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FTC Announces Crackdown on Do Not Call Violators

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-means-no dept.

Privacy 162

Tech.Luver writes "The Federal Trade Commission today announced a law enforcement crackdown on companies and individuals accused of violating the requirements of the National Do Not Call Registry, resulting in six settlements collectively imposing nearly $7.7 million in civil penalties, along with an additional complaint that will be filed in federal district court. The actions, brought by the Department of Justice on the FTC's behalf, are against companies ranging from adjustable bed seller Craftmatic Industries, to alarm-monitoring provider ADT Security Services and lender Ameriquest Mortgage Company. To date, consumers have put more than 145 million numbers on the Registry, indicating they do not want to receive calls from telemarketers at home."

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Yeah!!! (5, Interesting)

Jaster82 (222181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279063)

Maybe the took that complaint I lodged 3 years ago seriously... It's about time this type of thing started happening.

Re:Yeah!!! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21279187)

OT... But how the hell did that post get modded redundant? It was completely on topic and was the first of it's type of expression... No first post trolling or trolling of any kind. So what gives? I only post AC because mod bombing is far to common a practice...

Re:Yeah!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21279437)

One mod taketh away, another giveth (and posteth anonymously thereafter). :) Captcha: increase.

Re:Yeah!!! (2, Interesting)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280405)

3 years seems a little excessive. OTOH, they wait for enough people to complain about a given source to make a large case before they bother to chase after the offenders. There's this number that sources from Ohio that calls my cell (that I put on the do not call list) every couple of months with a recording trying to sell me insurance, timeshares, etc. I report it every time but they haven't been shut down yet. sigh

Re:Yeah!!! (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280789)

Maybe the took that complaint I lodged 3 years ago seriously... It's about time this type of thing started happening.
I thought this was heading in the right direction as well until I noticed I had missed the word "collectively".
Also I was a bit disappointed at the lack of mention of thumbscrews.

Re:Yeah!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21281435)

I wonder what the FTC does with all of the money they rake in, from $18,000 dollar year subscription fees, fees to the consumer and then multimillion dollar law suit settlements. They're getting dough from all angles.

5 Year Limit (5, Informative)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279071)

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/10/dnctestimony.shtm [ftc.gov]
Make sure you contact your congress critter about the permanency of the DNC list.
Either that or just make sure to register again in 5 years.

Re:5 Year Limit (4, Insightful)

Jaster82 (222181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279113)

Thanks for the heads up! I'll have to actually write a good old fashioned snail mail letter to my senator here in Colorado... Stick it to 'em! Remember people, if you want to be taken seriously, snail mail is the only way to go.

Re:5 Year Limit (5, Funny)

goddidit (988396) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280123)

Remember people, if you want to be taken seriously, snail mail is the only way to go.
I think that in this case it could be actually better to call them. Repeatedly.

Re:5 Year Limit (1)

Foolicious (895952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280393)

Remember people, if you want to be taken seriously, snail mail is the only way to go.
No. Post-911, Anthrax scare, etc. the best option is ALWAYS to call or fax, especially for the federal government. If you snail mail, your letter sits in communication purgatory where it is treated as if it is filled with explosives or toxins. Once it's been cleared, it could be weeks.

Re:5 Year Limit (2, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280541)

Remember people, if you want to be taken seriously, snail mail is the only way to go.
No. Post-911, Anthrax scare, etc. the best option is ALWAYS to call or fax, especially for the federal government. If you snail mail, your letter sits in communication purgatory where it is treated as if it is filled with explosives or toxins. Once it's been cleared, it could be weeks.
I think GP's point was more in the direction of not using email if you want to be taken seriously.

Re:5 Year Limit (1)

Optikschmoptik (971793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280883)

Remember people, if you want to be taken seriously, snail mail is the only way to go.

No, not anymore, unfortunately. Snail mail now just takes forever to get through because they have to process it all for hazardous materials after all the anthrax and white powder scares. The turnaround time is usually longer than Washington's attention span.

Email and phone is the way to get the point across in any reasonable amount of time, or take them out to an expensive dinner.

Re:5 Year Limit (5, Funny)

Toutatis (652446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279237)

There is no need to register again. Someone will call you to remember you are unregistered.

Re:5 Year Limit (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281351)

Not true, I signed up the first or second day of the DNC being available, and found recently that my name was no longer registered.

Or maybe go after the root of the problem. (0, Flamebait)

DanielJosphXhan (779185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279821)

Instead of going after voice spammers for simply filling a market void, instead of creating burdensome bureaucracy and yet more laws, there should be a free-market, technical solution to this problem.

Allow the market to function, and such a thing will happen. Allow the government to function, and you'll have a half-assed law that only gets enforced when it's profitable.

Re:Or maybe go after the root of the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21279883)

I'm a committed Libertarian, but even I can't see how the market will prevent "voice spammers" (love that term) from harassing me. I'm seriously interested in your views on how this would work. Please let us know.

Re:Or maybe go after the root of the problem. (1)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280585)

I can't see how the market will prevent "voice spammers" Here's your free market solution [slashdot.org] . Works for real spam!

Re:Or maybe go after the root of the problem. (1)

apparently (756613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280617)

There's nothing preventing the free market from developing this tech now, Trolly McTrollTroll.

Re:Or maybe go after the root of the problem. (4, Interesting)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280669)

Yes, but I am not willing to pay money for a service to stop people from calling me. This is like giving the bully your lunch money so he won't pester you on the schoolyard. Instead, I would want the telcos to let me quote a price for how many dollars per minute I will charge to talk to an incoming caller. The telco can keep a small percentage of this amount, and by pushing a button on the phone on incoming calls, I can waive the fee. If they falsify their incoming caller ID, I can push a button to bump the per minute fee up by a magnitude of three, and blocked caller ID automatically results in a multiple of three per minute fee.

Re:Or maybe go after the root of the problem. (1)

spyingwind (961097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281117)

If thous features ever appeared on any cell phone service providers' phones. I would definitely buy the phone in a heart beat.

My sure way of getting off there list >:D

Telemarketer: I am from the [insert company]... blah blah blah...

Me: um... you do realize that this is a business phone number, and that it is illegal to call me?

Telemarketer: Oh, sorry (hangup)

even thou IANAL, I've gotten less and less phone calls.

~Spy

To stop callers, even if they are legal: (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281499)

To stop legal callers such as political parties and non-profits, just say this and no more:

"Put me on your Do-Not-Call list."

--
U.S. Government corruption TimeLines [cooperativeresearch.org]
Example: Complete 911 Timeline, 3895 events

Re:5 Year Limit (1)

permaculture (567540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279975)

They should change it to an opt-in list, rather than an opt-out list.

Re:5 Year Limit (2, Insightful)

The Only Druid (587299) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280363)

Prior restraint issues, among others, would appear. If companies were preemptively prevented from calling people, that amounts to a prior restraint without sufficient justification. However, with an opt-out list, companies are only prevented from calling those people who have explicitly requested such treatment. This way, the government hasn't restrained the companies a priori.

Re:5 Year Limit (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280621)

Make sure you also tell your congress critter to extend the DNC list to include congress critters and charities, as those were 90% of the problem ( and now thanks to the DNC list, are 100% minus iota of the problem).

Re:5 Year Limit (1)

vtscott (1089271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281663)

People change telephone numbers from time to time, so I think it would be unwise to permanently keep a number on any kind of list. I don't know why someone wouldn't want to be on the DNC list (unless they're just so lonely they enjoy having someone to talk to even if it's about long distance service). Since I won't keep my phone number forever, I think it's reasonable to spend a few seconds registering once every five years as long as I have the number. If the next guy wants to hear about the latest deals on timeshares, more power to him.

(Almost) No more 5 year limit (1)

lothar97 (768215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281821)

The same link you refer also states that the FTC will not drop registrations pending the decision whether to extend the 5 year limit. I cannot imagine the FTC extending 5 year deadlines if there is no intend to actually extend the list. Keep up the public pressure.

"...the Commission now commits that it will not drop any telephone numbers from the Registry based on the five-year expiration period pending final Congressional or agency action on whether to make registration permanent."
Source: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/10/dnctestimony.shtm [ftc.gov]

A paradise to scammers (1)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279087)

Just think about it: "If you think you have been affected, fill this form with your name, phone number and availability and we will gladly contact you with more information about ... "

Slashdot (-1, Troll)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279157)

no doubt everyone's going to start moaning about how the government is yet AGAIN censoring the activities of upstanding all-american companies... aren't they?

Re:Slashdot (2, Informative)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279183)

no doubt everyone's going to start moaning about how the government is yet AGAIN censoring the activities of upstanding all-american companies... aren't they?

Hardly censorship, and if you are trying to point out some sort of hypocricy, you are on weak footing

You might also note: companies are no allowed to drive around at 1am with a giant bullhorn aimed at homes, selling their products. CENSORSHIP!?!? No.

Re:Slashdot (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279207)

You might also note: companies are no allowed to drive around at 1am with a giant bullhorn aimed at homes, selling their products. CENSORSHIP!?!? No.
Round here we call that "prevention of lynch mobs".

Re:Slashdot (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279423)

Not that I'd mind mobs lynching marketers...

Re:Slashdot (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279545)

You might also note: companies are no allowed to drive around at 1am with a giant bullhorn aimed at homes, selling their products. CENSORSHIP!?!? No.

More likely they couldn't find anyone prepared to do the job. Especially after the first few angry (and sleep deprived) mobs.
Whereas with someone doing the same by telephone you can't do much to retaliate.

Re:Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21279673)

It's fairly weak retaliation to a phone solicitor, but ...

(1) Get their agent interested and when you're sure they're listening closely, blow the rape-whistle into the phone as loud and as long as you can.

(2) Once again, make sure the agent is invested in you as a potential customer; when they get into their long speach about how you need whatever they're selling, tell them you need a short pause to tend to a bothersome child. Then, leaving the phone on a table or nearby flat surface, walk away and watch some TV ... or take a nice walk outside, weather permitting. Don't forget to hang the phone back up when you are done.

Re:Slashdot (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279565)

And hardly "all-american". Many of the telephone spam companies use third-world call centers who speak English well, better than many Americans, but whose accents are noticeably Mexican, Indian, Pakistani, etc.

Freedom (2, Insightful)

SamP2 (1097897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279205)

The freedom of speech includes the freedom not to listen.

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21281763)

Or to put it another way, the freedom of speech does not create a mandate for others to listen.

To File a Complaint (4, Informative)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279181)

Go here. [donotcall.gov]

Re:To File a Complaint (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280199)

And remember that it doesn't mean that anything will get done, especially Justice just for Girls [lazylightning.org] likes to call repeatedly and then when you complain, claim that you put their number there or that someone else did.

My other favorite are the automated carpet cleaning calls that you get, number unavailable, that don't leave their number, name or otherwise and I'm not sure what purpose they serve other than to annoy.

These lists are good, but.. (3, Insightful)

eniac42 (1144799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279295)

Have one important drawback - they tend to apply only within the host country. Some of these scam^h^h^h^h telesales-marketing companies operate from oversees (ie. from Canada calling EU countries)..

Re:These lists are good, but.. (3, Insightful)

MollyB (162595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279353)

Another bummer: these registries only apply to marketers. Charities use the same tactics (Out of Area in CallerID, call more-or-less daily, and won't leave a message). I don't care who is bothering me for cash. All they get is a request to be removed from the call list.
(I have nothing against NGOs/charities. If I wish to donate, I can find my own suitable organization without prodding.)

Re:These lists are good, but.. (5, Insightful)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279605)

If I wish to donate, I can find my own suitable organization without prodding


I'd take that a step further. If I wish to donate, its to a charity that won't be spending my money paying someone to coldcall people to whore for donations.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281011)

This is a good time to mention Child's Play [childsplaycharity.org] , a charity that won't ever call you and where 100% of what you donate goes to the kids.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281623)

I'm not asking this question to justify telemarketing but can I ask how you envision a non-evil charity should raise funds?

I was thinking about a project someone could do where they amass all charities on a website, and sort them by several metrics (admin cost ratio, independent review, reputation ranking, volunteer satsifaction, area of expertise, etc.) and then you'd be able to allocate optimally, and easily find new charities. This would be better than the hap-hazard system of people donating to whoever makes noise ("disabled pet helpers" over "orphan rescue"). There are, of course, charity aggregator sites, but not to my knowledge like I've described.

But I'd like to know if there's a current respectable procedure a charity can follow that's actually effective.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (2, Informative)

penix1 (722987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279635)

I have nothing against NGOs/charities. If I wish to donate, I can find my own suitable organization without prodding.


NGO/charities aren't the only exemption in the law. The thing is so full of loopholes it looks like Swiss Cheese. For example, the DNC list has an exemption for anyone a company has dome business with in the past year or so. Of course, doing business hasn't been defined but that's just a technicality. In short, they tried to make opt-out the default for telemarketing just like they did with spam. Worse, it can take up to a year after you put yourself on the list for it to take effect. The Do-Not-Call list is one of the biggest publicity stunt Congress has pulled in a decade. Nothing more. the only thing this gets is the most blatant phone spammers.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (2, Insightful)

cjb-nc (887319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279937)

The Do-Not-Call list is one of the biggest publicity stunt Congress has pulled in a decade.
The second being this event here. Look everyone, we caught *FIVE* big ticket offenders. See? It works! Really. We're doing our job. Never mind that each and every one of you has probably had to report five different companies for ignoring the list. They just weren't big enough to bother to go after.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (2, Interesting)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280241)

And you know how they get you with that loophole? Every go into a Wallmart, Best Buy, or shop online at any number of random sites (Apple iTunes or Amazon for instance)? Now you have a good idea of why they ask you for your phone number when you pay by credit card or otherwise ask you for your phone number as part of account registry or the final sale information.

Convenient way to not only harvest your purchasing history, but it also gives them implicit permission to call your home and to allow their "partners" to do the same. Some of these companies may not have actually violated the list directly. Not their fault people don't pay attention to such details ya know.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (1)

dbc001 (541033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281171)

Now you have a good idea of why they ask you for your phone number when you pay by credit card or otherwise ask you for your phone number as part of account registry or the final sale information.
Is this really true? I once heard that they ask for your phone number because they need your phone number to get your mailing address from the credit card companies. Which is it?

Re:These lists are good, but.. (1)

Amiga Trombone (592952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280257)

I won't say that I don't get any calls anymore, but the situation is vastly improved. A few years ago, I was working out of state, and I'd come home on the weekends to find over a hundred calls recorded on my caller ID. This was before I had voice mail, and the volume of calls I was getting literally broke my answering machine!

Now, yeah, I still get several calls a day from "Toll Free Number", but it's easy enough to just not answer those, and at least the phone isn't ringing constantly. This is one of the few times government actually did something right....

Never donate to charity telemarketers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21280077)

I get repeated solicitations from an outfit called "Non-Profit services". It's the standard Disabled Firefighters/Police, "Dogs against Drugs", etc. I know all of this because they persisted in calling so many times, I actually took the time to make them identify themselves and the charities they were calling for.

According to data provided by the states of Indiana and Washington, these guys keep roughly 85% of donations -- only 15-16% goes to the charities. I was surprised that any charity would allow such a thing, only to realize that plenty of them are spending most of the proceeds on administrative overhead.

I wonder what kind of person would give a credit card number (or anything else) to an anonymous caller. Obviously someone does, because the calls continue. Giving money to these people is not a whole lot different than throwing it out the window.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (1)

maspatra (1031940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280597)

Most of the cold-calling charities are totally bogus anyway, and only charities in the loosest sense of the word. I keep getting harassed by the local Chiefs of Police Association and when I checked online on a charity watch site I saw something like 79% of their money goes to fundraising, 15% to administrative, and like 6% to actual charity work. Combine that with the audacity to once claim that I had made a prior commitment to give them money and an abject refusal to remove me from their list they're every bit as bad as people selling you garbage if not worse IMO. The "it's OK to call if you have a prior business relationship" clause needs to go too I think. Just because I use Verizon for my cell phone doesn't give you the right to attempt to sell me your stupid DSL over the phone every day.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (3, Informative)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279365)

I don't know about anywhere else but, here in the UK [tpsonline.org.uk] , I've found it to be very effective. Before I registered I was getting 2-3 calls a night, now I get none, yep, none at all.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21279907)

Or maybe like in Denmark where you don't even have to register.

I think only polls are allowed; at least I get a call from these like once every year.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21280239)

In the US it seems to have... wait, phone's ringing...nevermind, just a telemarketer... like I was saying, I used to get several calls every night, but now... hold on a sec...I think it works pretty well and I'm glad...let me get that...

Oh forget it.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (1)

Drathos (1092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280911)

The US DNC has been an utter failure for me. I went from 4-5 telemarketer calls per week to 10-15 calls per day - occasionally as early as 6am. Most are autodialers (with forged caller-id) without anything on the other end of the line with several 'political survey' calls and a few charities mixed in. Of the times where there's something on the other end of the line, 99% of the time it's a pre-recorded message. I've come home from an afternoon with friends and found 15 messages on my answering machine of "This was a political survey call. We'll try again later." And that's not even counting election season when my phone is ringing off the hook and my answering machine is filling up with pre-recorded messages.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21281057)

I achieved the same effect by unplugging my phone...

Re:These lists are good, but.. (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279389)

I often respond to telemarketers by asking "Are you incompetents who don't know the regulations relating to your business, or crooks who ignore it?", but as more and more are operating from overseas, and so from outside the coverage of the regulations that isn't working as well as it used to, and the TPS (the UK equivalent of the DNC list) is looking increasingly irrelevant.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (1)

aeschenkarnos (517917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279789)

Exactly right. The future of telemarketing is this: telemarketers in country A ring suckers in country B, and telemarketers in country B ring suckers in country A, thus evading Do Not Call laws in both countries.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21279857)

I feel it necessary to say that there is another important drawback. I used to work as a telemarketer and we would take the DNC list the government gave us and PURPOSEFULLY call the people on the list, because we figured they were suckers. We received very few complaints, and a lot of money from these people. Remember, if you're on the DNC list and you're being called regularly, be sure to find out the name of the company that called you and contact your Attorney General. The AG will at the least impose a fairly hefty several thousand dollar fine against the company that did it.

Re:These lists are good, but.. (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279875)

"Have one important drawback - they tend to apply only within the host country. Some of these scam^h^h^h^h telesales-marketing companies operate from oversees (ie. from Canada calling EU countries).."

In the USA, the company that stands to benefit from breaking the law is liable for the actions of their agents, the marketers, no matter where the call center might be located. Ameriquest Mortgage, for example, had a horde of "resellers" making the calls for them, but that didn't keep them from getting fined.

Why not just ban all telemarketing (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21279385)

Unless one specifically indicates to -one- firm at a time that they don't mind and might even like to be called about their latest news/offers (ala email/newsletters)?

NO ONE wants to be called by -random- telemarketers at home, selling what usually amounts to nothing but a flat out scam. It's preposterous we continue to accept it as a 'part of the market' or whatever it is that makes us keep allowing it to happen at all.

Re:Why not just ban all telemarketing (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279579)

Unless one specifically indicates to -one- firm at a time that they don't mind and might even like to be called about their latest news/offers (ala email/newsletters)?

Probably by something a little more explicit than ticking/not ticking a tiny box. It also needs to be made clear that giving a business a telephone number so that they can respond to a specific query does not give them any cause to call that number for something completely unrelated.

Re:Why not just ban all telemarketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21279609)

Since there's been plenty of talk and occasionally actual discussion about making various forms of online and mail advertising opt-in only, why not do the same for telemarketing? Have a well publicized method of opting in for telemarketing calls. It could even have people specify the types of calls they want. Then you don't get opt out lists being out dated, ignored, or lost. If your number isn't on the list and you don't have something in writing saying 'yes, call me', then you're in violation of whatever laws end up applying.

I know, this will never happen. Big business has too much money to throw at making sure legislation that makes them behave like reasonable citizens never gets passed. But it's certainly a nice thought.

Re:Why not just ban all telemarketing (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280775)

or whatever it is that makes us keep allowing it to happen at all.

That would be the First Amendment. It protects commercial speech. (See e.g. Central Hudson v. Public Service)

As with door-to-door soliciting, telemarketing relies on your implied consent, but that consent is presumed by default in our society. You can expressly withdraw it on an individual basis (e.g. telling a specific marketer to not call you / go to your door again) or by posting adequate notice (e.g. a do-not-solicit sign on the lawn). The DNC list isn't ideal, IMO, but it basically tries to do that last. Better would be to alter the phone system so that numbers could be flagged as do-not-call directly by the account holder, and would appear as such when dialed, but before the call actually went through, so that the call attempt could be abandoned before it impacted the recipient.

Ultimately, telemarketing is an annoying but unavoidable side-effect of free speech, somewhat like Skokie Nazis.

Almost there... (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279439)

To date, consumers have put more than 145 million numbers on the Registry, indicating they do not want to receive calls from telemarketers at home.

Now if only they'd remove the exemptions for charities and politicians, I'd call this a job well done.

Re:Almost there... (1)

Lunarsight (1053230) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279647)

Amen - I had one politician repeatedly leaving automated messages on my voicemail. I politely emailed him and asked him to stop, and he basically said "No" because it's 'more cost-efficient than mailings'.

Did I vote for him in the last election? No. (He was all rhetoric and little substance.)

The problem is, all politicians feel the need to do this because they fear their opponents will. So, the only way to stop it is to ban it outright (for DNC list subscribers, at least).

(On a sidenote, SPRINT is one of the BIGGEST abusers of telemarketing. I've been on the DNC list for some time, and a few weeks ago, I had some overseas arm of Sprint calling me repeatedly, saying I 'won a free cell phone'. I got about three or four calls like this over a couple days. If they can confirm this was truly Sprint, they should fine the holy hell out of them. I'll NEVER purchase anything from them. They've been a telemarketing pain-in-the-rectum as far back as I can remember.)

Re:Almost there... (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279939)

Thanks for reminding me about that.

I usued to regularly get phone calls about a free cellphone from Sprint. I promised myself that I wouldn't purchase a sprint phone because of that. I had almost forgotten about those calls.

They were damned annoying too because it was obviously coming from outside the country, during dinner, and they just wouldn't stop. If I were more of a conspiracy theorist, I would almost believe that they were calls being placed by a competitor using Sprint's name because they were so annoying.

But, I'd rather just imagine that Sprint was being a normal asshole company and not buy their products.

Re:Almost there... (2, Interesting)

JasonEngel (757582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279667)

While I would rather not get unsolicited calls, I do actually approve of the allowances for charities to call. I get about one charitable call per week, they've never happened after 5pm or on weekends, and they are almost always for material donations rather than money (ie clothes, food, etc). It's turned out on a few occasions that I've actually had a very good personal benefit from such calls, ending up with a good way to eliminate a lot of old clothes, especially the kids' old stuff.

However, with that said, my tolerance for charitable calls would evaporate quickly if they became more frequent, began to intrude on family time (please no calls evenings or weekends), or became pushy or demanding.

Re:Almost there... (2, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279953)

You clearly don't get the 4x year call from the Fraternal Order Troopers Society calling "on behalf" of the local police organization asking for cash for policemen retirement benefits, or some such. You know, I have established business relationships with all the charities I donate to. Being on the DNC list doesn't prevent them from calling me (that whole prior relationship thing). If necessary, get a 2 bit identifier attached to the DNC list; set bit zero as charities and bit one as political action. With 145M people on the DNC list, that ads up to a whopping 20MB of additional space. If it means getting it added, I'll send them a nickel to cover the cost of the extra storage.

Re:Almost there... (1, Funny)

Kraegar (565221) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280195)

Now if only they'd remove the exemptions for charities and politicians, I'd call this a job well done.

I regularly got calls from the Dove Foundation. Like one or two a month. Then I started doing this...

Telemarketer: This is calling on behalf of the Dove Foundation...

Me: (Interrupting) Oh, is that where I can buy some freshly killed dove to cook, and you donate the cost to help out some charity?

Telemarketer: Ack! Uh, no! (etc)

Me: (hang up) They've never called again.

And this is going to do what?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21279441)

The FCC has become as effective as the UN with regard to policy enforcement.

US government served us well in this case. (4, Insightful)

Morky (577776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279593)

The government saw telemarketing was a growing problem, and for all intents and purposes, fixed it. Taking a decision that results in lost jobs is usually antithetical to US politicians, but they did it anyway. Thanks for representing the people!

Re:US government served us well in this case. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21280849)

Thats ok those kinds of jobs can go away and nobody will care. Too bad for those individuals but maby they can go out and get a legitimate job.

Re:US government served us well in this case. (2, Insightful)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280965)

I don't know that I'd say "fixed it". I know I still get annoying calls, especially from "charities" or people "doing surveys". More like they took a stabbing pain and turned it into a dull ache. This is typical government: mediocre half-action which is, at least, better than nothing.

Charity exemption (2, Informative)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279651)

For me, the do-not-call registry has worked pretty well in the sense that I'm getting many fewer calls from commercial companies.

The problem now is the charity exemption. Years ago I don't recall receiving anywhere near the charity solicitations that I do now. Charities seem to be popping up out of the woodwork.

For example, it used to be you'd get a call from a real local police person once a year, asking to donate to their fund, and receive tickets to their annual comedy show or some such where you could meet the actual people. Now there's the police safety education fund, the police widows fund, the police families fund, the police community fund, the state police fund, etc. etc. (I'm making up some of these names since I don't remember them, but you get the idea), most of which seem to have nothing to do with the local police dept and are obviously being made from telemarketing centers. Some of them offer official stickers to put on your house door or your car, with the unstated implication that it might be good to have them if you're stopped, or worse it might be bad not to have them... And double all this for the firemen's funds. Never mind the innumerable "special olympics".

I'm all for helping my local police, but this is ridiculous. I know some people have no trouble brushing them off, and I force myself to do that too, but with that twinge of guilt that some widow may now starve because of me (even though rationally I suspect it's a scam) - and I imagine many nice aunts and grandmothers are easily sucked into their pitches.

I know, call screening and all that. Unfortunately I'm an old-fashioned person who tends to answer the phone when it rings. On the other hand, I've come to recognize the few seconds of silence after I say "hello", and then the sudden telemarketing background noise when their computer switches me into the next free telemarketer. *Plonk*.

First call in years... (3, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279677)

Yesterday, I got my first call in years that wasn't from a wrong number or someone I knew.

They started off asking for me by name, and I asked why. They said they wanted to do a survey. I said, 'Do you not know I'm on the Do Not Call list?' 'We're not trying to sell anything.' After about 2 minutes of nastily telling him that he was profiting from me, and therefore WAS selling something, he said 'We'll call back tomorrow.' and hung up before I could reply. That was at 5pm... Yeah, dinner time. Another 'Unknown' number called at 8pm, but I hung up before they could talk.

I'm hoping they do call back again today so I can yell at another one of them and waste their time. I'm asking for a manager straight off this time.

It's kind of nice to have someone to yell at again... It's almost a shame the DNC list works so well.

Wrong tactics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21279783)

Another 'Unknown' number called at 8pm, but I hung up before they could talk.

Wrong thing to do. You should make it sound like you are interested but then say you prefer to speak on another extension (or that they should talk to your wife instead). Then just lay the handset down. 10 minutes later you return to hang up.

It will waste their time and their money.

Re:Wrong tactics (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280003)

Better yet, the guys at the call centre are marked down if they hang up on a mark, and also marked down for a poor number of calls per unit time and a poor sales percentage. So you might actually manage to get a telemarketer fired - or at least cut his commission.

This has the effect of making life more miserable for telemarketers as a whole, and thus makes it harder and more expensive for the companies to find staff. If everyone did this, we might even be able to make the whole practice uneconomical!

Re:First call in years... (1)

MrMunkey (1039894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281103)

Years ago I worked for a tele-research company doing just that. Aparently they got around do not call lists (I think they were state lists at the time) because they actually did work for the government. They were allowed to do random number dialing... no lists required. That's probably why they asked for your name, but the person you talked to was a complete douche. Callbacks are created by dispositions from the agent. Normally a dialer in that line of work doesn't automatically re-schedule calls. That said, I don't want them calling me either, but I'm more apt to answer a survey than take a tele-marketing call... as long as I don't have to give too much personal information.

Re:First call in years... (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281261)

I probably would have reacted better if they'd said what they wanted right off, instead of asking for me by name. If they'd just said 'Sir, we're doing a survey. Can you answer some questions about your TV habits?' then I'd probably have answered... In fact, I -have- answered surveys over the phone before.

And yeah, he definitely didn't have the right attitude to be a telemarketer.

Re:First call in years... (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281675)

I get calls from surveys all the time, and I sometimes participate if I have a few minutes. All of them have been legit, and legitimate surveyors *are* allowed to call you (along with charities and politicians).

If they call, just demand to be placed on their do not call list, simple as that.

The real problem that I'm having is telemarketers who shamelessly break the law and use caller id blocking and such. And I noticed that the FTC didn't go after any of them.

Actually, I'm let down by this action, as most of the companies that they went after this time called people after those people had filled out a contact form including a phone number. What am I missing? I didn't even know that was illegal. Looks like they went after the low-hanging fruit to get a press release.

NC Attorney General Roy Cooper has single-handedly done more than the FTC. Google him if you don't believe me.

I hate telemarketers (1)

Healyhatman (1186195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279731)

The arrogance of some companies! Maybe it was a mistake and they 'didn't know' but too bad, they're a business and they're supposed to know. This doesn't help much here in Australia, but maybe you poor Americans will be left alone to eat your dinner in peace/.

A clasic response: (4, Insightful)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279837)

TM: Hi, would you be interested in switching over to TMI long distance service.

Jerry Seinfeld: Gee, I can't talk right now. Why don't you give me your home number and I'll call you later.

TM: Uh, I'm sorry we're not allowed to do that.

Jerry Seinfeld: Oh, I guess you don't want people calling you at home.

TM: No.

Jerry Seinfeld: Well now you know how I feel.

Recordings without contact numbers.. (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279891)

There's a company that likes to call here in Metro Atlanta - "Card Service" is their name. It's a recording that tries to get you to transfer your credit card balance to their cards and the recording just says stay on the line and press '3', IIRC, to get a live operator. I can never get a live operator and when I do a *69, the phone company tells me it's unavailable.

I can't find a location on th net for them - at least a company by that name that would issue a card. There is a "Card Services International" that will process them.Anyway, it smells REAL fishy and I can't get information to report them.

There's also the folks who offer "free" services and then they'll sell you stuff when they get to your house. The water testing companies love to do this. Their marketing folks will say your water is unsafe and they'll test it for free. When they get to your house they'll try to sell you a filtration system that doesn't work well for hundreds $$$ You can get one in the home centers much cheaper and their's work. So, there's plenty of folks who are getting around it.

Re:Recordings without contact numbers.. (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279983)

They need to put the phone tapping system to work for us. If we get one of those recorded calls, we should be able to fill out a simple form with the time and date, then have the phone company identify the caller for us. Recorded pitches are generally illegal, afaict, and I thought they carried hefty judgments for those who bothered to take them to court. All I want is the same access then NSA has.

Is there a National Do Call Registry? (2, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279933)


I'm sure lots of lonely people out there would like to sign up to such a registry!

 

Re:Is there a National Do Call Registry? (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21279967)

Yes.

Copy the Luke Johnson Phone Experiment.

Re:Is there a National Do Call Registry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21280829)

There is, but they generally take the liberty of doing it for you: http://www.the-dma.org/index.php [the-dma.org]

Here's a direct link to the biggest offenders: http://www.the-dma.org/premiermember/ [the-dma.org]

Re:Is there a National Do Call Registry? (1)

DanQuixote (945427) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281449)


Yes of course, just type your number in a blog somewhere...

DNCL uncharacteristic? (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280285)

Is it just me, or doesn't the Do Not Call List seem extremely uncharacteristic of the US Government?

It is *literally* the only bit of significant legislation I can think of in the last 15 years solely designed to protect consumers, and punish abusive corporations.

Re:DNCL uncharacteristic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21281143)

Not uncharacteristically they gave themselves a loophole allowing political calls - do as I say not as I do.

Weaknesses of the DNC list (1)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280399)

1. Corporations do not make the decision to call and harass me, individuals within the corporation do. If you were to fine the person who authorized those calls even fifty cents the calls would stop. Forever.

2. The phone companies should be forced to provide - at no charge - an option to reject calls with blocked or out of area caller ID. Even for those customers who don't subscribe to caller ID. Such calls are invariably sales or other solicitation pitches and, as they are always unwanted, harassing and NOT protected by law. Since the phone company has taken explicit steps to allow people to obfuscate their identification for the purpose of harassment they are co-conspirators. Ideally the people who made the decision to authorize this harassment would be punished, but as that is exceptionally unlikely just force them to provide free call blocking. Cut into their revenue stream? Charge the calling banks $1.00 for every number they dial that is blocked. Now THAT would be incentive for people to honor the DNC lists!

Everyone is calling (2, Interesting)

mhollis (727905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280459)

Yesterday, I got called by "Asia," saying she was from a local Chiropractor's office and wanted me to come in for a "Free" Spinal Analysis.

I reported the call to the State licensing board, saying that if he is hiring "fly-by-night" telemarketing companies, it was possible that he is doing questionable practice. I also reported the call to the FTC and called my Chiropractor (who went to the same, very respected, College) to complain.

Usually, whenever I inform the caller that my phone is on a "Do Not Call" registry, they hang up and try not to give me any information about their company or whereabouts.

I used to live in an illegal sublet in NYC and all calls were for a "Mr. or Mrs SomeotherLastname." I would very calmly inform the caller that I was "Mr. SomeotherLastname's" brother from the midwest and that they had just passed away. I would very politely enquire if they had an open account with them or some other business with them. This was before the Do Not Call Registry was set up and it was very amusing to hear the reactions.

Help for Canadians receiving calls from US? (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280741)

I've been getting the really annoying phone call for last 2 months or more now on a weekly basis. The gist is, you pick up and an automated recording lasting more than 2 minutes begins to play. The call display sometimes shows a phone number but most often does not. It then asks to press 1 to speak to someone or "2" to be placed on do-not call list. I hang up incase its a scam for long-distance calls.

The volume on these calls alone is deafening. The phone volume alone makes me feel like I'd really like to give someone there a piece of my mind should I ever encouter them.

In any case, I've reason to believe the calls are coming from the US. The company never identifies itself. But I've google searched the call and its been narrowed down to one three companies.

I live in Canada. The police, our "do-not-call" registry, the government, etc can't do anything unless I am the victim of a crime. I can't even report it. The telco I'm with wants money to block these calls. They won't tell me the actual phone number of the caller and would only release to police under court order. I've looked on-line to report in the US. I'd report to the BBB of the state where caller is located but I don't know the call display to be accurate.

Any suggestions would be welcome. I'd really like to take down as many as these clowns from calling people as possible. We all benefit!

Re:Help for Canadians receiving calls from US? (1)

thorkyl (739500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281197)

Just set the phone down and let the recording play.
It ties up their available ports on the dialer.
Then call the phone company, tell them you think someone just tried to
cram you long distance carrier, and you want to make sure it does not
change. Also call your power provider, cell provider, and do the same thing.

Or better yet, plug a fax machine into the line. when you hear the recording
press send. If they are using a predictive dialer in either predictive, or proactive mode
it will flag the number as a data line and after x number of calls the dialer will flag the
number as a DNC-D (do not call - data)

(Yes I am on a contract for a call center, no we don't sell anything, they do surveys)

Re:Help for Canadians receiving calls from US? (0, Offtopic)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281211)

I used to get calls from Chinese people [in Toronto] wanting to place calling card calls. At all hours too, like 3am!!! Sometimes I'd tell them "wrong number" and they'd just call back!!! Eventually I just shut the ringer off at night. If someone really needed to call me they could just call my cell.

Now that I moved out of toronto I don't get any sort of rubbish calls, except for the first 6 months on my cell I'd get calls for someone else. Again same deal, "wrong number" then 20 seconds later they'd call again in case they "misdialed". Same solution, I don't pick up the cell unless I recognize the number or am expecting it. Of course, then Rogers charges me $6 [used to be $5] for the privilege of seeing the number. It's a rotten scam if you ask me. They recycle freshly dropped numbers, then charge you money to avoid the "wrong number" hell.

Fortunately, I'm not listed anywhere useful so I don't get telemarketer calls.

Re:Help for Canadians receiving calls from US? (1)

ihaddsl (772965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281533)

I've had similar calls here in the us. Some of them show as a 442 area code number - which was assigned but AFAIK never used. It is similar to how some UK caller id's show up (e.g. London) (country code 44, number starts with 2) but it's not long enough to be a UK number

answer it and it's a recording, saying it's your 'customer service department' or somesuch, and to press 1 to talk to someone. After many such calls (I'm on the do not call list) I decided to talk to someone to see if I can find out any useful info. Of course the person who answers the phone is very evasive when asked what company they are representing, and then hangup on me.

I'd love to report it but the phone number is fake and I've got no idea what the name of the company is.

Try answering in another language (2, Funny)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21280749)

Answering in another language or gibberish is fun. Speak Java or C++ to them. Klingon is good.

Missionary Work (2, Interesting)

mulhollandj (807571) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281439)

I try to engage in conversations with these people, when they are people, and try to convince them to let the missionaries from my church come and visit them. You would be surprised with how receptive these people are. I guess that is the risk for calling Utah.

Settlements!? (1)

thisissilly (676875) | more than 6 years ago | (#21281453)

I don't want no blasted settlements. I want them to fine the companies involved for the full amount under the law. If that drives them out of business, I say Good Riddance!
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