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Telemarketers -- they call you during diner or during your favorite TV show, and they try to sell you things that you don't want. What can you do?
After all is said and done, telling the caller "Thanks, but I'm gonna pass", may be the best, no-hassle compliance, with or without the "and please put me on your don't-call list" coda. But what if you want to do more? Here is the definitive solution:
Use this script to gain control and possibly sue them (disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer and I don't know if it will work in your state or country) -- I followed that script and I have received written notice from specific companies that I am no longer on their call lists and that I'll be off their call list for 10 years. After I followed that script to the end with three or four of these direct marketing companies, my telemarketing calls have seriously disappeared. Now, I'm surprised when a call is a telemarketer.
I used to think that was funny until Eric L. Shulman talked some sense into me:
Eric L. Shulman's "What's Wrong With Tricking Telemarketers"
What is the actual Telemarketing law?
Federal law that requires consumers to individually notify each telemarketer that they wish to be placed on that company's Do Not Call list. Hmmm, so I guess that means it's legal unless you call the telemarketers to tell them not to call you.
However, states are getting into the act. California passed a law in 2001 that requires the Attorney General's office (Dept of Justice) to run a centralized "Do Not Call" list. SB 771: California law about a centralized "Do Not Call" list
It will join about a dozen other states that already have such systems. The California law targeted Jan 1, 2003, for the registry to be available, however, I think the program hit some delays trying to coordinate with a pending federal "Do Not Call" registry. More info and links about the federal "do not call" programs:
Technology to Trick Telemarketers
Then there is the TeleZapper. According to their web site propaganda, this sends out an inaudible "line is dead" signal that only computers can hear. Telemarketers who use computer dialers (the ones where you hear the pause), would be informed that the line is dead and disconnect. So you'd hear a single ring or a half ring, but no more. In theory, this will eventually get you dropped from the databases of numbers that get passed around. In theory.
A friend looked into the TeleZapper and found that all it does is generate the first note of the three "number out of service" tones. After looking around a bit on epinions, ehow, about.com and the internet, he determined that he could record these three tones on his outgoing message to the same effect. He generously posted a WAV file of "number out of service" tone that you can record on your outgoing message.
If you do that, will friends and business colleagues think that your number has been disconnected or that they reached a wrong number? Not if you keep the pause between the tones and your greeting to be fairly short. My friend said that not had even one person commented on it. Telemarketing calls and "ghost" calls are practically gone, he reports. Coincidence!?
Privacy Manager -- from Pacific Bell
But what if you're home, eating dinner -- or worse -- what if the Simpsons are on when they call? In California, the phone company (PacBell) has a "Privacy Manager" service. Any number that blocks their caller ID goes through Privacy Manager. Such a caller gets the opportunity to record their name. (e.g. "You have a call from......'Joe Blow Vinyl Siding'"). You get a message telling you there's a call waiting, and then choose to ignore the call, answer it, route it to voicemail, or instruct the caller to place you on their "do not call" list. It's of limited use, but it's still a helpful tool.
As a result of Privacy Manager, some telemarketers like Sprint and AT&T, call from numbers that appear on caller ID. These numbers are often identical each time a particular firm calls, even if it's a big firm like AT&T. Another helpful Pac Bell feature can help. The automatic call reject manager. This is a list of numbers which are automatically rejected before your phone ever rings. I forget the key combination to access the manager, but it's listed with all the other custom calling features in the front of the White Pages. After putting the Sprint and AT&T LD telemarketing numbers on the call reject manager, for instance, you will never hear from either of them until they change their number. So this feature is very effective against known "pests". I suspect it was offered initially to people who wanted to avoid ex-lovers, stalkers, etc. but it's very effective against repeat telemarketers as well.
What about Fax Machine telemarketers? Is that illegal?
Under federal law, it's illegal to send unsolicited faxes, but California law has an "opt-out" mechanism, which allows advertisers to send anyone with a fax machine sales pitches (non-stop) until the recipient calls the sender and asks to be taken off their marketing list.
So evidently it "is" illegal to send SPAM to fax, but California has this silliness. People have reported calling the fax spammers to get removed, but the result is that some other company just keeps faxing.
Here's a discussion on Fax Law
Useful tip: Try to re-file your voter registration, and leave the phone number blank. One person claimed, he did that a couple months a San Francisco election, which are notoriously behind ample recorded telemarketing calls, he received no automated messages from candidates! Try that at your own risk.
About This Page
This page isn't perfect. Please contact me with more information. I maintain this page to because I have noticed many people being harassed by telemarketers, and sometimes I felt harassed too. Please let me know if anything on this page is misleading or if it needs updating or additions.
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