Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 2, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

TELEMARKETING....Back in 2003, after the federal Do-Not-Call registry went into effect, telemarketing calls at my house ended abruptly and almost completely. It was a miracle.

Lately, though, the calls have been creeping back up. I'm not talking about calls from any of the organizations exempted from the law. These aren't calls from pollsters or companies I already do business with. I'm talking about plain old telemarketing spam. It's not as bad as it used to be, but there's clearly been an uptick. I get a couple of illegal calls a week.

Anyone else having the same experience?

Kevin Drum 12:03 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (170)

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Comments

Uh, yeah... I'm back to 'count to three and then hang up'.

Posted by: MattF on June 2, 2007 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Yes! We had the same wonderful, miraculous relief from the incredible nuisance of 8 or 10 calls every day. But I'm working at home since school's out and I've had one every couple of days or so, although I don't stay on the line long enough to figure out exactly who they are, I just say "We're on the do-not-call list" and hang up.
My puzzlement -- why do political candidates, the Democratic Party, etc., call? I really _hate_ getting these calls and never, ever give anybody any money or respond to phony "marketing surveys" or "polls" over the phone. I know they have freedom of speech, but you'd think they wouldn't want to annoy people.

Posted by: jhill on June 2, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

I get telemarketing calls every once in a while now, but they are all in spanish for some reason.

Posted by: exhuming mccarthy on June 2, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

We get a lot of calls identified as "unavailable."

Posted by: pol on June 2, 2007 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Haven't had any noticeable change in unsolicited telemarketing calls, but I have experienced a sharp increase in aggressiveness from companies calling with which I had some business relationship.

Barrons Business, for example, has taken to calling two or three times a week begging (or almost demanding) that I re-up my subscription. This began back in March, and the number of calls per week has increased steadily.

Have you tried garnering more information from you callers, such as which telemarketing house is calling, can you get on their in-house do-not-call list, and are they aware that you are going to turn them in to the FCC?

Posted by: Derelict on June 2, 2007 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't noticed any increase in telemarketing calls, but I've definitely noticed a major increase in e-mail spam on my Yahoo Mail account within the past couple of months. Yahoo Mail used to be quite effective at intercepting spam and relegating it to the empty-without-opening Bulk file. Spammers seem to have gotten much more effective at getting past the filters.

Posted by: Peter on June 2, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't noticed any increase in telemarketing calls, but I've definitely noticed a major increase in e-mail spam on my Yahoo Mail account within the past couple of months. Yahoo Mail used to be quite effective at intercepting spam and relegating it to the empty-without-opening Bulk file. Spammers seem to have gotten much more effective at getting past the filters.

Posted by: Peter on June 2, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect I'm getting more calls lately, but I don't know for sure. I work at home and have the phone ringer turned off; the only time I hear anything from my phone is when someone starts to leave a message (at which point I pick up if I want to speak to the person right away). Most telemarketing calls hang up when they reach an answering machine.

When I don't want to be disturbed by anybody, I turn off the sound entirely so I don't even hear a message being left.

I do sometimes notice out of the corner of my eye when I'm at my desk that the machine is taking a call, because the display changes. It seems to me I typically get a couple of these a day, but I've never counted them.

I signed up for the Do Not Call list just on general principles, not because I am disturbed by such calls. With the way I'm set up, I don't even know a call has come in unless the telemarketer leaves a message, which is rare and easily deleted.

I don't know why everybody doesn't do things this way. Taking a telemarketing call is like opening a spam email, as far as I'm concerned--completely unnecessary.

Why, when answering machines have been available for decades, does anybody ever pick up the phone unless they *want* to talk to whoever is calling? That makes absolutely no sense to me.

Posted by: Swift Loris on June 2, 2007 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

We get some but I think most are from places we already do business. We are on the no call list and the number of calls we got went down but I can't say if they are creeping back up. My wife would probably have a different take as these calls irritated her more.

Posted by: Carl on June 2, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

I believe the do not call list is only good for 5 years. My guess is like everything our Government does, they've shortchanged us, in this case by a couple years.

Posted by: Fred F. on June 2, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, I've noticed the uptick in calls and I think it's important to stop it right now before we get back to previous levels.

Posted by: Riesz Fischer on June 2, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Murray Roman, the "father" of telemarketing just died recently:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B02E5D71138F93AA35756C0A962948260

It started in 1967, primarily political polling, and then spread from there. I do not remember telemarketing becoming annoying until the mid to late '80s. Ahhh, how pleasant a time it was before then to hear the phone ring and just pick it up, and it was either someone you knew, or an occasional wrong number-rarely a pollster of some kind.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 2, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Same here, so I put my numbers back on the no call list again. I'm waiting to see if it will make a difference.

Posted by: Rich on June 2, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

we mostly get calls from the firemen and policemen's benevolent societies. plannned parenthood and the DNC are pretty bad, too.

but, a simple "no thank you. please take me off your list. thanks. *click*" seems to work for most of them. that is, until you contribute again, then you're back on the list..

Posted by: cleek on June 2, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

This is a good site for tracking telemarketing trends. (http://whocalled.us) It's surprising to me how many of these illegal calls are being made, and the site allows you to track them, and report them.

Posted by: John on June 2, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Hello All,

I am afraid to admit this, but I am a former telemarketer. Granted, I was doing marketing research (and yes, jhill, those are real surveys [however lame they might seem] and not phony ones), and I was doing this in Australia. I was doing it one summer while I was in law school, and I needed the money. So, don't hate me too much. But, because of this experience, I do have sympathy for telemarketers and marketing research people (which are seperate).

Anyway, I know this is a bit off topic, but please be nice to telemarketers. We are people too, and we have feelings. We are doing a crappy job, for low pay, and we get treated badly (this is an understatement) by everyone. We do not deliberately try to bother people, we don't try and ruin people's dinner, we just call up a random number that is on the computer screen in front of us. So please, I implore you, don't be rude to telemarketers. A simple, "No thank you," is sufficient. Or you can just do what Swift Loris suggested.

Just to let you know, I am not a troll or spammer and I read Kevin Drum daily. Thank you.

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

I have a terrible problem with junk faxes.

And you cannot get them to stop.

Just yesterday I receieved the same junk fax three times.

It costs me money and really pisses me off.

Posted by: jharp on June 2, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

I've had the same problem. My bet has been that my (National) bank has been passing my phone number to its many non-bank holdings, many of which are not as scrupulous about not selling the name and number to brokers.

An alternate is that my Texas electricity provider, TXU, has been trying to increase revenue before they sell out to KKR and go private. Needless to say, after the (Republican) Texas Legislature deregulated electric producers a couple of years ago, somehow TXU has acted like an unregulated monopoly (which, to me, it is as I can't switch for two years) and increased its prices for electricity to the highest in the nation.

Hooray for Republican Free Enterprise, the guantor of low prices and high quality products - if you wish upon a star.

Needless to say, I have little doubt that one of the two has a lawyer, trained in the John Yoo school of anti-American democratic governed free enterprise, who has found a loophole (as long as no one is allowed to read it or takes it only to conservative judges to review) that allows them to sell my phone number to crooked phone solicitors who are between jobs with illegal boiler rooms.

Posted by: Rick B on June 2, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

We do not deliberately try to bother people, we don't try and ruin people's dinner, we just call up a random number that is on the computer screen in front of us. So please, I implore you, don't be rude to telemarketers.

Some activities are inherently rude; telemarketing is one of them. Just because you don't intend to bother a specific person doesn't let you off the hook.

For what it's worth, I've stopped getting standard telemarketing calls, but I have noticed a very slight uptick in robocalls, with no one at the other end.

Posted by: RSA on June 2, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Same.

Posted by: Brojo on June 2, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, the calls are creeping back and many here are from local police associated charities, whose calls aren't made by policemen even though the callers try to sound like them:)

The phones will turn to shit again just as email and snail mail already are. When was the last time you received a personal letter in the daily mounds of trash mail and have you seen what's happened to the net in the last 10 years?

The systems' communication roles are soon superceded and we're left with nothing but a hollowed out, all important, unregulated junk capitalism. I guess it's one of the results of winning the cold war.

hooray.

Posted by: manowar on June 2, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Yes. We were talking about this a couple of weeks ago at my house, where we've suddenly begun receiving telemarketing phone calls again. I thought it was too soon for the Do Not Call list to have expired, but our government hasn't seemed to do much of anything right lately, so I'm not surprised. Just pissed.

Posted by: Emily on June 2, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

It's especially rude when the telemarketer is clearly listening to music of some sort.

I have also started to hang up immediately on all telemarketers with non-American accents. These start in around 6 p.m. EST, the beginning of the working day in India.

Posted by: sara on June 2, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

We're getting more calls, many robocalls. Some are companies we've done business with. My wife presses people, "W're on the do not call list". They respond that the list doesn't apply to them for whatever reason. I usually ask the name of the person making the call at which point they hang up.

Posted by: coldhotel on June 2, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Huh. Perhaps being 33, with bad credit and a low income -- but I don't seem to be having a problem here with this. I don't get that much junk mail. And I get personal letters all the time -- but that's also because I send them. GMail sorts out almost all my spam, and the rest is handled by my email reader. And there's this crazy thing called Caller ID, I never answer a number that I don't recognize or that is listed as "Unknown Caller." But I rarely pick up the phone anyway. Perhaps you all give to many political campaigs and/or order from catalogs. That will get you every time, there isn't an organization profit or non-profit that doesn't sell their lists. Period.

Posted by: DC1974 on June 2, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

YES. Same thing here in Venice, CA. Went on the list and-- ahh the sound of silence. In the past few months they've been picking up the pace and I'm now getting maybe 2-3 a week, and maybe more as I often let it go to message and I'm noticing alot of calls with no message left.

Almost all have been taped and therefore no one you can yell at.

You *can* go to the DNC registry and check that your number is listed and when the expiration date is.

You can also file reports on offenders. There's a carpet cleaner one I've gotten a few times, that one I'm going to report next time.

Posted by: lovedog on June 2, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Magic of caller ID - I don't pick up anything unless it's been identified as someone I want to talk to. Most telemarketing calls block the caller ID, which sends then straight to my machine.

During political season I sometimes go do phone banks, despite the fact that I feel it's rude to call people you don't know. Getting rid of the goopers seemed more important. Still I hate doing it.

Posted by: jimBOB on June 2, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

If I recall correctly, charities and non-profits were exempt from the do not call list. So if you're receiving calls from veteran associations and the like, that's not evidence that people are sneaking around the registry law.

Posted by: anm on June 2, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, I've definitely noticed an uptick in the illegal spam calls. Is anyone being prosecuted for this stuff, or are the telemarketers slowly tumbling to the fact that there's no downside for them calling anyone they want?

You can file compliants here:

https://www.donotcall.gov/Complain/ComplainCheck.aspx

But note that you need the name or number of the outfit that called. Good luck getting the number. As for the name, I don't know if the name of the company the caller is representing suffices, or if you have to supply the name of the particular boiler-room operation that's making the call.

Posted by: Bobarino on June 2, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

I have call-blocking, caller ID, and am on the do-not-call list. I get at least 1 or 2 of these calls a day. The caller ID usually has either "toll free number" or the name of the state the caller is calling from. I find it extremely annoying. My fax machine is usually turned off. If it's on at least 3 faxes come in daily.

Posted by: Aquarius on June 2, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Having become one of the un-wired masses who no longer has a land line, I've taken advantage of caller ID: any of my regular nuisance callers have a custom ringtone whch is silent. The only way I know they've called is if they leave a message or if I actively page through the incoming call history.

Posted by: R. S. Buchanan on June 2, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

RSA and Brojo,

RSA states, "Some activities are inherently rude; telemarketing is one of them. Just because you don't intend to bother a specific person doesn't let you off the hook."

I completely disagree with you on several grounds. Please note that I am not defending the telemarketing companies, but the callers.

First, telemarketing is not "inherently rude," as you suggest. It is no more rude than asking someone if they want to purchase something or take a survery at the mall, or asking someone if they want to register to vote, or the Avon lady selling door to door, or the Salvation Army guy asking for money, etc. It is simply asking a question. And it is not a rude one. These are people who are doing a job they are supposed to do. You do not have to take the survey, buy the product, register, etc. You can simply say, "No thank you," and move on. It probably only takes 5-10 seconds of your time. Of course, if they press you, that is a different story and they are not supposed to do that.

Second, believe it or not, there are a LOT of people out there who LOVE to take surveys, and who like to know about different products available out there. There are people who like to have there voices heard in political surveys (on a side note, during the 2004 campaign, when polls were released every week or so, I remember constantly hearing, "gosh, I am never being asked on surveys about how President Bush is doing." Well, these surveys are done by telephone.").

A common response to this would be, "why don't you just call these people?" Well, they wouldn't be random surveys then.

Third, telemarketing and market research is also a form of advertising (albeit, sometimes a counterproductive one). There are products that are being put out there that many people have not heard of that they might be interested in, and that they would never have heard about if it was not for telemarketing. Also, regarding market research, this also the first time people have heard about certain issues (mainly local ones). In this regard, marketing research/telemarketing is no different than a commercial.

Fourth, there is the dictionary definition of rudeness: "discourteous or impolite, esp. in a deliberate way." Deliberate means, "carefully weighed or considered; studied; intentional." Look, the callers do not deliberately try to bother people, call them while they are eating, or call them during funerals, etc. Callers are not psychic, and nobody knows when people are busy and when they are eating. In fact, I always hoped not to call people when they were busy, because then they were more likely to take the survey and (much) less likely to be rude. This issue is to counter your point that you need intention to be rude.

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps your Do-Not-Call registration has expired. I vaguely recall reading that there was a limited term set on the registration, something like 3 or 4 years. After that, the restriction on telemarketing calls expires, and they can start calling you again. So maybe it's time to renew your registration.

Posted by: charlie don't surf on June 2, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

adlsad,

Of course, rudeness is never called for. As a former telemarketer, what do you think about those people who engage the caller with some conversation about things unrelated to the purpose of the call? I know some people have talked to them nicely until the *telemarketer* hung up on them (which seemed a little rude, actually). The conversations have been friendly inquiries about the job itself, the caller's location, or something amusingly and pleasantly related to the caller's product. Do telemarketers think these conversations are a relief, a nuisance, funny, stupid? Just curious.

Posted by: quench on June 2, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and I am sorry about the snippy response. It was a job that I really hated and I am still bitter about it.

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't gotten any such phone calls, but then I live in the USAtty district of Fitzgerald. My guess is that the illegal phone calls are being placed by GOP contributor-owned firms to districts where the USAtty is compromised.

Posted by: Disputo on June 2, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

So how are these telemarketers getting your phone number, Kevin? Is it published? Are you giving it out? I'm actually surprised that you're having this problem because you're usually such a strong advocate of guarding personal info.

I've had the same phone number for three years now with only a single solicitation call (and that was from a charity). I think the fundamental reason for the peace and quiet is that I never give out my phone number to any commercial or nonprofit group. I didn't even give it to the ACLU when I joined a few years ago. The only people who know how to call me are friends and family and so - no surprise - those are the only people who call.

Posted by: Oregonian on June 2, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

There is no great law in the universe that requires you to answer the phone each time it rings.

If you are eating dinner, watching TV, making love, or otherwise engaged, and the phone rings, ignore it. If you happen to be near a handset with caller ID and you recognize the caller, you may choose to answer if you wish.

I am never put out by an unwanted telephone call, simply because I never answer if I don't recognize the caller. It's simple. It's liberating. Try it.

Posted by: SteveK on June 2, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

adlsad -

Yes, some activities are inherently rude. I feel bad for the people on the other end of the phone who just need the money, just as I feel bad for prostitutes and panhandlers who solicit me. However, such people still deserve to be told to fuck off.

At least panhandlers operate in public spaces, rather than knocking on your door, making them substantially less worthy of derision.

Posted by: anti-bastard response unit on June 2, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

First, telemarketing is not "inherently rude," as you suggest. It is no more rude than asking someone if they want to purchase something or take a survery at the mall, or asking someone if they want to register to vote, or the Avon lady selling door to door, or the Salvation Army guy asking for money, etc.

This is obviously a matter of opinion. For all of the examples you give, there are polite ways I can avoid dealing with people I don't want to talk to: I can avoid eye contact, walk quickly by, or put a notice on my front door saying "No solicitations". I believe telemarketing is inherently rude because (a) I'm on the Do Not Call registry--ignoring this is rude--and (b) even if I'd neglected to register, it's an opt-out system and telemarketing companies have strongly resisted opt-in systems, which from the point of view of the consumer is vastly preferable. (If you know of polls that indicate otherwise, I'll admit I'm mistaken on this.) Because a telemarketing company doesn't provide a way for me to tell them I'm not interested, without talking to them, I consider them rude.

Posted by: RSA on June 2, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Quench,

I just have two qualifiers. First, I did this three years ago in Australia, so I don't know the "Do Not Call" rules/registry in the USA, and I never called anyone on this discussion board. Second, I did marketing research (which are basically surveys), so we did not really have a "product." So maybe, telemarketers might be different in the sense that they need to know about their products. But I don't know, so I can not really answer that.

One more thing, yes, a lot of telemarketing is done in India. Some Australians thought that I was Indian because I had an American accent. And I do not know how they do things in India, but I would assume they are similar to Australia and the USA.

First, you are not supposed to be rude, ever. We have people monitoring the calls, and if people are rude, they will get fired. Now, when I was doing it, we had to state our names and which company we worked for at the beginning of the call. So if a caller was rude, you can just report to the company about the caller. And yes, we were told never to hang up on people (which, I agree, is rude), even when they were swearing at us etc. Although I know that most callers probably hung up when the interviewee started swearing at them.

Second, I can not comment on telemarketing, and I can only comment on marketing research (surveys). We were explicitly told NEVER to comment on the topics being surveyed, give our opinions on the topics being surveyed, or in any way influence or assist an interviewee with their answers. So if someone asked me if I liked George W. Bush (which people did), and it was related to the survey, I had to say something like, "I am not allowed to give an answer on that." The purpose was to get information to assist whomever wanted the survey done, and outside influence would hinder that and give a skewed survey.

Third, it also might be that callers just don't know about the product. When I was doing it in Australia, most of the callers were university students or Europeans on working holiday. Some of the stuff we were doing surveys on we had no idea about. And we had to do a lot of different surveys.

Fourth, as to conversing with people. I liked it when the person I was calling was nice and polite and conversational. Sometimes people would go on and on (these were almost always people over 65), and I would politely say that I needed to move on.

Finally, when I was doing surveys, we had to get a certain number of surveys per hour (depending on how long the survey was). For example, we might need to get six 5-minute surveys an hour.

Quench, I hope this answered your question.

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, many calls, mostly from India. Duh.

Discover Card. DirectTV, HSBC Bank. Over and over and friggin' over.

Oh, and HSBC is Hong Kong/Shanghai bank. Don't give them your money to watch!

Posted by: Flamethrower on June 2, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get those much - I get lots of survey questions - those things that take 10-20 min.

Posted by: ET on June 2, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

> We do not deliberately try to bother people,

Yes you do. By definition. I am sorry if it hurts you to hear that, but it is the stone truth. You are responsible for having taken that job, and you are responsible for the actions you took while you had it.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on June 2, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

RSA,

You state, "(a) I'm on the Do Not Call registry--ignoring this is rude."

I will state again, I am not defending the telemarketing industry (who probably never hear your complaints), just the people who do the calling (who have to hear ALL of your complaints and a few choice words). The people who call have absolutely no idea whether you are on a "Do Not Call registry" or not. I have no idea when someone is eating dinner or not. When I was taking surveys, a random number came up on the computer screen, and I had to call it. It is as simple as that. If someone told me that I was interrupting something, I apologized.

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

I have a Muslim name so I constantly get telemarketed to as such. Always by somebody with a strong accent. Dish Network is the worst. I have yelled at them, cursed at them pleaded with them and my latest line is to ask them if they are Al-Queida calling. I always get a stunned silence as response at which point I hang up!

Posted by: gymrat on June 2, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Anti-Bastard Response Unit,

Personally, I don't think that anyone should say, "Fuck off," to anyone, or even think that. But hey, I am a naive, bleeding-heart liberal, so what do I know?

Hopefully, you can realize that these are people who have feelings, and maybe you can use a more polite choice of words when you decline.

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Murray Roman, the "father" of telemarketing just died recently

Shame he didn't get a "vasectomy" first.

Posted by: Peter on June 2, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, the number has definitely been inching back up, and it's not all stuff from folks with whom I have regular business dealings. The "Do Not Call" dike has sprung a leak.

On the other hand, they're not too big a problem because I gave up answering the phone a few years ago. After two rings the answering machine picks up. If I happen to be nearby and hear a friend's voice, I can pick up. I have "priority ring" set up for a couple of friends so that I recognize their calls immediately. Others can take their chances with the answering machine. Freedom!

As for calls during the dinner hour? Completely ignored. My mother hates such calls with a passion, but she's very old school: the phone must be answered. I've never been able to persuade her otherwise. Odd, that.

Posted by: Zeno on June 2, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

yep. automated ones at that.

Posted by: karin on June 2, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky Observer,

You state, "Yes you do. By definition. I am sorry if it hurts you to hear that, but it is the stone truth. You are responsible for having taken that job, and you are responsible for the actions you took while you had it."

I am really sorry that you think that. This really does affect me because I read your posts here often, I have a great deal of respect for you, and I must say that I am in agreement with you most of the time.

But in this situation, I must respectfully disagree with you.

First, you state that callers are rude by definition. I don't know who's definition this is rude by, and you are taking a very broad definition of the term "rude." I have stated, in a previous post, that rudeness requires a degree of intent. Callers do not intend to be rude, they are just doing their job. Now, you seem to suggest that job of telemarketing is inherently rude. Again, I respectfully disagree with you. As I said in a previous post, a telemarketer/market research caller has many purposes: advertiser, salesperson, vote register, etc. The job is no more inherently rude than any of these other jobs. And we need these jobs.

Second, you state that I am responsible for my job and the actions I took while doing it. That may be true. But you must understand that oftentimes people do not have a lot of choice in these decisions. A few years ago, I was living in a foreign country (Australia) and I had one more year of graduate study to go. By this time I had almost no money and I needed to eat and I needed a place to stay. These require money, which I did not have. This was during the Summer, which is also the Christmas season in Australia, and there were practically no jobs available. I know this because I applied to almost every job imaginable. Fortunately, I had a friend who got me a job as a marketing researcher (which meant I called people to participate in surveys), where I worked for around 5 months.

So to make a long story short, on one level, you are correct. We do choose our jobs. Unfortunately, not everyone has a lot of options. And for some people, their only alternative to working a crappy job is being unable to pay the rent. And these people are not trying to be rude, they are just trying to do a job because the alternative is much worse.

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

And for those who want to feel a sense of schadenfreude, I just received a call from an automated telemarketer...

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Oh yes, they are back in force! 3 calls a day.

Posted by: Joe on June 2, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing that all of you complaining about telemarketing calls still have land lines, right?

I only have a cell phone and have yet to get a telemarketing call in the last five years.

When I had a landline I was paying $35 a month just to have it, making calls cost extra.

Drop your land lines, their useless and a lot more expensive.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on June 2, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Yes...the calls are increasing. The most frequent repeat offender is Readers Digest, to which I have never subscribed and never will.

Posted by: Dennis on June 2, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, I have been getting telemarketing calls again on my personal cell phone. Most of them are automated calls.

Posted by: Frank on June 2, 2007 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

It must be at least in part due to another four years of BushCo in power, but let's see if Dems in Congress will crack down...

Posted by: Neil B. on June 2, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Yesterday I received a call from a telemarketer who insisted that it wasn't a violation because they were just doing free inspections in my neighborhood. I said that I'd pass it on the proper authorities and see what they thought.

Posted by: JL on June 2, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

The people who call have absolutely no idea whether you are on a "Do Not Call registry" or not.

I'll make one last effort here: If the people calling me have no idea whether I'm on the Do Not Call registry or not, then they shouldn't call me. Rudeness issues aside, you do realize that such calls are illegal, right? Your view strikes me as the equivalent of saying, assuming a telemarketing caller has reached someone on the Do Not Call registry, "I may be committing an illegal action (even if it's relatively minor), but that's okay--it's my employer's fault, not mine." Very weak.

Posted by: RSA on June 2, 2007 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

You have to re-register every few years, so I would try that.

Whoever is getting faxes, you have hit the jackpot. You can sue for $500 to $1500 bucks a pop.

Posted by: Teh Prophet on June 2, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

I don't answer the phone any more at my house. Why? Well, for some reason people are always calling from roofing or refinance companies or other absurdities neither I, nor the owner, really wants. I thought such calls were illegal now, too. But maybe not????? OBTW, I've told her that's why I don't answer calls any more.
Anne G

Posted by: Anne Gilbert on June 2, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

My wife and I dumped the land line years ago and only have cell phones now. No telemarketers. Period. We even blocked those annoying IM's from the phone company trying to get us to up our level of service.

Now if I can only block all my e-mail spam, especially from those jerks at J.C. Whitney who have figured a way to evade my spam filter and try to get me to buy car parts four times a week. Assholes.

I do like the flowery prose, however, of the Nigerian scammers.

Posted by: Rob_in_Hawaii on June 2, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Yep.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on June 2, 2007 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

The Do-Not-Call list is nice, but by far the best weapon against telemarketers is...the answering machine. Several years ago we realized that we are under no obligation to answer the phone every time it rings; at that time we turned the ringer off and we've never looked back. Nor have we had our dinners or any other period of home time interrupted by telemarketers ever since.

Posted by: Jaquandor on June 2, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Notwithstanding adlsand's pleas for tolerance, telemarketers suck. I would ask two questions regarding a possible uptick in illegal calls:

1) What level of successful prosecution is actually happening?

2) Does successful prosecution actually hurt the company's bottom-line?

While clearly being pains in the ass, some subset of the telemarketing industry - probably the majority - will follow the law and either live with reduced revenues or find new ways to make money. On the other hand, there is always a subset who will test the system. The point? If the system testers get busted frequently and lose money, they will stop. If they are getting away with it, they will continue the practice. A law without real teeth will only temporarily curtail bad behavior.

The worst aspect of this behavior is that the legal businesses will find themselves sorely tempted when they see others profiting from the illegal activity. Although not a perfect analogy, the increase in US businesses locating offshore to avoid US taxes is a reasonable comparison. So who knows about prosecution in these telemarketing cases?

Posted by: HungChad on June 2, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Haven't noticed more calls on my voice line, but the junk faxes are creeping up alarmingly. On those, you do get a number, even if it's only a "call us" number, and I report them all at donotcall.gov. Only takes 15 seconds to file the report.

adlsad: Telemarketing calls will stop being rude when telemarketers start paying my phone bill. Until then, they're rude. Deal with it, please.

My wife presses people, "W're on the do not call list". They respond that the list doesn't apply to them for whatever reason.

They're probably telling the truth that the list doesn't apply to them, but each organization is required to keep a do-not-call list of its own. Once you ask them not to call you, they can't legally do so, even if they're a charity, a marketing research group or someone you've already done business with. So when they say, "Doesn't apply to us," say, "Okay. Put me on your own organization's no-calls list right now, please." They're usually responsive to that in my experience.

Posted by: shortstop on June 2, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

An entry on the list expires. I thought it would be too soon, but I'd suggest reregistering your number and see if that makes them stop after the usual waiting period.

I never get telemarketing calls - I only use a cell phone, and they're still not allowed to call.

Posted by: Steve Simitzis on June 2, 2007 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Lately, though, the calls have been creeping back up.

Sorry about that, Kevin. I've been using your name and number when I register for free stuff. I'll start using the name "Markos Moulitsas Zúniga" instead.

On a different note, I used to get a ton of snail mail offering me credit cards with "0% Interest for a Year!", etc. In the last 3 months or so, with no change in my job or my very good credit rating, I've only gotten one or 2. Not that I'm complaining, but how did that happen?

Posted by: josef on June 2, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

RSA,

Again, I humbly disagree with you. We are dealing with an issue of fault here. You seem to be saying fault lies with the individual callers. I am saying that the individual callers are not at fault, but, in the event that someone on a Do Not Call Registry gets called, it is the fault of the company itself, and not the callers.

As I have said before, and I will say again, and this is VERY important, I am not defending telemarketing companies, but the individual telemarketers and the individual callers. There is a distinction between the companies themselves, and the people who actually do the calling (and receive all the hate, swear words, etc.) All I said in my initial post was simply to implore people to be nicer to telemarketer/callers, don't yell at them, and that they are people too.

Now, you state, "Rudeness issues aside, you do realize that such calls are illegal, right? Your view strikes me as the equivalent of saying, assuming a telemarketing caller has reached someone on the Do Not Call registry, 'I may be committing an illegal action (even if it's relatively minor), but that's okay--it's my employer's fault, not mine.' Very weak."

Your argument (and I am paraphrasing), that the individual telemarketers/callers/survey takers/etc. are somehow doing something illegal by calling people on a "Do Not Call Registry," seems to go against a major principle of U.S. Corporate Law -- specifically, that corporations are seperate legal entities. And that in instances like these, where employees are conducting their normal course of duties as employees of a corporation, they are not liable, the corporation is. Do you understand this? When employees conduct their normal course of duties, on behalf of the corporation, they are not liable, the corporation is.

Now, let's use your example of telemarketers. Again, I am defending INDIVIDUAL telemarketers, not the telemarketing companies (or whatever they are called). You seem to suggest that individual telemarketers/callers are commiting illegal acts by calling you (or anyone on a "Do Not Call Registry"). Well, the individual telemarketers/callers are not at fault here. They have no way of knowing whether or not your number is on a "do not call" list. A random number just pops up on the computer screen that they must call. In fact, I would argue that a telemarketer would assume that an number they receive is automatically okay (If a number is on a Do Not Call registry, why would they receive it?). If there is anyone at fault, it is people "higher up the food chain" who put or maintain numbers/computer programs that comply with the "Do Not Call Registry." Therefore, to use your example, if your number is on a "Do Not Call Registry," and you receive a call from a telemarketer, it is not the individual telemarketer who has committed a wrong, it is the telemarketing company. This is because: 1) The company as a whole is a seperate legal entity, 2) the telemarketer is an employee of this company, 3) the telemarketer is conducting their normal course of business, 4) the duty is on the corporation to maintain "Do Not Call" files. So if you get a call, your beef is with the company, not the individual caller.

Second, you state: "If the people calling me have no idea whether I'm on the Do Not Call registry or not, then they shouldn't call me." This is illogical. By your logic, individual telemarketers can not call anyone, because there is always the potential that they will call a number that is on this list. Thus, people will not be able to do their jobs. And there are consequences for all of us as well. We rely on the information relied on from phone surveys for a multitude of things. Businesses do (to see how people view certain products), politicians do (to see how people stand on certain issues), and news corporations do (to gain a sense of the public mood).

Finally, since your are suggesting people are committing illegal acts, the issue of intention is at play here. Nobody is intending to call someone on a do not call list. In fact, a reasonable telemarketer would probably believe that the number that appers on their computer screen is a valid number (if it wasn't, it wouldn't show up). They are just doing their job.

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to make one addition to my last post.

I read Kevin Drum's website almost daily. And frequently, he uses charts and polls. Well, the information for these charts/graphs/polls/etc. is taken from telephone marketing research.

I assume that a lot of people agree with HungChad when he states, "telemarketers suck." But you can not discount the amount of information that we rely on that comes from telephone surveys. Besides, how else would we know that President Bush has a 28% approval rate?

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

The combination of answering machine, "do not call" list and, most wonderful, caller ID means I'm never actually bothered by this stuff anymore. Unlike Swift Loris, I do leave the ringer on, though, because I find it majorly unnerving to suddenly hear the disembodied voice of a caller over my shoulder. But I simply do not answer the phone if I don't recognize the number and the Caller ID doesn't ID.

I'm amazed, though, at the number of businesses and workmen, independent contractors, etc., who have their caller IDs blocked. Why on earth wouldn't you want your customers and clients to know it's you on the phone?

As for spam-- out here in rural Vermont, my rinky-dink local telco's ISP has a system that filters it out so effectively that it's rare for more than one or two a month actually makes it into my inbox. And after a year, the only non-spam stuff that's been filtered out incorrectly is the occasional vendor mailing list I've signed up for. If you're having a spam problem, find a better ISP. It's clear that it IS KNOWN how to keep this stuff out of customers' inboxes. If your ISP isn't bothering to do this right, get a new one.

Posted by: gyrfalcon on June 2, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Just spent a few minutes looking up how I can sue for $500 a pop (trebled if it can be shown that the violation was willful) for the seven junk faxes I have sitting here. All were sent to my do-not-call registered fax number; although the DNC list evidently only applies to voice communications, prohibitions against sending unsolicited faxes outside of an established business relationship still apply.

I'm annoyed enough that I might just do it.

Posted by: shortstop on June 2, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

The calls I get are mostly via the legal loophole that someone you already have an ongoing "relationship" with is not prohibted from calling you. The lawyers have figured out how to push that loophole to the limit.

You have to learn how to say nothing except these words: "Take me off your call list and don't call again!"

It's hard to say that to people, but it's necessary. If you engage them at all, you're just inviting yourself to be flagged as a sucker for more calls.

Posted by: bob on June 2, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Well, adlsad, we'll have to agree to disagree. But you have raised some good points, and it's not as clearcut an issue as I've laid it out above. A worthwhile exchange.

Posted by: RSA on June 2, 2007 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Drop your land lines, their useless and a lot more expensive.

You got to be kidding. Cell phone quality sucks and continues to get suckier as the compression algorithms continue to try to squeeze more and more traffic through limited channels. Cell phones are great for communicating brief info on the go (duh) but if you want to have a 30 minute sit-down conversation where you can actually hear the timbre and emotion in someone's voice, land lines are the only way to go.

And I haven't even mentioned sucky coverage. Those who have never left major metro areas in their entire lives will probably be shocked to learn that there are plenty of places in the US out of range of a cell phone tower.

Posted by: Disputo on June 2, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

bob is absolutely correct. The absolute only thing you should tell them is to put you on their do-not-call list and not to call you again. Sometimes they'll say, "Okay, it'll take 14 days to become effective" or something like that. Sometimes they try to argue, in which case you just repeat your command.

Posted by: shortstop on June 2, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

When a criminal calls me on the telephone I can be as rude as I like. And that is exactly what these people are - outright criminals.

The person who makes the call is a criminal, the company who places the calls is criminal, the company who hires them is a criminal.

Lock them up for ten years.

Posted by: PHB on June 2, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

I work at home and last year moved to NC and registered for the donotcall list. I let the machine answer calls unless I'm expecting one. People know I do this so if they really want to talk, they leave a message or tell me to pick up the phone.

1-3 calls a day, even after 9 months on the dnc list. Only one or two messages a week, mainly robocallers or the county sherriff/local police protective associations. Which are really scams, the fundraisers in Mecklenburg County, NC are officially associated with the sherriffs/police and spends more than 50% of their money on "expenses" of which they give no details.

I've picked up a few calls while waiting for expected ones, I always ask the caller's name, and then their company or for their supervisor, which always triggers a hangup. Then I log on to the dnc webiste and report the suckers.

aj

Posted by: aj on June 2, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

RSA,

Regarding this topic, there's not many people who will ever agree with me. Thanks for the post, you brought up some good points.

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, the phone calls are up (toothless FTC, probably).

I try to nail them by asking the name of the company, and most refuse to answer.

One told me that my 'do not call' had expired, so I renewed it at the FTC.

The one I hate (every two days) is from 'the mortgage branch' (of what they don't say). I'd luv to nail those f**ckers.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR on June 2, 2007 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

PHB,

Grrr!!! You are absolutely right! I am a criminal of the worst kind. I should be locked up with all of the murders, rapists, etc. for asking people to take a survey on what cars they like. At least this will give me some street cred in the 'hood.

So tell me, how are you going to arrest all the telemarketers in India?

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Try this - it will fix your problem permanently

http://www.interceptorid.com/products/p2p.htm

It blocks all calls EXCEPT the ones you approve.

Posted by: Tim on June 2, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

I've been seeing the uptick also. There seems to be an attempt to avoid penalties, as they don't say they're trying to sell, they say they're "offering a free consultation" on whatever they're trying to sell.

Posted by: EL on June 2, 2007 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

I've also been seeing an uptick. I say politely "I am on the Do Not Call list". They reply "Oh, we're exempt because we're polling/political/not selling anything/doing a survey", or some other excuse. I say "As far as I am concerned, you are not" and hang up.

Posted by: Andrea on June 2, 2007 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

I've been seeing an increase here in L.A., especially in the last couple of weeks. And they're all from home improvement/construction companies.

I follow this routine:
- Ask them to repeat the company name.
- Ask them where they're located.
- Ask for a local phone number.

I usually get answers, though some realize where I'm going and hang up.

I tell them that calling me is against the law, then I hang up. Then I report the call to www.donotcall.gov..... though I suspect that perhaps a lack of enforcement is now emboldening these domestic terrorists.

Posted by: Randy G on June 2, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't noticed any real increase. I get a handful per month. The one trend I have noticed is that the ones I do get now all tend to be recorded. Virtually no real humans anymore.

Posted by: Richard on June 2, 2007 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody is intending to call someone on a do not call list... They are just doing their job.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

Posted by: Upton Sinclair on June 2, 2007 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Grrr!!! You are absolutely right! I am a criminal of the worst kind. I should be locked up with all of the murders, rapists, etc. for asking people to take a survey on what cars they like.

Is not being a criminal the best you can say for yourself?

You chose to enter a profession most of us consider invasive, intrusive and even immoral. You needed the money--great. We all need money. We all make decisions about what we will and will not do to get it, what lines we won't cross.

You crossed one that most of the people commenting here wouldn't cross. Live with it and stop looking for validation.

The fact that "some people like answering surveys" doesn't change the fact that the great majority of us don't want you in our homes, on our phone lines, which we pay for.

Best deal with it. We hate the job you chose. You want approbation, look for it among other telemarketers and survey people.

Posted by: shortstop on June 2, 2007 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

That's why god made answering machines and caller id. Most junk callers won't leave a message. And he included a 'delete' button if they do.

Posted by: slanted tom on June 2, 2007 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

First, telemarketing is not "inherently rude," as you suggest. ....It is simply asking a question. And it is not a rude one. ....You can simply say, "No thank you," and move on.

I disagree and here is why. It is not the question that is rude. It is the act of calling that is rude. Telemarketers take advantage of the fact that people cannot know whether it is a friend, a relative, an emergency, or whatever, until they answer the phone. So they stop whatever they are doing at home to talk to some idiot salesperson. It is rude and abusive. We both know I did not get a phone so I could talk to salesmen.

Posted by: MP on June 2, 2007 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Why, when answering machines have been available for decades, does anybody ever pick up the phone unless they *want* to talk to whoever is calling? That makes absolutely no sense to me.

Posted by: Swift Loris

Do you suppose it was conditioning by the phone company to help sell telephone service? Why didn't phones ever have 'off' switches until the modern era?

Posted by: slanted tom on June 2, 2007 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Just drop the landline.

Posted by: Orion on June 2, 2007 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

In fact, I always hoped not to call people when they were busy.

That is a very good point.

What's your phone number?

Posted by: MP on June 2, 2007 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, just in the past month the infernal telemarketers have come back.

Not to be paranoid or cynical, but I'm willing to bet some corporations complained and the administration told whatever agency it is that handles enforcement to lay off...

Posted by: lampwick on June 2, 2007 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Yep. Starting about last September, the calls started coming again. More and more each month, it seemed for a while.

Posted by: Craig U. on June 2, 2007 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Do you understand this? When employees conduct their normal course of duties, on behalf of the corporation, they are not liable, the corporation is.

Oh wow, carte blanche to break the law! Who knew? Do you understand that despite what they may have told you this is not true?

1) The company as a whole is a seperate legal entity....your beef is with the company, not the individual caller.

How nice. If had the CEO's phone number, I'd yell at him.

Second, you state: "If the people calling me have no idea whether I'm on the Do Not Call registry or not, then they shouldn't call me." This is illogical. By your logic, individual telemarketers can not call anyone, because there is always the potential that they will call a number that is on this list

Now you're catching on.

Finally, since your are suggesting people are committing illegal acts, the issue of intention is at play here. Nobody is intending to call someone on a do not call list.

Please allow me to to explain the law to you. The act of intent is in making the call in the first place. A wrong number is not a violation of the DNC. Your kid punching numbers for fun is not a violation. Making a sales call not knowing whether or not a number is on the list is in fact breaking the law. I practice law in this area, trust me.

Callers do not intend to be rude, they are just doing their job.

You seem to thing these are mutually exclusive. That, I think is your problem.

Posted by: MP on June 2, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop,

There are several points in your post that I feel that I need to address.

1. You state, "Is not being a criminal the best you can say for yourself?"

No, that is not the best that I can say for myself at all. In fact, I have spent this entire Saturday morning defending a job that I had three years ago, for a few months, while I was in grad school (a job, by the way, which I really, really hated). I am trying to defend people who have to put up with a lot of abuse, and who get very little in return. I have spent this entire morning trying (probably in vain) to convince people that those who make these calls are not bad people, are not deliberately trying to annoy others, are not trying to scam people, and that a simple, "No thank you, I'm not interested," is a lot better than, "Fuck you, asshole!!! Get a real job, dickhead!!!" You can view my posts at 12:54, 1:55, 2:27, 2:37, 2:46, 3:11, 5:32, 5:39 (all times Eastern Standard).

Now, calling telemarketers/callers "annoying" is one thing. But calling them criminals is another. And I firmly believe that PHB was not being facetious when he stated, "The person who makes the call is a criminal, the company who places the calls is criminal, the company who hires them is a criminal." This is false. As I said in a previous post, "When employees conduct their normal course of duties, on behalf of the corporation, they are not liable, the corporation is." Calling someone a criminal is a serious charge, and it is not something I take lightly. And a false accusation like that must be vigorously defended.

2. Another point that you made seems to involve my choice of working in marketing research. As I stated in an earlier post (3:11), on one level, sure it was a choice. But you have to understand that it was a choice between being a marketing research caller and not working. At the time, there were no other jobs available. And, when a person has to choose between working as a telemarketer and not working and being evicted, you choose working as a telemarketer. It's that simple. It was the choice I made, it would probably be the choice you would make in the same situation, and I am sure that it would be the same choice most people reading this would make. You see, there are times when people don't have a lot of options regarding work (believe me, this was not a career or something to up my career prospects later in life), and they take a job like this simply because there is not an alternative.

3. You implore me to stop looking for validation and approbation. That really isn't what I am trying to do. I am trying to humanize people who many people seem to dislike. And I am trying to suggest more constructive alternatives (such as contacting the company) to yelling, screaming, and cursing a telemarketer who is just doing his/her job.

Now, you may think telemarketers are invasive, intrusive, and immoral (I would just say inconvenient and annoying sometime, but I would not say immoral). I am sorry that you feel that way, and I don't think there is anything that I can do to convince you otherwise. But a lot of people like participating in them, a lot of people purchase products this way. Much more than I think you realize. And we rely on the information, businesses rely on the information, and our government relies on the information. It may be annoying at times, but there are good reasons for doing it.

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

MP,

My phone number is 510-789-5218.

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

There's nothing wrong with telemarketers as people, nothing at all. They're merely representing their company or whatever it is, and it is the company or whatever that is responsible for interrupting you during dinner or lovemaking or whatever.

By the same token, there is nothing wrong with cursing the telemarketers who call in the nastiest terms possible. For as they ought to understand, the curses are not directed at them, personally, but at the corporations they represent. The right thing for them to do would be to pass all the negative energy along to their bosses.

If they don't - if they actually take personal offense when callers swear and go off - all they're doing is taking one for their employer. And that's stupid, servile, and unforgiveable.

Posted by: lampwick on June 2, 2007 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

You have to re-register your phone number. The telemarketers started calling me again a few months ago but stopped about a month after I re-registered my number.

Posted by: dade on June 2, 2007 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

By the same token, there is nothing wrong with cursing the telemarketers who call in the nastiest terms possible. For as they ought to understand, the curses are not directed at them, personally, but at the corporations they represent.

Nice observation, lampwick. It's just a potential business transaction, after all, and not every one ends happily.

Posted by: RSA on June 2, 2007 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, Kevin. Could I get your phone number please? I won't sell it to anyone, I promise. No really - no shit. Uh-uh. No way.

Posted by: A Friend in Telemarketing on June 2, 2007 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

And my number is 867-5309.

Posted by: Tommy Tutone on June 2, 2007 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry. There is something wrong with cursing them out in the "nastiest terms possible".

And the bosses don't care. They put these people there as an insulation to their methods. Or they may be further removed, belonging to a company whose services are rented to call you.

There are enough arseholes in the world without adding more.

Got a problem. Be a man -- or woman. Address it yourself. You think the person on the other end has an interest in representing your views?

Anyway, pretty weak looking Saturday. Ceegars in the early AM and telemarketers midday.

The world must have stopped, you think?

Posted by: notthere on June 2, 2007 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Lampwick,

You state:

"By the same token, there is nothing wrong with cursing the telemarketers who call in the nastiest terms possible. For as they ought to understand, the curses are not directed at them, personally, but at the corporations they represent. The right thing for them to do would be to pass all the negative energy along to their bosses.

I disagree with you on two points.

First, I suggest that the best way to deal with telemarketers when called, is to call the company itself. Try to find out the name of the company, some contact information regarding the company, also try to get some information like the time of the call, etc. Your calling them is far more effective. Granted, it is only against that particular company - again, I don't know how US law works regarding this, but I checked Wikipedia regarding this issue and they have everything you need to know regarding this issue:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_National_Do_Not_Call_Registry

also check out:

https://www.donotcall.gov/default.aspx

Also, like in most companies, "negative energy" does not flow up. So it is best if you make a call to the company itself - from my (limited) experience, YOU have a lot more power in this regard than the callers.

Second, you state, "If they don't - if they actually take personal offense when callers swear and go off - all they're doing is taking one for their employer. And that's stupid, servile, and unforgiveable."

Unfortunately, I guess I fall under this category (which is why I am still arguing this - then again, I am not defending the companies but the callers). I do take things personally. I shouldn't, but I do. I have done it my entire life, and I have to accept that this is who I am, and there is not much that I can do about it. It has nothing to do with intelligence (I have multiple degrees) or servility (there is nothing that I could have done). Yes, I understand that people are mad at the fact that I called (when I did), then who I am. But it still hurts to be called nasty things. I always try and do the best job that I could at whatever job I was given.

Now, in my defense, in the short time that I did marketing research, I was THE most polite and coureous caller (and yes, I understand that EVERYONE is going to harp on me that calling is impolite in the first place) you could imagine. I never pressured people into doing anything or answering any questions they did not want to, I always spoke truthfully, and I always apologized if I called at an improper time (and yes, I understand that people will yell at me that ANY TIME is improper). I do understand that not every marketing research caller is like me.

Now, I am saying this because I believe that yelling and swearing at callers is counterproductive. It does not achieve anything. It hurts those who do try and be professional and courteous, and it does not effect those who don't care.

Posted by: adlsad on June 2, 2007 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

For someone who claims he or she is not looking for approbation or validation, adlsad, you've spent a whole lot of time here today trying to convince us of your personal virtues.

Why?

The subject of this thread is whether and why so many companies seem to be violating the do-not-call act of late. There have been a few sidelong snarks involving how one might or should treat telemarketers, but the central issue being discussed here is not whether we're being nice enough to you guys when you invade our homes.

The central issue, from the perspective of literally everyone posting except you, is how we can protect ourselves against you and never have to talk to you at all. And I note that's not something you seem to want to address.

You keep arguing for the usefulness and necessity of telemarketing. And we keep saying we want these companies to respect the law and our desire--as explicitly expressed in our registry on the DNC list--not to be contacted.

Those are two irreconcilable aims. And I think you know that, which is why you're mixing up all the highly personal "I just want everyone to be nicer to callers!" stuff with the "We can't survive as a nation and an economy without telemarketers!" business. You'll note that you were the first to bring up how telemarketers are treated by the people they're calling, and you were the only one discussing that issue for much of the thread.

Is it because you think that harping on the "humanization" of telemarketers will get more traction among us bleeding hearts than arguing for the inherent value of telemarketing?

Posted by: shortstop on June 2, 2007 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

Now, I am saying this because I believe that yelling and swearing at callers is counterproductive. It does not achieve anything.

I believe that for many people on the receiving end of a telemarketing call, it results in some personal satisfaction to yell at the telemarketer. Further, if it hurts the feelings of the telemarketer, that is also a good thing in a way: it makes the job less desirable.

Posted by: RSA on June 3, 2007 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

My last post was somewhat sarcastic and so perhaps a bit unclear. Here are two ideas that underlie it:

I have a Platonic ideal of a good telemarketer. It would be a person of Zen-like transparency, who could carry out the mission of his or her company without being emotionally attached to it, and who could absorb the verbal pounding he/she received from callees by simply letting it roll away, like water off a duck's back. I would admire a person like this, even as I cursed them out.

Adlsad seems to have been a bit too wrapped up in the job to fit this ideal of mine.

Second, there is a huge asymmetry in the energy and expertise which said company is willing to deploy in order to get me to answer its questions or buy its products, and the energy and expertise which I am willing to deploy in order to play defense and get it to go away.

Big guy vs. little guy, in other words. And for that reason I ain't gonna go tracking down the corporation's number and try harassing them back.

Which is why a governmental solution is the best one in this case.

And why my sympathies for any little guy who defends the big guy in any way are barely enough to get the bow moving on the tiniest of violins.

Posted by: lampwick on June 3, 2007 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

Postscript on the ideal telemarketer:

Al and Egbert, for instance. Given their proven ability to (1) absorb abuse, (2) sell the most nonsensical of nonsensical shit, and (3) keep doing it all the time, I have to conclude that they would be EXCELLENT telemarketers.

Posted by: lampwick on June 3, 2007 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Shortstop,

I think that we are talking past each other. I will agree and disagree with you on some of your points.

The first two are minor quibbles:

First, you state that you want to know, "how we can protect ourselves against you and never have to talk to you at all." I am NOT a marketing research caller anymore. I did it for 5 months, 3 years ago, in another country (with different rules regarding this). Since then, I never had to call anyone since. So, I don't think that you ever have to worry about me, personally, calling you in a marketing research capacity. Yes, I know you mean that you don't want ANY outside person calling you, but I just want to make this clear. Now, other telemarketers, that is a different story that I will address below.

Second, you state, "but the central issue being discussed here is not whether we're being nice enough to you guys when you invade our homes." Now, this is just a legal point, and I know that we are going to disagree on this, but callers are not "invading [your] homes." They might be inconveniencing you for a bit, but they are not invading. That is a totally seperate issue.

Now, having said that, I will go to my third point.

You state, "The central issue, from the perspective of literally everyone posting except you, is how we can protect ourselves against you and never have to talk to you at all. And I note that's not something you seem to want to address."

There are two points regarding this:

1. I have addressed this issue a couple times in earlier posts. In my post at 2:27, I stated, "So if a caller was rude, you can just report to the company about the caller." At 5:32, I stated, "So if you get a call, your beef is with the company, not the individual caller." And at 11:21, I provided websites of Do Not Call and Wikipedia which has a section that deals with what needs to be done, "In order to create an actionable complaint pursuant to FCC."

I guess that one of the themes in my posts was that, rather than yelling at the individual caller, call the actual company and have them take your number off their list. If you are on a "Do Not Call List," you can take this complaint to the FCC. This would probably be a lot more effective. I could, and should, have expressed this point more clearly and articulately.

As for going off topic, I plead guilty. I sincerely apologize. My first post implored people to be nicer to telemarketers/callers/etc. because it is just negative for everyone and it does not accomplish anything. Other posters made comments such as "inherently annoying," and "criminals." I took it personally, which I should not have done (sometimes, my emotion gets the better of me, and I put more sentiment in than is necessary). And I felt that I needed to respond. 12 hours later, I am still here. When I was discussing personal issues and experiences, I was responding to other posts who addressed this. Having said all that, I know I am not the first person to go off topic on a discussion board, and I am quite sure that I will not be the last. But I will take your point, and try to stay on topic in the future.

Now, I do want to comment on one of your points. This being the inconsistency between our reliance on the data used by surveys and our unwillingness to participate (I will mention that I never said, "We can't survive as a nation and an economy without telemarketers!").

You state, "You keep arguing for the usefulness and necessity of telemarketing. And we keep saying we want these companies to respect the law and our desire--as explicitly expressed in our registry on the DNC list--not to be contacted."

This is a good point that you make, and I should have made a qualifier to my earlier point. Telemarketing and Marketing Research are two different things. Now, although I think that telemarketing has SOME value, I understand people's desire not to be contacted. But I wanted to argue that marketing research (surveys) is different. The point that I wanted to make (again, I did not express myself clearly) was that we rely on these surveys for so many things (in business, politics, etc.), but so many people do not want to participate (and then complain that nobody asks them for their opinion). This is also problematic because their voices are not heard.

However, according to the Wikipedia on DNCL:

"Placing one's number on the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most, but not all, telemarketing calls.

A person may still receive calls from political organizations, charities, TELEPHONE SURVEYORS or companies with which he or she has an existing business relationship."

Therefore, the point I was going to make is moot, because, according to the Wikipedia article, surveys are not covered under the "Do Not Call List." Therefore, we can still get marketing research surveys. And we can still choose whether or not to participate in them.

Anyway, I understand your points and concerns. I will try and address them a bit better in the future.

Posted by: adlsad on June 3, 2007 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

Lampwick,

I will agree with you. I also believe that a government solution will probably be the best regarding this (and a lot of other things too).

I also must say that I wasn't really wrapped up in the job. I HATED it!!! Cranky, RSA, and Shortstop would have me in tears in about 30 seconds.

And I am not defending the big guy, only the employees of the big guy who take a lot of crap from up top.

Posted by: adlsad on June 3, 2007 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Shortstop,

One final point. I apologize for the length of my (second to) last post. I see your point and agree with some of what you are saying. Brevity isn't my strong point.

Posted by: adlsad on June 3, 2007 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

"...but if you want to have a 30 minute sit-down conversation where you can actually hear the timbre and emotion in someone's voice, land lines are the only way to go..."
Posted by: Disputo on June 2, 2007 at 5:59 PM

Absolutely. Even some cordless phones (working through a land line) are godawful for an extended conversation due to bad audio quality. Everybody has gotten way too complacent about audio quality. We need killer bandwidth and data storage so that NO compression is needed for voice and we can just ditch MP3 and all that for music...

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 3, 2007 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Cranky, RSA, and Shortstop would have me in tears in about 30 seconds.

No worries there; you wouldn't get more than 10 seconds with me, adlsad. As soon as you identified yourself, I'd politely and firmly tell you to put me on your organization's own no-call list and never call me again, terminating the conversation as soon as I got your acknowledgment that you understood what I just told you. I did state this policy of mine earlier, you know; perhaps you were too emotional to catch it?

The bonus for you: You will never hear me complaining that I "wasn't asked my opinion" after I get rid of a bothersome phone survey person. As it happens, I get asked my opinion a lot and am normally quite happy to share it--there are other ways of doing this, of course, than invading my home via my phone line (spare me the literal legalistic interpretation--when you barge into someone's private space unasked on your schedule, not theirs, that's what you're doing).

As for the rest of it, I don't know if you're being deliberately obtuse and disingenuously literal, and I don't much care at this point. You really ought to have twigged that this is a well-informed bunch that doesn't need help finding the dnc.gov site, for crying out loud. (And thanks for pointing out that phone surveys aren't covered by DNC. I guess my having said this myself hours ago escaped you?)

The question of this thread, as if it weren't crystal clear to everyone else, is not "What is the DNC all about and what does it cover?" The question is "Why are these sons of bitches now flouting federal law and what are we going to do about making sure they stop and the FTC does its job?" And secondarily, "Since we have only limited control over the federal government, what are some additional, non-governmental ways we can protect ourselves and avoid getting these calls altogether?" Remember that part about irreconcilable aims? Our goals are different from the callers', you see, and we're protecting our interests while you argue for theirs.

Seeing it now? If you still can't figure it out, I'm hanging up.

Posted by: shortstop on June 3, 2007 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

Shortstop,

Obviously, you feel very strongly about this subject. I guess that we'll just agree to disagree on certain points.

And I apologize, I missed your initial point where you state phone surveys are not covered under "Do Not Call." I tried to respond to several posts by several different people, and I guess I missed your point.

Posted by: adlsad on June 3, 2007 at 3:04 AM | PERMALINK

It is as bad as it was before the no call lists. Mostly mortgage companies with too goo to be true offers.

Posted by: David on June 3, 2007 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK

Lampwick and RSA,

Thanks for the comments. You make some good points which I will take into consideration. Actually, I think that we agree on more things than we disagree on.

Posted by: adlsad on June 3, 2007 at 4:03 AM | PERMALINK

If you're the type of person who answers the phone when you don't know who's calling, and then gets upset when it turns out to be a telemarketer - well, you're a douchebag. Or an asshole, or whatever epithet you prefer.

The same goes for those of you who think telemarketing is "an inherently rude activity". Why? Because you say so? Who made you the effing arbiter? Again: if you don't want to be annoyed by calls you don't want to take, ONLY TAKE THE CALLS YOU RECOGNIZE AND ARE WILLING TO TAKE. It's akin to not answering the door when the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses come knocking. If you're stupid/insecure/self-important enough to answer EVERY call no matter WHAT shows up on the caller ID and no matter what's going on at your house when the call happens, then you've gotten exactly what you deserve when it turns out to be an unwanted solicitation.

Jesus Christ...I'm always astounded at what sissified, insufferable pricks so many of the people I share political beliefs with are sometimes.

Oh, and adlsad? You've been far too indulgent of RSA, who's the douchiest of the douchebags in this thread. RSA? - read Swift Loris et. al. again, and then think before you post again. You're a dick.

Posted by: El Caballo de Sangre on June 3, 2007 at 5:36 AM | PERMALINK

There are TWO PROBLEMS here: (1) the registry system is flawed; and (2) the Bush administration has no intention of enforcing the flawed system.

First of all, the system is flawed in that you have to give out your phone number and your name to register. A lot of these calls are robocalls with super computers making up zillions and zillions of made-up number in hopes of getting a "hit." So, here you are, in order to register and in order to complain you have to give out your phone number and name, especially at later "complaint" stages where you're standing out as an actual person.

Second of all, the Bush administration. Before we eventually changed our phone number and didn't bother to register the phone number, we made many online complaints regarding the old number. Daily, updated complaints about repeated illegal phone calls. We have caller ID and saw who was calling. No, they did not ACTUALLY speak with us, but there they were, happily and illegally calling away.

So we changed number in, what, early 2006, late 2005? Then in the fall of 2006 we get ABOUT FIFTY LETTERS IN THE SPACE OF ABOUT THREE DAYS FROM THE GOVERNMENT asking asinine questions. We had sent emails with all necessary, required information. And then, a year later, without identifying which complaint we made and who it was about, all information we had given them, THEY ASK who specifically did we speak with, and what time did they call (we told you, we told you, we told you), etc., etc., and finally, this is the kicker, HAD WE PREVIOUSLY AGREED FOR THE CALLER TO CALL US. Without our replying with further information on these mystery complaints (all of our complaints), the government would do nothing.

IT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE FOR ANY COMPLAINANT WHO HAD SPOKEN/NOT SPOKEN WITH AN ILLEGAL CALLER IN VIOLATION OF THE DO-NOT-CALL LIST TO SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS/QUESTIONS OF BUSH'S DO-NOTHING EMPLOYEES.

Ridiculous.

Posted by: Anon on June 3, 2007 at 5:37 AM | PERMALINK

Yes. We simply don't answer the phone if we do not recognize the phone number.

Posted by: bboot on June 3, 2007 at 5:58 AM | PERMALINK

Bob and Shortstop are right. Politely ask the caller to put you on the "do not call" list. The calls I get are from the many non profits I support. Because I do lots of calling (unpaid) during campaign season via the local Dem phone bank, I do appreciate courteous responses, and I'm usually ecstatic when someone is willing to respond to my survey questions. But, we always have a coding for persons who request "do not call." We honor it faithfully. No one wants to call a person who does not want to be called.

Posted by: KathyP on June 3, 2007 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

Re. Junk Faxes.....I had similar problems when I had a fax machine...primarily from some FL company which repeatedly sent me promotions offering airfare to Florida and a stay in some hotel for 10 days for $8.95 or suchlike.

Normally these guys are slick. They never give you their fax number and they offer a number to call to have your name removed, but it's a ploy to get you to verify your fax number for their database.

Once however, I got sweet revenge. One of these slimeballs sent me something and managed to include their real fax number.

I got myself a few sheets of solid black paper and faxed them back to that number a few times. Suspect it used up their toner real quick.

Posted by: dweb on June 3, 2007 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Cranky, RSA, and Shortstop would have me in tears in about 30 seconds.

Actually, I wouldn't; I don't think I've ever been rude to a telemarketer on the phone. Not that it matters, but I thought we were talking in generalities.

Posted by: RSA on June 3, 2007 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

RSA,

I was just trying to lighten up the situation by being a little self deprecating. I had no intention of implying anyone was rude.

Posted by: adlsad on June 3, 2007 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Well, it happens in the mailing world to the right wingers as well.

I check on two ladies in our neighborhood - They are sisters, who are plus-minus 90. Learned early on to never discuss politics with them - Walking through their living room and seeing The Washington Times (and this is in Portland, OR), the Weekly Standard and Human Events laying around, and with all the pictures of Shrub, made me shudder. But, have to laugh when I see the postman, almost driving a fork lift up to their door with stacks of every right wing nut job spam mail attempting to solicit every last cent from them - And they both bemoan this and wonder how they got on the list - They have tried to have them stopped at the PO and have tried to take them back, but to no avail. Geez, who would have thought that right wing slime mags and papers would ever stoop to selling their names?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 3, 2007 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

I get the mortgage companies wanting to "save" me tons of money. I interrupt and politely ask them to remove me from their list and then say have a nice day. Usually works like a charm. Once a guy with a rather strong accent (guessing India) said no. I said I would report them and that it was his legal obligation to remove my name. Like some kid on a playground, he said go ahead, daring me to turn him in. It was comical for a second. I hung up.

Posted by: bill on June 3, 2007 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Again: if you don't want to be annoyed by calls you don't want to take, ONLY TAKE THE CALLS YOU RECOGNIZE AND ARE WILLING TO TAKE...If you're stupid/insecure/self-important enough to answer EVERY call no matter WHAT shows up on the caller ID and no matter what's going on at your house when the call happens, then you've gotten exactly what you deserve when it turns out to be an unwanted solicitation.

Well, there are a couple of little problems with that line. For one, anyone who's got every friend and family member's business, home and cell numbers memorized has a pretty small circle.

It's not always easy to identify a telemarketer as such. An increasing number are ditching the "unknown caller" or "toll-free number" designation on caller ID in favor of "Florida call," "Illinois call," etc. The state-only designations also show up on legitimate calls--both personal and, for those who work at home, business calls they actually want or need to take.

read Swift Loris et. al. again, and then think before you post again.

I'm glad Swift Loris has found a system that works for him or her. SL knows his or her clients and what they expect. But a lot of people working at home--and there's a huge number of people doing that at least some days every week--would find their clients going elsewhere or their employers getting pissed off if they repeatedly didn't pick up the phone when an iffy call turns out to be a client or colleague. And a lot of people's clients or employers--even if they're not SL's--find it unprofessional and off-putting to have to start to leave a message before the vendor/employee will pick up the phone. (I don't even know that many people with answering machines instead of voicemail anymore, but it seems from this thread that there are a lot of them still out there.)

Caller ID is great and I can't imagine life without it, but I don't think every last American should have to come up with X dollars a month to keep the barbarians outside the gate (or else risk getting blamed for inviting the abuse). When people register in good faith for a government service that's designed to protect them from out-of-control telemarketers, it's not really fair to blame them for sometimes picking up the phone in good faith.

Posted by: shortstop on June 3, 2007 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

I just went on to the Do Not Call registry website (www.donotcall.gov) and checked to see if my phone number was still listed, which it was - the date on which the registration expires was also listed, five years from the date that I first registered it.

Posted by: Rebecca on June 3, 2007 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

I had no intention of implying anyone was rude.

adlsad, you've been remarkably civil and clear in your posts.

Posted by: RSA on June 3, 2007 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

I am using 800Notes to check my callers. I never answer if I don't know the number, and then look it up there to see what other people report.

Posted by: Izzi on June 3, 2007 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Re: calls from charities collecting for police and fire departments... Many (if not all) of these calls are scams, growing out of our heightened regard for emergency services after 9-11. One of the easiest ways to tell is to ask for materials to be sent to you in the mail. Scammers will try to explain that they "can't" send materials until they have a contribution, which is utter rubbish - they "can't" send materials because they don't want to run afoul of mail fraud statutes.

If you want to make a contribution to your local emergency services troops, either make a donation directly (in the case of volunteer FD's and EMS). Most full-time, paid (non-volunteer) agencies aren't set up for donations - they're funded through municipal budgets, but you can call their HQ and ask about how to donate.

If nothing else, the main fraternal organizations or unions -- Fraternal Order of Police, Internat'l Assn of Fire Fighters, etc -- can generally steer you in the right firection.

BTW, if you get a bogus call collecting for the emergency services community, write down whatever info you can gather and give it to the local PD - they HATE these bastards.

Posted by: Andrew618 on June 3, 2007 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

The damnable Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a rotten rag that tries to play both sides of the street, is losing circulation at an astonishing rate.

They stayed alive in the past through phone offers that would turned paid circulation on its head--they practically paid the "customer" to sign up for delivery of the daily and Sunday paper for 3 months. Seven buck a month and a $10 debit card for some store, as a bonus. $11 bucks total for ninety one days of home delivery. This outfit is desperate.

But the parctice put lots of "new" customers on the books AND let them consider us former customers, whom thay can call under one of the exceptions to the no call rule.

Just one more reason to despise this disgusting, pandering stealth right-wing presence in the house. I take the card, then use the option to cancel "at any time".

Posted by: Jim Bouman on June 3, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

It's not always easy to identify a telemarketer as such.

Just as one example of this, my wife works at a hospital. When she calls home on her office line, the number appears as "withheld", presumably for privacy reasons. How do I differentiate her call from that of a telemarketer?

Posted by: frankly0 on June 3, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the best way to avoid all those calls is to have an unpublished phone number. I don't mean "unlisted," where no one can find you. "Unpublished" numbers are available if you call Information, but they're just not in the phone book. For $1.00 a month (AT&T) you can avoid 99% of solicitations. And if old Fred from college comes to town, he can still dial Information and track you down. It's a good deal.

Posted by: Ridinghood on June 3, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't had a problem with regular telemarketing, but I have been getting illegal debt-collection robocalls (they don't identify the calling organization anywhere in the call)—and not even for my debt. In the past, I've just blown them off, but I've started reporting to them to the >FCC.

Its the same form as for telemarketing.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 3, 2007 at 1:10 PM |
PERMALINK

Carpet cleaners. Those are the only ones I get nowadays, and they definitely have flared up.

For some reason, I find these calls more insidious and infuriating than those I used to get in the past. For one thing, they start with a reccording that says, press 1 to be removed from our list...I did, and still got another call a few days later. Angry, this time I stayed on the line to talk to the operator, to ask to be taken off the list. As soon as she got on the line and discovered I wasn't a carpet-cleaning customer, she hung up on me. Angrier still, I called back the local number that appeared on the caller ID -- and got some poor old man at home who had no idea what I was talking about. So they're sending out fake local numbers when they call to stymie the caller ID. And, it's a different number every time. Clearly something very fishy going on. Each successive time, when I press the 1 for "don't call back," they still call back, and when I talk to whatever anonymous young woman I get transferred to, she hangs up as soon as I start asking the name of the company or where they're based or if they can please stop calling me. I'm ready to either call the cops (and tell them what, I'm not sure), or set up a fake appointment and take out my frustration on whoever shows up.

And don't tell me to simply ignore all calls from people I don't know -- sometimes I get calls from people I want or need to talk to, from numbers I don't recognize. Also, I, too, have noticed an increase in calls from my banck, credit card companies, phone and cable companies, etc., trying to sell me extra services.

Posted by: Conor on June 3, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone want to change the topic?

Posted by: consider wisely always on June 3, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

The fighting in Lebanon and the US arming of the government-side of the conflict alarms me. The mass media says they are fighting religious radical Palestinian factions, justifying the fish in a barrel attacks that have abused so many poor, defenseless people.

Posted by: Brojo on June 3, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Well, as FAUX-Lib has, so helpfully, pointed out, most telemarketing calls originate in Iran. So, nukes may be in order to save the world.

Thanks, FAUX, now crawl back under your bed and hide, unless of course, there is an IslamoFascist lying in wait, or to snuggle, already.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 3, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

My experience is that Democrats and liberals are far more abusive than other groups when it comes to telemarketing. I have in the past received phone calls from the Democrat party, asking me to vote for them. You can tell they are young, sheltered kids on the phone, totally taken in by Hollywood. They are so nieve. I try to reason with them, try to get them to see how the real world works. They are so close minded, like a lot of what I see here, or like Drum himself. They are all into Move-On and Michael Moore. They are socialist, multiculturalist and athiest. After a while, they finally hang up, evasperated because I am not swayed by there arguments.

Posted by: egbert on June 3, 2007 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: illegal debt-collection robocalls...not even for my debt

Jeez, I didn't know I was giving them your number, I just pulled a number out of my butt. Sorry!

Posted by: thersites on June 3, 2007 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Just skimmed through comments; apologies if others have already brought this up:

Many telemarketers don't use published numbers - they simply dial at random. The firm I worked for during my hungry years gave us lists with a prefix followed by numbers in sequence - example: 555-1000, 555-1009, 555-1018, etc.

In my current line of work, at least, word is out that the Bush Justice Department isn't much interested in enforcing regulations against business, and I'm sure the telemarketers have figured that out by now, too.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on June 3, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

1. to the technonazis who insist 'get a cell phone', or 'if you don't know who's calling, you're a moron for answering the phone...' blah blah blah
A. i live in a semi-rural area, cell phones suck big time (and, no thanks, don't want a fucking cell phone tower in my backyard), *and* suck even in good coverage areas, as far as quality...
B. gee, can i hook my cellphone up to my fax machine now ?
C. we have a cordless system where you can't see the damn number (if any is available) until you walk up to the phone and hold the damn thing up to the light just right to read the crappy led, might as well answer it...
D. and further, not like i get hundreds of callers, but i don't make a practice of memorizing *everyones* number (plus their work number, wife's cell number, their friend's house, etc)...
E. believe it or not, there are legitimate business (new client) and personal reasons (not sure what their number is, but i *think* that's their area code) why i will answer an 'unknown' number...
F. in short, WHY am i being 'forced' to resort to alternate or extreme measures to block something which shouldn't happen in the first place ? ? ?

2. to the ex (and hated it) teletubby who insists that the mere act of receiving unwanted calls is NOT rude; gee, thanks for insisting that 99.99% of US are totally wrong, and YOUR interpretation of 'rudeness' is right...

3. further, FOR ANY PERSON who works for (and is thus an 'agent' for) an evil korporation (i know, oxymoron) that perpetrates such rudeness as an integral part of its reason for existence; well, YOU (and all your fellow teletubbies) took the job (spare us the justifications), and thus YOU have to deal with the fallout of VOLUNTARILY indentifying with, working for, and CARRYING OUT the immoral -if not illegal- conduct of that korporation...

YOU are the face and representation of that company; we won't, don't, and 99% of the time, CAN'T express our outrage or dissatisfaction to the faceless company droids who make such decisions, we ONLY have you peons to bitch at... uh duh...

try this analogy out for size: the executioner was shocked at the bad names the crowd was calling him; after all, he was only desparate and needed a job... *he* wasn't sentencing the criminal to death, and *he* wasn't the CEO of the company that was subcontracted to do the executions, he was only the hired pair of hands that wielded the axe; *why* were all those nasty people in the crowd so mean ? ? ?
it was all so puzzling to him...

art guerrilla
aka ann archy

eof

Posted by: art guerrilla on June 3, 2007 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Hello, is there anyone in there? Anyone home? Yoo-hoo. Kevin? Kevin Drum?

You working today or feeding your face at the Farmer's Market???

Posted by: The Operator on June 3, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

"We need to be attacked by terrorists!" says GOP leader.

Here's a great article for everyone:

"In his first interview as the chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, Dennis Milligan told a reporter that America needs to be attacked by terrorists so that people will appreciate the work that President Bush has done to protect the country.

"At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001]," Milligan said to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country."

Milligan, who was elected as the new chair of the Arkansas Republican Party just two weeks ago, also told the newspaper that he is "150 percent" behind Bush in the war in Iraq.

(see RAW STORY for further details and link.)

Yes, nothing like, say, the smell of nerve gas and the sight of thousands of my fellow Americans dying a slow, agonizing death to make one say, "Heckuva job, Bushie! God I appreciate the work you're doing! Republicans are wonderful! Where can I go vote for one?"

Your modern GOP: the party of death.

Posted by: lampwick on June 3, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

June 03, 2007
Kennedy Terrorist Hoax
The Alleged Plan to Bomb JFK, i.e. to blow up some fuel pipes or depots, fits with the Miami 7 plot to blow up the Sears Towers and the 'mist on a plane' alleged attempt to blow up planes with some mystic liquid explosives.

In all cases the alleged plot was technically not feasable. The plotters lacked the knowledge needed to harm their alleged target. They didn't have the materials needed.

In the first two cases longterm sting operations were ongoing and in the third case the people in question had been under surveillance for over a year.

In all cases the people in question were a bit dumb and deranged and none of them had any connection to proven terror cells. All plots were simply duds.

But like usually the administration has the media jump up and down. Page 1 stories in major Sunday papers and wall to wall coverage in the cable news.
from moonofalabama.org which was a sister site to Billmon. Oh, boy--do I miss Billmon.



Posted by: consider wisely on June 3, 2007 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
MANAMA, Bahrain: Bahrain's parliament overwhelmingly approved a ban on U.S. military staging attacks on Iran from bases in Bahrain, the independent daily Al Wasat reported on Wednesday.

In the vote late Tuesday, the 40-member lower chamber of parliament voted 39-0 in favor of the ban, the paper said.

Only lawmaker Jassim al-Saeedi, an extreme Sunni Salafist, abstained from voting in a gesture that implied he did not object to the United States striking Iran.

The decision of the lower chamber, into which legislators are elected, is binding. The parliament's upper chamber, which consists of 40 members appointed by the ruling Sunni family, did not vote on the ban.

The tiny Persian Gulf kingdom, with a population of 725,000 of which 60 percent are Shiite, is a close U.S. ally. The oil-refining and banking island also hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. The U.S. Navy has maintained a presence here since 1949.

Posted by: consider wisely on June 3, 2007 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

I never answer calls where the caller i.d. identifies the caller as "unavailable" and/or numbers with 800, 877 or 888 area codes. If it's truly important, they'll leave a voice mail. Not surprisingly, they never do.

If enough people did this, it would stop.

Posted by: Django on June 3, 2007 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Gilliard, 1966-2007

"It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog (www.thenewsblog.net), passed away early Saturday morning, June 2nd. He was 41.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread...."
- the news blog team

Posted by: consider wisely on June 3, 2007 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

I love the Do Not Call Registry. I only wish there were a Do Not Mail Registry. I did receive three calls last week from a vacation place in Las Vegas and I reported them. I won't know for a while if reporting them worked.

Posted by: Mazurka on June 3, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Attacks on U.S. Troops in Iraq Grow in Lethality, Complexity
Bigger Bombs a Key Cause of May's High Death Toll
by Ann Scott Tyson and John Ward Anderson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, June 3, 2007; Page A01
"As U.S. troops push more deeply into Baghdad and its volatile outskirts, Iraqi insurgents are using increasingly sophisticated and lethal means of attack, including bigger roadside bombs that are resulting in greater numbers of American fatalities relative to the number of wounded.

Insurgents are deploying huge, deeply buried munitions set up to protect their territory and mounting complex ambushes that demonstrate their ability to respond rapidly to U.S. tactics. A new counterinsurgency strategy has resulted in decreased civilian deaths in Baghdad but has placed thousands of additional American troops at greater risk in small outposts in the capital and other parts of the country..."

The deputy commander for operations in Iraq, Maj. Gen. James Simmons said "The attacks are being directed at us, and not against other people...:

Posted by: consider wisely on June 3, 2007 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

I hope Kevin enjoyed his day off.

Must be nice.

Posted by: egbert on June 3, 2007 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Yes. I actually noticed this last week myself. I have suddenly started to get calls again. But if you mention the Do Not Call Registry, they hang up in a heartbeat.

Posted by: lmiller on June 3, 2007 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

I love the Do Not Call Registry. I only wish there were a Do Not Mail Registry.

It is worse than that.

The reason postage keeps going up is so that the public can continue to subsidize the junk.

All the Service has to do is charge these corporate freeloaders the same as they charge the public... and mass mailing shit will disappear faster than you can smash a rotten egg with your bare hand.

Posted by: eggbeater on June 3, 2007 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

man, you people are lucky. I'm getting 2-3 A DAY. I leave my ringer turned off, and my handset blinks a light when a call is incoming - I'll check the number, and if it's one I recognize, I'll pick up (or often, return the call later). Most of them don't bother to leave a message.

Worse - over the past 6 months or so, I've been getting commercial calls on my cell phone.

So, as far as I'm concerned, these fuckers could all be dropped into a chipper-shredder.

Posted by: bungholio on June 4, 2007 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

Slow news day, Kevin? All your liberal conspiracy theories must be falling apart if this is the most compelling thing you can write about - and it's the only thing you've posted since Friday.

So you get a few unwanted phone calls. Some people would be happy to have your problems.

Posted by: Al on June 4, 2007 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing Kevin's lefty blogger bacchanal had a mole from homeland security and they got busted for planning to stopup the WH toilets.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on June 4, 2007 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Got two words, folks.

UNLISTED NUMBER

only getting calls from people that I owe money to.

Posted by: thersites on June 4, 2007 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

how about a Do Not Bomb registry?

Achmed

Posted by: i'm a dinner jacket on June 4, 2007 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

So you get a few unwanted phone calls. Some people would be happy to have your problems.

Your mom took your phone privileges away again al?

Posted by: bob on June 4, 2007 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

I got my first call in over a year on my cell phone. I told the telemarketer I was on the do-not-call list. She said "we have an internal do-not-call list." I rang off. She had revealed herself as working for something like "Hilton Grand Resorts" and the phone number was not blocked. I filed a complaint.

My sister she's been getting calls from similar concerns.

I think they fell immune or just don't care.

Posted by: Witter Brooke on June 4, 2007 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

I got my first call in over a year on my cell phone. I told the telemarketer I was on the do-not-call list. She said "we have an internal do-not-call list." I rang off. She had revealed herself as working for something like "Hilton Grand Resorts" and the phone number was not blocked. I filed a complaint.

My sister she's been getting calls from similar concerns.

I think they fell immune or just don't care.

Posted by: Witter Brooke on June 4, 2007 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK


海南租车

Posted by: 海南租车 on June 4, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK


海南租车

Posted by: 海南租车 on June 4, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, we moved to a new house in different city last fall, and never bothered to get a conventional telephone installed. My wife and I both have cellphones and see no reason - yet - to have a hard-wired phone installed.

So, by default, we have an unlisted phone number that telemarketers can't use. And we can tell ATT&T to "Go Cheney" themselves.

Posted by: Ron Charest on June 4, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

I'm in Colorado, and in the last few months I received several almost every day; most were automated calls, not people. I rarely answered the phone, but it was annoying to have to listen and delete so many as I went through my messages. Then a couple months ago I switched from Qwest to a package deal through Comcast -- the calls disappeared. Hmmm ... was Qwest selling customers' numbers??

Posted by: leslie on June 4, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

My junk calls have crept up also, after years of golden silence. I get them on my cell, because I rolled my land line #, which I had for 15 years, over to my cell when I moved to another area code.

FWIW: the one thing that no telemarketer can argue with is "I don't do business over the phone". Usually they give up with that, sometimes they ask permission to mail material. It's always gratifying to stop a sales pitch dead in it's tracks.

Automated calls, I put the phone down until they hang up. They wasted my time, I might as well try to waste theirs.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on June 4, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

*59 records the call for retrieval and prosecution.

Posted by: dhlgahga;h on June 4, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Not I, but my mother, who lives in Garden Grove (really), has noticed the calls are returning.....

Posted by: Thomas M on June 5, 2007 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Blissful silence since 2002. But calls started back a month or two ago. Several calls a day. Found out phone number federal registrations expire after 5 years. Verified on the donotcall.gov web site that my registration had indeed expired. Re-registered. We'll see if the silence comes back.

Posted by: John M on July 4, 2007 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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