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Australian Do Not Call Register

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the still-waiting-for-the-shoot-the-messenger-button dept.

Communications 252

green-e writes "Looks like us Aussies are finally introducing a national 'Do Not Call' register. Under the plan all telemarketers would be banned from calling homes after 8pm on weekdays and 5pm on weekends. Companies that call a household on the register could face fines of up to $220,000 (AU), which could be legislated early next year. About time something like this should be set up. How effective has it been in the US ?"

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As an Australian I can honestly say (4, Insightful)

AbRASiON (589899) | about 9 years ago | (#13913409)

It's about time.

This is awesome and I hope it's enforced thoroughly.
Sure it's going to cost some people some jobs - but lately the calls have been coming from other countries anyhow.

Marketing is invasive enough as it is, my number at home is not to be called for any old reason - this is just plain RUDE, 30 years ago you wouldn't dream of this crap happening.

Re:As an Australian I can honestly say (1)

fabs64 (657132) | about 9 years ago | (#13913422)

heh, with any luck the money for those jobs will move local to viral marketing ;-)
Actually, I seriously think I'd prefer viral marketing, irks me much less than people asking if I want to change my electricity provider in the middle of the grand final.

Re:As an Australian I can honestly say (2, Funny)

m4dm4n (888871) | about 9 years ago | (#13913558)

I get a certain kind of sick pleasure when asking the person on the other side to explain the offer in detail and then leaving the phone on the desk while I go back to whatever I was doing.

Re:As an Australian I can honestly say (4, Insightful)

ankarbass (882629) | about 9 years ago | (#13913469)

I'm not on the american register. But, I've noticed several things.

1) There ARE fewer calls. Fewer companies seem to be willing to risk the fines or pay for the lists.

2) Companies seem to love to play the "We have a relationship" card much more than they used to. They go out of their way to make sure I know that.

3) Those that call are much more aggressive. They are using automatic systems to make calls more and more. I seldom get a person directly on the other end. Even though I only get a few calls a month, it is for this and other reasons that I'm ditching my landline and going to voip only.

With voip it is both easy to have multiple phone numbers that can be changed quickly. Further it's much easier to filter by caller id and completely control how each call is handled. f you don't know the secret personal number which I can change at the drop of a hat, you won't get to talk directly to me ever. I have separate permanent numbers for places I do business with so that they will ALWAYS have to leave a message. Those numbers can take ALL the junk calls they want to dish out because they will NEVER ring a phone in my house. Only my personal voip numbers ring a phone and only if your number hasn't been blacklisted.

Voip is to phones what email is to postal mail. Your physical address no longer has any meaning and it's easy to set it up so that you control what is coming and going based on how available you want to be.
 

Re:As an Australian I can honestly say (3, Insightful)

dotwaffle (610149) | about 9 years ago | (#13913515)

Maybe it's just me - but I'm really scared by VoIP. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great, and Asterisk is an amazing tool, but if I can set it up, so can Mr. 419-Nigeria-Scam, so can Mr. Viagra-automated-selling-tool. I can see a time when my phone is going to ring every 30 seconds, and it's going to be a marketer from a foreign country who does not recognise the UK's Telephone Preference Scheme.

I can see trouble ahead.

Re:As an Australian I can honestly say (1)

ankarbass (882629) | about 9 years ago | (#13913682)

If you have asterisk who cares. It's pretty easy to set it up so that anyone you don't know gets a nice message.

ymmv.

Re:As an Australian I can honestly say (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13913542)

It's also a lot worse in Australia than here. I visited friends in Australia in Feb 2004, and spent time staying at three separate houses the weeks I was there. It wasn't unusual to get 10 to 15 calls every night, weekend included.

At least my hosts had the sense not to spend much time on these people, happily shouting a big FUCK OFF down the phone before hanging up and getting back to life.

Australians are a lot more dependent on land lines too, than here. I know many people in CA who don't have a land line at all.

Re:As an Australian I can honestly say (4, Insightful)

tpgp (48001) | about 9 years ago | (#13913552)

Well, as an Australian I can honestly say that this will be useless.

From TFA:

Market research companies, pollsters, charities and religious organisations are likely to be exempted.


Riiiiiiggght.... Market resarch companies on the list of exempted organisations?

I'm also quite sure that Politicians will be exempt from this.

And quite frankly - the one person I do not want spamming [theage.com.au] me is John Howard [theage.com.au] (lying Australian Prime minister)

This is the phone message he left on many peoples phones prior to the last election:

JOHN HOWARD (phone message): Hello, I'm John Howard. I've taken the unusual step of contacting you with this recorded message to let you know we have recently announced what our first seven tasks will be if re-elected to office. So on Saturday, I ask you vote for your local Liberal member Peter Lindsay. This is John Howard. Thank you for your time.


Think about it - will you trust a do-not-call register from a goverment with a prime minister willing to make marketing calls and send email spam through his son's company? [smh.com.au]

Re:As an Australian I can honestly say (3, Insightful)

DingerX (847589) | about 9 years ago | (#13913592)

Yes, in the US, I was on the Do-not-call list, and it did kill a lot of the calls I was getting. For a while. Then election season rolled around and I got call after call from these robo-dialing get-out-the-vote thing. Excuse me? You don't even have the courtesy to pay someone to interrupt my day, and you want me to VOTE for your sorry ass? What kind of a mandate are you looking for? "A vote for me is a vote for more automated government intrusions on your personal life!"

Then someone figured out that "market research" can also be used for marketing purposes. So the calls started coming back:

Sir, I'm doing a market survey. What do you think of the [em]Gazette[/em]'s new layout and extensive sports coverage?

The real solution is burn your phone.

Re:As an Australian I can honestly say (1)

JesusCigarettes (838611) | about 9 years ago | (#13913761)

Hey, I worked for a market research company. It's important to recognize the difference. Telemarketing is not the same as market research. Unfortunately, a lot of telemarketers will often pose as market researchers, i.e. "Hello, I'm ____ calling from Vagina Marketing Research. I'd like to ask you just a few questions." Demographic questions follow, and then suddenly "Would you be interested in buying Vagina Research Brand Douche?"

A true marketing research firm will try to follow a consistent format. When I worked as a caller for a marketing research firm, my calls often went like this:

"Hello, my name is _____ calling from _____ Marketing Research. May I please speak to the head of your household? I am only calling to ask a few questions, and I assure you I am not selling anything."

"You sonofabitch?! I fucking hate you! You're trying to sell me shit again, aren't you?"

"No, sir. I assure you that I only have a few questions to ask, and we are not selling any product."

"No, you're trying to sell me something, you fucker! "

There are people who lie in order to try to sell you something, but often if someone is trying to call you to do a survey, just do it! Most of them only take a few minutes, and it makes someone's life easier. If they're selling something, just say "I don't buy things over the phone" and be polite - we're just normal fuckers trying to make enough money to pay for food. If they're just doing a survey, take five minutes and do the survey! It's not that hard.

Re:As an Australian I can honestly say (1)

seifried (12921) | about 9 years ago | (#13913816)

Marketing data is valuable. Why should I give it away for free? You guys are making a profit on the concept that you annoy a lot of people making a few cents or maybe a buck for each annoyed person. Plus there are the scams/etc. to deal with, people selling useless things (if I needed it I would go buy it), getting you to switch long distance carriers, etc. A lot like spam come to think of it. The only way I'll ever get a land line again (it's been 6 years) is with an Asterisk PBX to screen my calls and keep people like you as far away as possible.

Re:As an Australian I can honestly say (1)

Weh (219305) | about 9 years ago | (#13913605)

I haven't had a tele-marketing call since I gave up my fixed line and use a cell-phone exclusively. I don't know why telemarketers don't bother to call me on my cellphone, maybe because it is more expensive, maybe it is more difficult to get the number in the first place or maybe it is that they can't link the number to a certain target audience (e.g. residential area etc.).

Since cellular became a lot cheaper in recent years giving up the fixed line was only a matter of time. Cell is still a bit more expensive on a per minute basis but not having to pay two subscription fees saves a bit of money in the end.

Re:As an Australian I can honestly say (4, Funny)

minorproblem (891991) | about 9 years ago | (#13913662)

I ussually just start talking in swedish and they go away pretty quickly, works with those hobos who ask for money also.

Only not after 8pm? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13913411)

... why not a complete ban on those annoying calls all day?

Re:Only not after 8pm? (1)

cerebis (560975) | about 9 years ago | (#13913541)

It's a bit of a misnomer. Perhaps we might rename it: the national "Only Call Sometimes" register.

As someone that works out of his house, this doesn't help eliminate the interruptions I get during the day.

Re:Only not after 8pm? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13913553)

The article isn't well written and I think the poster has mis-interpreted it. The way I read it, all tele-marketing calls (whether you are on the do-not-call list or not) are banned outsite of the hours stated. I would assume that if you register to be on the list, tele-marketers would be prohibited from calling at anytime. At least, that makes more sense to me.

Telemarketers? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 9 years ago | (#13913415)

The only telemarketers I've got ringing up round here are people we're already with. It's very tempting to cancel our service with them as a result. Then again, we have an unlisted number so I guess that must be the reason. I always figured it wasn't a problem in Australia.

Re:Telemarketers? (1)

Shanep (68243) | about 9 years ago | (#13913449)

The only telemarketers I've got ringing up round here are people we're already with. It's very tempting to cancel our service with them as a result. Then again, we have an unlisted number so I guess that must be the reason. I always figured it wasn't a problem in Australia.

I also have a silent number and I was puzzled with all these complaints I have been seeing on current affairs type shows. Because I also never receive telemarketing calls.

Re:Telemarketers? (2, Informative)

strider44 (650833) | about 9 years ago | (#13913479)

It depends where you live. I moved down from the Blue Mountains, where we got almost no telemarketers (occasionally charities that our family has donated to would ring up, a great thank you from them definitely) to South Sydney where it's a huge hassle with telemarketers ringing every day!

Re:Telemarketers? (1)

Shanep (68243) | about 9 years ago | (#13913643)

South Sydney where it's a huge hassle with telemarketers ringing every day!

Wow. Do you have a silent number?

I live in South Sydney too (karn the Bunnies!) and as I've said, never get called. This number has been silent for a LOOONG time though.

Re:Telemarketers? (1)

megrims (839585) | about 9 years ago | (#13913539)

I always figured it wasn't a problem in Australia.

It's not, unless you watch Today Tonight.

Re:Telemarketers? (2, Funny)

DavidHOzAu (925585) | about 9 years ago | (#13913587)

I always figured it wasn't a problem in Australia.

It's not, unless you watch Today Tonight.

You'd have an even bigger problem if you watched A Current Affair on Channel Nine. Not only are they're in cahoots with Micro$oft's m$n, as this site [ninemsn.com.au] proves, but their regional outlet, Win, is in charge of maintaining all the radio transmitters. I understand that in rural Australia their reception is on average 6dBm better than Channel Seven, and that's when you're wearing a tinfoil hat. I can't imagine how bad it would be without one.

Exceptions (2, Interesting)

CriminalNerd (882826) | about 9 years ago | (#13913417)


Are there going to be exceptions to the companies who can call "customers?" ie: Companies working on behalf of the government (aka. pre-election surveys), etc.

I wonder how well this will turn out to be...Looks like we'll have to wait and see.

Re:Exceptions (3, Informative)

novakreo (598689) | about 9 years ago | (#13913518)

From TFA: Market research companies, pollsters, charities and religious organisations are likely to be exempted.

Market research companies and charities would have to be the worst offenders of the lot. If they are exempted the government may as well not bother.

Re:Exceptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13913599)

Oddly enough, I hardly ever have any problems with charities or market research companies (well, save the one call I got tonight - but that was the first in a looong time). It's always bloody telco's trying to solicit my business.

$220000? (4, Funny)

Biogenesis (670772) | about 9 years ago | (#13913418)

What's up with the fine amount? $200k + GST?

Re:$220000? (5, Informative)

benk (93688) | about 9 years ago | (#13913540)

It's likely that the fine is expressed in "Penalty Units", the value of which is currently $110. (see http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ ca191482/s4aa.html [austlii.edu.au] )

The theory is that Parliament just sets a penalty for each statutory contravention in Penalty Units according to its perceived seriousness, and can update them all automatically eg to account for inflation by amending a single section of a single piece of legislation (the Crimes Act) rather than every section imposing a penalty (which would be a nightmare). It's quite elegant for the legal profession.

It's likely that there will be a maximum penalty of 2000 Penalty Units for the contravention, which today = $220k, and in future may rise.

What's interesting is that some Acts I have dealt impose penalties in the range of 1 to 30 Penalty Units, so this is quite a big fine, relatively speaking. disclaimer - i'm a lawyer but i'm not your lawyer and this is not legal advice. don't rely on it!

Yes (1)

Zouden (232738) | about 9 years ago | (#13913616)

Yes it is because of GST:
$220,000 = 2,000 penalty units, each PU being $110.
The cost of a PU went up from $100 to $110 with the introduction of the 10% GST, although it gets updated every few years anyway.

Aussies, be careful (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about 9 years ago | (#13913420)

I registered for the one in Colorado (the original). I have had no problems (except that I am called all the time by the republican party even though I am a registered libertarian). IIRC, I did not register with the federal one.

But I know of several people that did register with the federal and gets called all the time by everyone (oddly enough, they are now afraid to register in the Colorado one). For all purpose, the federal DB has been a way to get a name, an address, and a number; IOW, the marketers wet dream.

Re:Aussies, be careful (1)

hool5400 (257022) | about 9 years ago | (#13913607)

Ever think they're calling you because you're a 'libertarian'? No point converting the choir and all that.

Re:Aussies, be careful (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 9 years ago | (#13913675)

Mostly the call looking for money.

But even when they call trying to convert me, it is an automated machine doing a fake stat that may/may not stop part way when I give the wrong response. Insane thing is that I have been called at midnight via the machines. And according to the state AG and the republican party, I have to know where the call came from to be able to report it (even though they disabled the caller ID).

Indeed. (3, Interesting)

ionicplasma (820891) | about 9 years ago | (#13913421)

I've had enough of calls from Indian call-centre workers saying they're in Melbourne. It's great when you ask them how the weather is there, and they say the complete opposite of what it acutally is.

It's about time something like this was put in place. But will it work.

Re:Indeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13913427)

Yeah but that is how Melbourne is. It can be storming with hail in one place, and sunny a shiny at 40 degrees a few blocks down the road.

Re:Indeed. (1)

fabs64 (657132) | about 9 years ago | (#13913471)

as a melbournian I gotta say it's not quite that extreme.
the weather is reasonably the same across the inner city it just changes very quickly across all of it.

Re:Indeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13913491)

I've had enough of calls from Indian call-centre workers saying they're in Melbourne. It's great when you ask them how the weather is there, and they say the complete opposite of what it acutally is.

Smell tech support 1. [ungrounded.net]
Smell tech support 2. [ungrounded.net]

These of course from Foamy! [illwillpress.com]

Re:Indeed. (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | about 9 years ago | (#13913579)

For a few months last summer we were getting calls from Indian auto diallers every couple of hours, mostly there would be no one on the other end but the one time there was they launched into some small talk about how they shared the same surname as me and how this would lead to a better rapport between us in the conversation to follow, all in a very distinctive Indian accent. I thought it very unlikely this character was telling the truth and the conversation ended abruptly.

Re:Indeed. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 9 years ago | (#13913630)

For a few months last summer we were getting calls from Indian auto diallers every couple of hours

We always get an autodialed call with nobody on the other end. The second call has a person on the other end, and you only get that if the automated system detected a person at our end on the first call.

In the UK all I get is (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | about 9 years ago | (#13913793)

American shysters trying to tell me I have won a fully expensed holiday in Florida.

I signed up to the UK version which operates 24/7 unlike the Aussie one. I did get some calls but I threatened to report them to OFCOM (Telecommunications Regulator). The calls soon stopped.
And no, my number is not unlisted.
I get all my friends to sign up to this service. It does work.

ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13913425)

On a voip line, not a single marketer

Not a single marketer that you can hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13913611)

I get calls all the time just cant tell who the hell they are from

How effective has it been in the US ? (5, Informative)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 9 years ago | (#13913426)

How effective has it been in the US ?

It has been pretty effective. Telemarketing calls were coming in hot and heavy right up to the last day, then stopped completely the day the ban went into effect. (Our ban is complete, not just an after-hours ban, as long as there is no business ralationship with the caller.) But since then a few telemarketers have figured thay can get away with breaking the law as long as they keep a low profile. I now get perhaps a call a month that is in clear violation of the law. I report these to my state's Atournet General office, but I've never heard of anything being done about them and over all we have only heard of one or two sucessful prosecutions they have done against anyone breaking this law. So it has helped a lot, but it's not perfect and I would like to see even more teeth in it.

Re:How effective has it been in the US ? (2, Insightful)

JumperCable (673155) | about 9 years ago | (#13913463)

frovingslosh has a good point. I probably has been very effective for me since I am very careful about giving out my personal information. Anything that creates a "relationship" with a business or documents that give them permission to have 3rd parties contact me would blow it.

So I avoid:
- Prize give away forms
- Pretty much any freebee that requests name, number &/or address
- I make sure when my banks or credit companies send out requests to share my information to 3rd parties, I clearly reply back with a firm NO.

It's kind of like e-mail privacy, only since it's much easier to track the b@stards down, they really do have to prove a prior business relationship or consent given to be called.

Pretty darn effective (1)

JumperCable (673155) | about 9 years ago | (#13913429)

Of course the voluntary Do Not Call list that the telemarketer association had before hand cut down calls to about 20 a year. But that one took more effort to get on.

Right now, the only calls I get are from politicians & non-profits (which are exempt). There have been a couple of calls from non-listed numbers trying to make sales. But since I put in such an effort to hunt them down, they haven't called back. And a couple of scam artists claiming to raise money for the police fund.

Of course with new technologies such as VOIP I expect things to change. With a lower price for over seas calls it's bound to get as bad as spam.

Not to rain on your parade... (1)

jettoki (894493) | about 9 years ago | (#13913430)

About time something like this should be set up. How effective has it been in the US ?

It hasn't done much. Telemarketing companies use loopholes to get around it. Starting the call with some particular phrase exempts them from the fine, or some bullshit like that. We've asked a dozen times for them not to call, but they have some reply ready for it now. This is in South Carolina, mind you.

In Sweden (4, Informative)

gagge (808932) | about 9 years ago | (#13913431)

We've had this in Sweden for some years, a register called "NIX" (which means something like "nope").
I think it works pretty well but not 100%. It's really easy to sign up, just call a number, enter your home phone number and confirm.

Re:In Sweden (1)

holyceefax (927211) | about 9 years ago | (#13913740)

In UK we have a kind of 'voluntary code of conduct' enforced by BT and the telecoms regulator. If you're a BT customer you can sign up to a blacklist; telemarketers aren't allowed to phone you if you're blacklisted, and can lose their licence if do. It worked up until recently, when they realised that they only had to move their operations abroad and they'd be beyond the reach of the regulator. Now I get plagued by the same sales calls as ever, only they're now coming from Indian or USA.

What about 8pm? (0)

ajdlinux (913987) | about 9 years ago | (#13913432)

So it's only at night is it? It's just as annoying when it interrupts work in the day.

Re:What about 8pm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13913456)

Are you fucking kidding me? Freeipods-style MLM shit, bugging your friends, spamming links in sigs, etc, so you can "earn" a free domain that you can buy for $3 [yahoo.com] ?

Re:What about 8pm? (1)

weharc (852974) | about 9 years ago | (#13913564)

No I believe that the 8pm rule would apply to telemarketers going about their normal business and calling people who aren't on this list.

People on the list can't be called any time of the day

Works in the UK too (4, Informative)

irw (204684) | about 9 years ago | (#13913442)

Nobody asked, but...

I stayed off the do not call list in the UK ("telephone preference service") for a while, used to average one call per day. Im not getting any since joining, though it took a month or two to settle down.

Like the US, it's a complete ban unless they already have a business relationship with you.

Re:Works in the UK too (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 9 years ago | (#13913517)

I can concur that it is a success.

I've also thoroughly enjoyed taking the two sales calls I have received, gettting all their details to fill in the online complaint form etc. then asking for their supervisor, then telling them they have comitted an offence under the Telecommunicatiobs Act and that I shall be passing on their details to the authorities =)

Re:Works in the UK too (1)

a24061 (703202) | about 9 years ago | (#13913661)

I agree: the TPS works.

The Mailing Preference Service also works but not quite as well. It doesn't eliminate junk mail but it reduces it significantly.

the UK needs this badly. (-1, Redundant)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about 9 years ago | (#13913450)

We get about 10 calls a week from UK telemarketers. The UK needs this badly, but there seems to be limited popular concensus about this. When I mention this to my friends, they bring up tired free speech and other long-debunked-elsewhere arguments.

Re:the UK needs this badly. (2, Informative)

irw (204684) | about 9 years ago | (#13913460)

It's called the telephone preference service [tpsonline.org.uk]

Already got it! (2, Informative)

gefafwysp (707762) | about 9 years ago | (#13913465)

We've had it for years; it's the Telephone Preference Service [tpsonline.org.uk] and you can sign up online.

Re:Already got it! (1)

innlegg (909033) | about 9 years ago | (#13913789)

Same here in Norway!

No phone, no problem (3, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | about 9 years ago | (#13913454)

I haven't had a landline for two years. I have a mobile phone with silent ring if it's someone not in the addressbook, and Skype with contact disabled if not approved by me. No telemarketing or nuisance calls whatsoever.

Re:No phone, no problem (2, Insightful)

DarkEdgeX (212110) | about 9 years ago | (#13913613)

Yeah, that's the thing that bugs me about landline phones. Despite how popular they still are there's been very little innovation over the last decade or so. You'd think landline phones would have integrated capabilities such as those you describe for Skype (e.g. - disable ring if phone number isn't in address book, and especially disable ring if caller ID has been disabled by the remote caller). It seems landline phone vendors are more interested in selling you 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz (or whatever frequency "teh new" for now).

Something else I'd love to see is a phone that has a memory slot (compact flash or memory stick or anything really) that you can put a card into either a) to expand the amount of memory available for saving messages and caller ID data or b) providing the primary means of storage for messages and caller ID data (in this case, the phone would probably come with some small-ish 32/64 MB card). Messages would be saved in MP3 format (or OGG even if the licensing allowed it).

I think if I didn't actually use the landline so much I'd probably ditch it and go 100% cellular...

Re:No phone, no problem (1)

dun0s (213915) | about 9 years ago | (#13913735)

The thing I like about landlines, at least in the UK, is that they just work. They don't crash, they don't have silly ringtones, they don't have network unavailable messages (unless there is a bomb or something), you don't have to reboot your phone. It is one of the few bits of technology that just works year in year out.

Re:No phone, no problem (1)

DarkEdgeX (212110) | about 9 years ago | (#13913797)

Sure, and there's no reason they can't get a few minor upgrades without crashing or having 'network unavailable' messages.. but these new wireless phones they sell at $150-200 USD premiums are pretty pathetic given how little they've improved.

Re:No phone, no problem (1)

root_42 (103434) | about 9 years ago | (#13913699)

But what if someone you know calls you from a foreign phone? And what if that call were urgent, for example?

Re:No phone, no problem (1)

seifried (12921) | about 9 years ago | (#13913806)

They can leave voicemail. Despite what people think most don't have to be in contact 24/7, humanity did fine without phones for several millenia. You really want to amaze people? When your cell phone rings look at it and hit the hang up button to send them to voicemail and say "I'll get that later when we're done, right now I'm with you."

Just use this (5, Funny)

mattjb0010 (724744) | about 9 years ago | (#13913461)

Or this :) (1)

kale77in (703316) | about 9 years ago | (#13913556)

Ah, that's gold. You can also just put the phone down quietly and walk away if you get one of those "keep right on talking so the 'customer' doesn't have a chance to say no" calls.

I've considered the following option too, but since moving away from a nice water-front address, I get less calls of this kind. Oh, and because I don't have a landline now. That's a factor too. (Or home web access.) You just get so much *life* back...

Them: "HiI'mcallingonbehalfofcompanyx Wehaveafantasticopportunityforblabhblahblah--"

Me: "Let's start by discussing my rate!"

Them: "???"

Me: "You wish to profit from my time. My standard rate is $60.00 per 15 minutes (or part thereof). Can you match or better this offer?" ... and so on.

Market force be with you!

Re:Just use this (2, Interesting)

alwsn (593349) | about 9 years ago | (#13913655)

And even better way to handle telemarketers.

1) When the call you, make sure tell you their name and who they are calling on behalf of.

2) After they tell you this information, politely say. "I'm not interested. Please don't call me again at this number. Thank you" and hang up.

This will accomplish two things. One, since they have said their name and who they are calling for, it is officially a 'contact'. If you just hang up on the person as soon as they say "Hey, this is Bill, can I talk to (your name mispronounced)?" then you won't be considered contacted because you never heard the name of the place they are calling for. If you aren't marked as contacted you will be called again, perhaps two or three times before they give up on you.

If this entertaining? No. But, it is the nice thing to do. Telemarketing is a shitty job that no one really wants to do. I did it when I was in college because I needed the cash. Did I go whistling to work just hoping I could annoy some people at home? No.

Of course you can't dick around with telemarketers because they aren't allowed to say anything. This isn't you outsmarting anyone, or being cooler than anyone, they just simply can't argue with you and follow the rules. Could I beat the shit out of someone who was paralyzed from the waist down? Hell yes! Would I ever do it? No, because just because it's easy to do, doesn't mean you should do it.

Re:Just use this (3, Funny)

drsmithy (35869) | about 9 years ago | (#13913714)

Telemarketing is a shitty job that no one really wants to do. I did it when I was in college because I needed the cash. Did I go whistling to work just hoping I could annoy some people at home? No.

Mate, that's pretty desparate for cash. Why didn't you choose something relatively respectable, like drug pusher or illegal immigrant sweatshop overseer ?

The ultimate geek prank phone call (3, Funny)

strider44 (650833) | about 9 years ago | (#13913466)

(Ring up someone you really hate at midnight sunday night)

*Ring Ring*

Hi, I'm from Microsoft. Have you heard about the exciting new things Windows now has to offer your business or home?

Re:The ultimate geek prank phone call (1)

Mateito (746185) | about 9 years ago | (#13913659)

Two birds with one stone. I like it.

US telemarkets UK (1)

Kryptic Knight (96187) | about 9 years ago | (#13913500)

Oh the US system is very effective... providing you're in the USA.

Unfortunately without a target audience they now target the UK with thier junk.
And there's no legslative or punitive control over the US against them calling here, even with our own TPS (telephone preference service) register.

I've given up counting the number of "silent calls" by companies using automated call engines with insufficient call center staff to handle the calls generated.

Re:US telemarkets UK (1)

shrewd (830067) | about 9 years ago | (#13913537)

you think thats annoying?????
often i have run out of the bathroom in a towl to pick up the phone and be put on hold by an automated voice, they then play some elevator music, and an operator picks up.... as soon as i hear the music now i give the phone a good slam...

nowdays their actually training those ofshore telemarketers to sound Australian (i assume to sound American when they call America and to sound english etc) of coarse this strange aussie accent and odd tendency to bring up strange topics such as the weather and Australia specific issues can be quite hilarious :)

Re:US telemarkets UK (2, Informative)

plaxion (98397) | about 9 years ago | (#13913646)

That's why I've learned to say hello once and only once and then hang up after a there's been a pause that's longer than a second or two. If it was a human on the other end calling me they would have starting speaking by that time, so it's safe to say that I was dialed by one of those auto-dialers. If I ever get it wrong and it was someone I know, they would just call right back (and hopefully be quicker on the uptake), but that's yet to happen. The machines OTOH, conventiently just go on to the next number on their list.

Re:US telemarkets UK (1)

amelith (920455) | about 9 years ago | (#13913678)

There seems to be no way to get these US based spam calls stopped. I pay a monthly fee for the Anonymous Call Rejection service, it doesn't work on international calls so its worthless for these. The spammers don't take any notice of the TPS register either.

I've complained to BT about it who say there's nothing they can do to stop them. I've also written to OFCOM, who haven't acknowledged my complaint after 6 weeks.

These silent calls really upset the elderly, including my parents. I'd really like something to be done about it but nobody seems interested in stopping them.

Ame

hmm.. (1)

Archon-X (264195) | about 9 years ago | (#13913510)

"Market research companies, pollsters, charities and religious organisations are likely to be exempted."

How many people suddenly turn into 'Market Research Companies' that give you a holiday for completing their poll?

If this is the same thing I saw just on TV, did I hear correctly in that there was mention of a $20 signon fee?

Someone's being greedy here, if that's the case.

"No cold calling" zones. (2, Insightful)

puke76 (775195) | about 9 years ago | (#13913511)

Meanwhile in the UK, the Trading Standards Institute is extending physical "no cold calling zones" [bbc.co.uk] .
Let's face it, if I want to buy something, I'll do it online or go out and get it. I'm not waiting for someone to come to me with a stack of encyclopedias.. or call me with an amazing offer whilst I'm halfway through my dinner..

UK Perpsective (1)

Elfod (567688) | about 9 years ago | (#13913527)

In the UK, as other poster have nebtioned we have the TPS - Telephone Preference Service. You register your number and telemarketeres can't ring you unless there is a previous relationship or you opted into reeiving call from them. Before this peice of legislation I got about 2-3 calls a week, usually in the evening. Since becoming law, I now get 7-8 calls a day minimum, all from overseas call centres. I know this because I have caller ID. I even block calls that withold their number (typically from PBX systems) but that doesn't help either. It's so bad I'm eyeing up a mini-ITX board to build some sort of phone spam filter using the aller ID :-(

talk back (2, Funny)

Lil-Bondy (849941) | about 9 years ago | (#13913546)

ever tried talking to them casually? untill they eventually ask 'why did you call me?' 's happened to me

UK - Slightly Effective (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | about 9 years ago | (#13913563)

We have a similar scheme in the UK but I'd say it only has limited success, we still get a lot of calls from auto diallers from call centres in India during the day and maybe a couple of UK telemarketers each month.

In order for them to be fined you have to find out who they are and you tend to find that as soon as you point out they can be fined for calling you and what was the name of their company again they instantly put the phone down.

Pretty efficient here too (1)

Jugalator (259273) | about 9 years ago | (#13913570)

I live in Sweden, and we have a system like this too. It works reasonably well, although you still get these calls if you have some sort of relationship with them, which they rarely hesitate to abuse. Let's say you're an ISP customer. You'll now get calls about their new phone deals every half a year or so as they expand into the Internet phone market. Or about TV channels as they expand into Internet TV.

Re:Pretty efficient here too (1)

josephdrivein (924831) | about 9 years ago | (#13913619)

In Italy it's pretty efficient too. We have a register in which you have to ask to be included if you wish to recive advertisement phone calls. Obviously none signs in except a few that really enjoy those call.

At the beginning call centers tried to have everyone added to the register and then you had to ask to be removed if you wished. In this way the law would have been uneffective. But their effort did not succed and now a lot of them are closing down.

I've not recived one of those annoying calls for more than a year, and I'm really pleased about it.

Re:Pretty efficient here too (2, Funny)

Mateito (746185) | about 9 years ago | (#13913665)

The big advantage that you have in that neither the Italians nor the Swedish colonised Indina, leaving a billion cheap potential telemarkets who already speak your language.

I'll never forgive the poms for that.

Interesting ... (2, Interesting)

apathy maybe (922212) | about 9 years ago | (#13913593)

I don't get that many calls now, and I don't think I will sign up for this. It is just another place for your phone number. I just hang up if I am annoyed.

The way it works is if you are on the no call list, you can't be called at all. Else you can only be called during the day. It also applies to call centres outside Australia if an Australian company has contracted the call centre.

(It is also ironic that the US flag is under the Slashdot whilst talking about Australia. We are after all the 53rd state (after the UK and Canada).)

Re:Interesting ... (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 9 years ago | (#13913651)

Else you can only be called during the day.

My wife works from home, and she gets a lot of these calls during the day. I suppose the point is that large companies only have the reception desk listed in the book, so they get the junk calls. Small businesses get the full brunt of it.

Perhaps it is worse to get these calls at night, but it is pretty bad getting them during the day.

ironic that the US flag is under the Slashdot whilst talking about Australia.

Perhaps they should have an Australia icon under the politics category.

Works for Me. (1)

OC_Wanderer (729511) | about 9 years ago | (#13913610)

I have 2 phone lines. Neither gets unsolicited calls. I've been on the federal do not call list since it started. My wife started getting hassled by an overseas telemarketer, so we turned the ringer off on that line (it's the second line anyway). Stays pretty quiet at my house.

Its a good step... (0, Redundant)

Sathias (884801) | about 9 years ago | (#13913612)

...now if we can get our current Prime Minister to hold off on recorded telemarketing calls pimping for votes during an election and it will be an even better step.

State law (1)

ffrinch (586802) | about 9 years ago | (#13913620)

In the Australian Capital Territory, telemarketers are covered by the Door-to-Door Trading Act [act.gov.au] anyway, with the same hours as listed above. Some things (e.g. charities) are exempt, but that'll probably be the case with this list too. Getting calls inside those hours is still f$%(*&$ annoying; if it can't get them to leave you alone during the day as well then I don't see the point.

Also worth noting that the Australian Direct Marketing Assocation already has an opt-out form [adma.com.au] . A compulsory govt.-run one would be better, but in practical terms I doubt it'd make much of a difference.

Defining Terms... (1)

Da3vid (926771) | about 9 years ago | (#13913624)

The question is where do you cut the line with telemarketers? Do we define telemarketer as a person calling your phone in order to persuade you to buy something? Do political parties count? What about non-profit organizations that are trying to gain your support? What if the call is intended to be informative? What if its a company that you somehow were within 2 miles radius of and wants to know your opinion? I realize that we have made a lot of these decisions in the US legally, I don't know how they stand in other countries. I'm not particularly asking what the law *is* but what it should be. On an unrelated note, should the telephone infrastructure be treated similar to internet infrastructure? Should it be a sort of public forum, with free speech rights? Is making your phone ring considered an intrusion on privacy? Or is it that repeated ringing amounts to something like harassment? I'm not claiming to have answers yet, I'm just highlighting questions. -Da3vid-

UK Telephone Preference Scheme (1)

jjeffrey (558890) | about 9 years ago | (#13913636)

We have a "do not call" register in the UK. It has been completely ineffective.

The marketing companies just ignore it because:

a) No-one is enforcing it.
b) They have a loop hole for "out of date" lists
c) A lot of companies seem to call in from outside the country, circumventing it (often Indian call centers, or recorded messages).

Re:UK Telephone Preference Scheme (1)

StoatBringer (552938) | about 9 years ago | (#13913722)

The TPS seemed to work quite well for me. Since signing up we rarely get any calls at all.

Re:UK Telephone Preference Scheme (1)

jjeffrey (558890) | about 9 years ago | (#13913756)

My folks have been on the register for years - they still get about a call a day.

I have a better solution... (1)

EvilCabbage (589836) | about 9 years ago | (#13913645)

... keep an airhorn near the phone.

I've tried being polite. I've tried being curt. I've tried being downright fucking rude, and it still didn't put the bastards off disturbing me in my domocile for no good reason.

spamfilters (1)

radu124 (871406) | about 9 years ago | (#13913652)

If you have caller Id you can implement spamfilters on telephone set.

Put some nice message on autoanswer for those numbers, just to waste some of their time like they waste yours.

Too many exceptions in the US (4, Interesting)

spywhere (824072) | about 9 years ago | (#13913657)

The law in the US has helped, but there are still telemarketers of one type or another.

I work from home, and use my cell as the business phone. Our POTS [wikipedia.org] line gets five or six calls a week, even with the law and Anonymous Call Rejection... but at least ACR means that I have a phone number displayed for those that do get through.
Some are companies we deal with, but I tell them to put us on their Do Not Call list immediately or lose our business. (I 'threatened' the NRA: I explained that I would donate $100 to the Democratic National Committee for each subsequent call... alas, there were no more calls).
Some claim exemption from the law, saying they don't have a Do Not Call list. I reply that they'd better start one, because I will charge them with harrassment and criminal tresspass in Delaware if they ring my phone again, and did I mention that my wife is a lawyer? (They never call again).

Most important is to take a polite but aggressive approach as soon as you answer the phone, controlling the call (and therefore the caller):
Hello, this is Tina from AMC and I...
Tina? What's your full name, Tina?
Tina Brown...
Thank you, Ms. Brown. I am required by Federal law to inform you that this call is being recorded. And what do the letters "A M C" stand for, Ms. Brown?
Uh, the Annoying Marketing Council...
And where is the Annoying Marketing Council located, Ms. Brown?
In Walla Walla, Washington, but I...
And what is the phone number of the Annoying Marketing Council, Ms. Brown?
Sir, I am not permitted to...
Actually, Ms. Brown, Federal law requires you to provide that information.
Okay, it's 215-555-4242...
Ms. Brown, the reason I've asked for this information is to put your company in my [imaginary] Telemarketer Database, and now I need you to put this number on your Do Not Call list, effective immediately.
I can do that, sir, but it takes up to 30 days to be removed from our list...
Actually, Ms. Brown, you will need to make sure it happens immediately. If I am called again by the AMC -- even if it's five minutes from now -- I will immediately file civil and/or criminal complaints against the Annoying Marketing Council, and against you personally.
Sir, I should let you speak to my supervisor...
No, Ms. Brown, Federal law requires that you, the caller, handle this. I need to go. Rest assured, if the AMC appears on our caller ID again -- even if we don't answer the call -- you will hear from our attorney... and she's my wife, so she works for free. Goodbye. [click]

I get no repeat callers.

Best way to dissuade telemarketting types (1)

tod_miller (792541) | about 9 years ago | (#13913670)

Do you install an automatic line listener to play random audio to them when they stop talking?

Do you tell them you like the sound of their voice, breathe heavily and fap fap fap fap fap?

Heck if it *is* a sexy female voice, say in a husky, tense voice "Tell me about how much I can *ugh* SaaaAve on calls again... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm *breathing*"

You think with tactics like this they may have their *own* internal do not call list?

please type the word in this image: blasters
random letters - if you are visually impaired, please email us at pater@slashdot.org

Toll-Free #s on Caller ID == Telemarketer Scum (1)

Ron Bennett (14590) | about 9 years ago | (#13913671)

Most of the telemarketing calls I get these days showup as toll-free numbers on Caller ID...

Some are probably spoofed, but toll-free numbers make sense in that telemarketers could more easily entice people to call back, but not sure if that's really the reason or something else? -probably a combination of reasons?...

Anyways, a screening method that works like a charm if I choose to pick up the phone, which is rarely, and I see a toll-free number or other goofy number on Caller ID ...

I'll pickup the receiver and say nothing - if complete silence, which is nearly always the case, then it's a near sure bet it's a telemarketer ... sometimes, if really annoyed, as in I'm expecting an important call or whatever, I won't even wait to listen - I'll just pickup and hangup the receiver immediately.

It's been my experience that telemarketers don't call back right away after a hangup ... but a legitimate, non-telemarketer caller likely will assume the hangup was due to a faulty circuit and will promptly call back right away.

In regards to the do not call list here in the States ... it's helped a bit, but overall leaves a lot to be desired - the numerous loopholes don't help ... charities, politicians, surveys, business "relationships", telecommunication companies (partial loophole), etc.

Many Americans use one or more of the following tactics to reduce telemarketing calls...

* Sign up their phone number(s) on DNC list

* Screen all calls using answering machine / voicemail

* Switch from land-line to cellphone (this won't work for much longer as more telemarketers just call cells with no regard to the law, which lacks definition and more importantly seems to lack tough penalities / lack of enforcement)

* Get rid of phone service entirely and use VOIP, etc along with pre-paid phone cards

Ron Bennett

They know it won't work (1)

DavidHOzAu (925585) | about 9 years ago | (#13913674)

From the article:

Senator Coonan said it was important the new laws balance the interests of the public with those of the telemarketing industry, which employs 700,000 people.

But she said the changes are unlikely to lead to mass job losses.

So the register is going to be so incredibly successful that the telemarketers probably won't lose their jobs. Right. Now I wonder what activity they are going to fill in their time with... ring up and give stuff away for free? Set their caller id to your next door neighbour ala WAP Access Points?

Wait... with 700,000 telemarketers, my neighbour probably *is* a telemarketer! No wonder John Williamson wrote that song "This is Australia Calling", and why Telstra likes to use it in all their ads. That's it. I'll never answer the phone ever again without making doubly sure that my tinfoil hat is attached and in the blocking position before picking up the phone.

USA Experience (3, Interesting)

salesgeek (263995) | about 9 years ago | (#13913686)

I was doing CRM systems when many US states passed do not call lists. The result was impressive in two ways:

* The calls at home absolutely stopped after the lists went into effect.

* You could stop an telemarketer cold with one sentence: I'm on the do not call list.

* Call centers had to re-invent their business to focus on inbound calls.

* Companies had to learn that marketing is the stuff that makes the company phone ring.

* Internet advertising asploded.

...likely to be exempted. (1)

NailedSaviour (765586) | about 9 years ago | (#13913721)

"Market research companies, pollsters, charities and religious organisations are likely to be exempted."

Which happen to be the top 4 categories that I'd like to not hear another word from.

how to avoid *all* telemarketers (5, Informative)

cohomology (111648) | about 9 years ago | (#13913750)

For the past 10 years, I've gotten *at most* two telemarketing calls per year. How did I do it? I once made a "credible threat to sue" AT&T Wireless. There's an industry wide list of people like me, and they don't call us.

I learned the technique from a colleague familiar with the industry. First, know your legal rights. Second, keep a hand-written log of occasions when you have asked to be added to the no-call list of a telemarketing firm. Be careful to have them spell out the name of the firm and the city they operate out of. Then wait for them to make a mistake. If they call you again, after the six month grace period the law allows them to update their paperwork, you've got it made.

Don't shout or be nasty; just read them the log and indicate that you are aware of your legal rights and are interested in collecting the statutory damages. They asked me to "please call this special number to be removed ... " but I just said that I wasn't going to lift a finger to help them. Remember, if it went to court, the case would be decided on "the preponderance of the evidence," and a corporation has no choice but to pay for legal council at trial - they can't represent themselves. Everything is on your side, so they just add you to the list.

Enjoy.

Where English is a foreign language (2, Interesting)

andersh (229403) | about 9 years ago | (#13913754)

We've had this kind of register for some time now here in Norway and the same rules apply i.e. telemarketers can't call you unless there is a previous relationship. It works great if you just remember to register everyone in your household of legal age. My existing "relationships" have not been abused and they're not likely to be. The law gives the consumer agency semi-effective means of punishing any offenders (fines/jail time). It's really only the very small, less serious companies that break the law - and they're not easily persuaded to stop.

The great thing about living in a small country is that you do NOT get bothered by foreign telemarketing companies because they can't break through the language barrier! Now the truth is that most Norwegians speak english quite well - more than enough to understand telemarketing calls - but thank God the telemarketers don't know that :) On the other hand most people would probably not accept deals offered in a foreign language anyway. Although recently there was this Florida-based American telemarketing company scamming people with offers of holidays to the Caribbean if you wouldn't mind handing over your Visa account number... Yes, several people fell for it.

Another great thing about the language barrier is that when a recent phishing scam appeared aimed at customers of a large norwegian bank - most people laughed it off since the e-mail was written in english... And there are no translation services on the net for the language that will work properly, hehe.

Seriously now... (1)

RicardoStaudt (848723) | about 9 years ago | (#13913817)

Did they ever considered doing a DO call list so you telemarking companies can only call people that actually WANT to receive those calls? What makes they think that people want to receive those calls by default?
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