trying to get me in the door to sell me time share (Yes it's starting out over here)

Berny

There is always a work around (2, Insightful)

kjfitz (256432) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880767)

Spamming already exists on the gray fringes of legality/ethicality (is that a word?) I can't imagine that charging a penny a letter would slow down a dedicated spammer at all. They'd simply send them without paying and continue to spoof / hide / relocate as required.

This, like many laws aimed at criminals, would make things marginally more inconvenient for honest people while ignoring the criminals.

Re:There is always a work around (1)

26199 (577806) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880829)

Er. I think you meant to post that to the last article. This one is about telemarketers and how to sue them.

Still get calls? (5, Insightful)

g(zerofunk.org) (596290) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880771)

I was having a problem with calls at all hours of the day. I finally added the 'disconnected' tones to the first part of my answering machine message, which you can find from a google.com search, and since then I get maybe 2 calls a week rather then the 10 a day I used to get.
For anyone who wants to cut down on calls, without trying the approach of using the courts, I would higly suggest this method.
g

Devil's Advocate (2, Insightful)

Alan Livingston (209463) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880773)

Ok... This might be a bit trollish, but...


Someone needs to explain to me why "hilarity ensues" when an attorney sues a telemarketer, but it doesn't ensue when an attorney sends a cease and desist order?


Shouldn't the attorney have just called this poor landscaper up and asked him to stop making calls first?

Re:Devil's Advocate (1)

Capt_Troy (60831) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880870)

And really, it wasn't all that hilarious either...

Re:Devil's Advocate (0, Funny)

mattite (526549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880886)

Simple: a lot of people hate lawyers (they can be terribly devious and expensive), but EVERYONE hates telemarketing calls. Put them together with a nice bit of vengeance and it's called entertainment.

Re:Devil's Advocate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880894)

> Shouldn't the attorney have just called this poor landscaper up and asked him to stop making calls first?

Telemarketing is evil and annoying, even if they follow the letter of the law. If that 'poor' landscaper decides to annoy other people, he should face the consequences if he screws up. No sympathy there, sorry.

Re:Devil's Advocate (1)

curtisk (191737) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880922)

Shouldn't the attorney have just called this poor landscaper up and asked him to stop making calls first?

Yes, a rational person would probably try that, but as a lawyer, hell, he didn't even have to chase an ambulance for this job, it came to him!!

You can't give a lawyer a potential, direct, personal lawsuit and expect them to "turn the other cheek" LOL

Telemarketers are a pain in the ass.....I've been playing modem handshakes at the automated calls recently, in hope that it'll think its a data/fax line. And with automated calls....anyone else notice that it seems you have to say "Hello?" twice before it starts? When I answer I say Hello once clearly, then if "dead-air" for more than 2-3 seconds *click* hang it up, if its a friend of ours, they'll call back....and I've yet to have an accidental hangup yet.

Re:Devil's Advocate (2, Funny)

doublem (118724) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880937)

Two reasons:

1. /. stole the phrase from fark.com [fark.com] , who puts in on just about every other article.

2. It's "funny" when someone you hate suffers. For example: If Bill Gates was diagnosed with a terminal cancer, the /. crowd would LOVE it. If Torvalds came down with the same cancer, it would be the biggest tragedy in geek history.

It would be a geek tragedy.

Re:Devil's Advocate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5881168)

Shouldn't the attorney have just called this poor landscaper up and asked him to stop making calls first?

How about you go read the article? He did try to call him, in fact he tried four different numbers, all of which were always tied up with the autodialers.

Must've been an AT-5000 (5, Funny)

horati0 (249977) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880800)

"Greetings friend. Do you wish to look as happy as me? Well, you've got the power inside you right now. So use it. And send one dollar to Happy Dude, 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield. Don't delay! Eternal happiness is just a dollar away."

Re:Must've been an AT-5000 (2, Funny)

marcop (205587) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880930)


Hmmm, eternal happiness for a dollar, you say? I think I would be much happier with the dollar.

morons whoring for their 'enemIEs'? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880817)

still at it eye gas. yuk.

every drop helps (3, Interesting)

John_Renne (176151) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880847)

Allthough an individual might not get rich out of these practices, the power of the mass counts. By sharing this information with the rest of the world more people can sue. Maybe $500 won't hurt the telemarketeer but I bet 1 million people all suing for the $500 will...

Re:every drop helps (2, Interesting)

tmark (230091) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880909)

Maybe $500 won't hurt the telemarketeer but I bet 1 million people all suing for the $500 will...

And how much will 1 million x (costs of conducting a trial) hurt our legal system ? Are there even 1 million lawsuits filed in the entire U.S. each year ?

Yes! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880984)

Are there even 1 million lawsuits filed in the entire U.S. each year ?

Yes! And some of them are even filed by people other than the RIAA!

Law Firms and Word Perfect....... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880864)

What is the deal with most Law Firms using Word Perfect? I did not even know that product is made anymore........

I guess I missed it... (3, Interesting)

mr.nobody (113509) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880881)

Exactly where was the "hilarity?" This is just a short article on how he tracked down the guy with some simple online tools and then sued him under a law he was familiar with. There isn't even any wackiness or insanity here. It's just, well, kinda boring.

Only if the telemarketer is stupid.. (3, Insightful)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880920)

I am pretty sure that many - if not most- small claims judgements are never paid off. It's usually recommended that you not even bother if you're going to need to pay for a lawyer or collection agency. It might be worth $20 if you could spare it - just to hassle the telemarketing folks, but I certainly wouldn't count on a pay off of even $500. Sure you'd probably win your judgement but would they ever actually pay you?

Re:Only if the telemarketer is stupid.. (1)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881266)

they may not pay you true.

but the judgement doesn't just disappear either.

IOt leaves when payment is made and it is fully discharged. Re-read the article paying specific attention to how it was discharged and whan terms were there (21 days if no further action is brought forth)

Re:Only if the telemarketer is stupid.. (2, Interesting)

TeddyR (4176) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881275)

Ah... but a judgement in court (even small claims court) goes on the persons credit history... (and stays there even after it is paid) and a few unpaid judements dont look good at all when trying to apply for credit....

Useful resources for suing telemarketers. (5, Informative)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880962)

WordPerfect??? (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5880963)

As a Computer Geek, the most important question that occurred to me after reading this article is...why do lawyers still insist on using Wordperfect??? Do they even MAKE that software anymore??

Re:WordPerfect??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5881134)

WordPerfect can handle legal documents much, much more effectively than any other program. In fact, recent testing showed that WordPerfect had a LawMark score of 145, ahead of Microsoft Word's 78 and OpenOffice.org's 12.

Does the fine seem a little high (4, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880964)

I mean, sure $500 is a reasonable amount for a single violation. Most businesses could afford that. But if a lot of people decide to sue, then it strikes me that this would be like the RIAA's recent claim of the GDP of several countries.

This is irritating, but do we really thin kthe crime is bad enough to charge an individual a potential $5 000 000 (assuming 10 000 irate victims)?

Do we need MORE lawsuits? (4, Insightful)

gosand (234100) | more than 11 years ago | (#5880994)

Seriously, which is worse in this country, the annoying-ass advertisers/marketers or the legal system?

At first I was all for this attorney, but then I read his comment about filing in small claims court being "addictive". You know what? Instead of enacting revenge, and passing on all of the bad feelings that you accumulate, why not try to change things by starting with yourself?

Ironically, people who are angry all the time piss me off! Hey, the marketer had it coming, but do you think the $500 the lawyer got really did anything? If the guy is cold calling people, he doesn't have many scruples, and will get that $500 back somehow. He didn't learn any lesson. Now you might think that the solution is that EVERYONE should sue him, but it isn't. We've created this money driven society ourselves, so who can blame the people who try to capitalize on it. What, you think you are above it? Have you ever cheated on your tax returns, tried to screw some company because of a pricing error, voided a warranty on a product and tried to return it? Even if you have never been taken in by greed, now is not the time to start. Hey, it's tough, I know. But I have finally just become so sick of it that I am trying not to be like that. But in the U.S. it is very hard, because we are all about money money money, consume consume consume.

We are ALL part of this society, and the only way to change it is by starting with yourself. I am not about to cheer a lawyer for suing a telemarketer, any more than I would cheer Hilary Rosen for kicking Bill Gates in the nuts.

Anti-telemarketing info (1)

whovian (107062) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881040)

I am sure there are many others, but there is a nice summary here [bythom.com] .

My Favorite Line: (5, Funny)

His name cannot be s (16831) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881058)

"a heaping serving of Revenge, The Dish Best Served Cold(TM); "

Heh-heh, well said!

UK residents - telephone preference (3, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881070)

I got one of these one Sunday morning when I was feeling grumpy. I asked the guy at the other end who he was ``I want to know who I am talking to'', I also said ``Do you promise to give me £1000 if you try to sell me anything'', and was told to ''fu*k off'' (sic, well, if you replace the '*').

I dialed 1471 & got their number (unusually, they normally hide their number), and called the BT telephone nuisance line. They told me that they get 100,000 calls a month about telephone spam. They looked up the number & said that they knew the company well, but aren't allowed to tell me who they were.

They told me to phone 0800 398893 the telephone preference people. I followed the procedure and gave my number. A month from that date it is a criminal offence for these guys to phone me, I gather that they do obey it since there is a fine of several thousand pounds per call.

Hopefully that will be the last time that these vermin bother me.

Oh, I think that this guy may be one lawyer that I don't immediately regard as a social vulture.

I'm going to be rich.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5881237)

When I invent a device that allows you to stab people over the...uh, phone, I guess.

TCPA vs. TCPA (1)

MattGWU (86623) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881239)

Moreover, I knew a little about the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA),

A TCPA that protects the consumer? That's some good irony! For a second there I thought through my knee-jerk acronym recoginzing radar that the TCPA (which is a specification and an organization, not a law of course) had been expanded to cover phone fraud and annoyance.

The heavy end of the hammer just dropped... (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 11 years ago | (#5881303)

Well, maybe not a sledgehammer, but perhaps a 16 ounce framing hammer. But, in the end, he got a idiot telemerketer to cough up his due.

That's what counts, don't it?

Let's end this thread and get on with bigger fish, like RIAA and their stunting that they are trying to implement here shortly.
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