Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
It's funny.  Laugh.

Dave Barry Strikes Back Against Telemarketers 586

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the with-your-morning-cup-of-coffee dept.
ikkonoishi writes "The Miami humor columnist Dave Barry in his column here encouraged his readers to exercise their constitutional rights to call a telemarketing firm which had declared the National Do Not Call List unconstitutional. Well it seems to have worked." Needless to say, the targets of the prank were none so keen on being called themselves.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Dave Barry Strikes Back Against Telemarketers

Comments Filter:
  • by acarr0 (652849) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:02AM (#6956350)
    I have oftened wished that I could do what Dave Barry has done. Particularly annoying are the recorded messages that I continue to get on m business line. On occasion I have called the 800 numbers to express my displeasure. Simply calling in ones and twos isn't going to work. What we really need is for someone to organize a web site where people can report these incidents. If we all band together and call these companies 800 numbers simply to express our viewpoint then maybe this activity will become too expensive for companies to exploit anymore. Anyone up for it?
  • why worry? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VanillaCoke420 (662576) <vanillacoke420NO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:07AM (#6956371)
    Why are the telemarketing companies worried? This list of people who do not wish to be called, are probably people who wouldn't buy anything from them in the first place. This list should be welcomed as it prevent them from making 30 million calls on which they will not make any money on.
    • Re:why worry? (Score:2, Redundant)

      by DrEldarion (114072)
      Exactly. The people who sign up for the list are likely the same people who don't answer the phone when they see "Out Of Area" on their caller ID, or hang up after they hear the little pause after answering the phone.

      The telemarketing companies should be THANKFUL, because this cuts down on their costs a LOT - They need substantially less people to place outgoing calls (less money going towards wages), they make less calls (less money spent on bills), and their successful call rates should go up quite a bi
    • i've been told by several salesweasels that they love seeing a 'no soliciting' or 'no salesmen' sign because those people lack the time/motivation/temperment to say *no*. if you were really good at telling the salesperson 'no' and leave, don't comeback, don't call back, etc, they wouldn't need the sign.

      probably the easiest people in the world to see to are the people on the do not call list.

      eric
      • Re:wrong... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by acceleriter (231439)
        I can tell you I'm a counterexample. If someone knocks on my door in spite of the "NO SOLICITING" sign, they get the door in their face, and a followup from the local gendarmes asking about their permit (which they almost never have) to solicit.
    • by GGardner (97375) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:26AM (#6956440)
      The NYT ran an article about this a while back -- they interviewed people who didn't want to buy things from unsolicited phone calls, but ended up doing so anyways, because they "felt sorry" for the person making the phone call. One woman they interviewed bought 5 $1k replacement windows, which she later admitted, "probably wasn't a good idea". She also said that she would sign up for a do not call list, to prevent her from mercy purchases in the future.

      Don't think that the telemarketters don't know their own business.

      • by whovian (107062) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:36AM (#6956480)
        Exactly what I was thinking.

        A "logical" business model would be not to waste time on a customer who won't be interested so go elsewhere where there is money to be made. However, the tactics of some telemarketers/ing firms involve coersion or a play on the emotions of the telemarketee.

        That, my follow readers, is the true evil behind telemarketing and IMO justifies having Do-Not-Call lists.
        • In order to not just preach to the choir, here are just two examples (pardon me if they have been mentinoed here elsewhere)
          • Rebates. You having mailed in all those "mail in rebates" forms would put you in the category of "having a prior business relationship" escape clause of the DNC lists. If not that, the vendor you bought from already qualifies you.
          • Store cards. Ever sign up for one of those gift cards/member cards, and the only way to check the balance is to call them? Well, I realized in time Bar
      • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:04AM (#6956580) Homepage
        That's why I love to keep telemarketers on the line as long as possible. I know I'm never going to buy whatever crap they're peddling. Even if they do come across with something that sounds interesting (hasn't happened yet), I plan on finding out exactly what company is selling so that I can look for a similar service among their competitors.

        The trick to keeping them on the line for upwards of a half hour is to sound like you're interested, but have certain specific objections that need to be overcome first. If somebody calls offering a two week cruise, you object that you don't have that much vacation time. When she quote the price, you tell her you're a little short right now.

        As things go along, get more and more absurd. When she describes white, sandy beaches, tell the caller that you're allergic to saltwater. When she tells you that one of their destinations is the Bahamas, ask for her assurance that you won't run into any "foreigners" down there. Ask if they'll let you take your golden retreiver, and then describe Sparky's bladder control problems in lengthy detail. Just keep making up weird crap, until it becomes obvious that the telemarketer desperately wants the phone call to end.

        Finally, explain that you'll have to make some plans, and consult both your wife and your mistress. Ask for a callback number. Then politely let her go. Even better, ask them to call you back in a week.

        Hey, I'm a frequent Slashdot poster, so it's not like I have anything better to do. :)
        • Once, I kept a lady on the phone for like an hour, talking about magazines. I was gonna order the whole lot. Then she says, "Okay, I need your credit card to continue." I calmly reply, "Credit Card? Oh no no no. That's how they get ya. I keep all my money in a box under my bed."

          Unfortunately, she doesn't take cash.

          Another time, I actually read off the numbers to the credit card, but accidentally turned up SLAYER on the stereo for the last 6 digits. Oops.
        • by Forty-two (40787) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @11:26AM (#6956985)
          I worked at a call center in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Let me tell you that people like you made my day working there. The way it worked is that as long as the customer kept giving you excuses why they can't buy the product you had to keep giving them reasons around it. Once the customer repeats an objection you can then just end the call.

          I've had calls like yours and the whole time I sat there with a grin on my face trying to come up with ways around your insane compaints. These calls were so much fun and most people there would trade these stories with each other and laugh. The rest of the time your job is mind numbing and repeditive.

          Added to this I would like to say that annoying telemarkers may seem fun but these people are almost always in a bind and do not want to work there either. Making a single mother's life hell when she's resorted to working for a call center because she can not find anything else is not going to solve the problem.
          • The callee speaks very quietly, to try and get the telemarketer to raise the volume of their phone/earpiece. After a few seconds, the callee blows an air horn right into the phone, blasting the telemarketer.

            Ever have that happen?
      • by swb (14022) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @03:09PM (#6958181)
        If I walked down the street and cornered people and asked them to give me money, would that be illegal? Especially if I essentially ignored their refusals and became rude, aggressive and demanding?

        I'd wager that at minimum they'd bust you for agressive panhandling, perhaps someone might even stretch it into a form of mugging or robbery.

        And this is exactly what telemarketers do. On the street, the more aggressive and strong-willed people would walk away or otherwise rebuke them and walk away, but I'd bet that the same people who are bullied into buying from telemarketers would fork over money to someone just demanding it on the street.

        What amazes me is why the media doesn't spend more time and effort exposing this "sales technique" for what it is. Surprisingly most articles on DNC lists focus on the "irritation" of the calls, or worse, the untold damage to be done to our economy through the loss of telemarketing jobs. None of them seem to focus on the decepetion, bullying and probably outright fraud associated with telemarketing.

        In my mind is inextricably linked to the same business ethos that fueled Enron, WorldCom and host of other "lying your way to wealth" business models that seem to have prospered.
    • Re:why worry? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gclef (96311) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:29AM (#6956458)
      What the telemarketers count on is the ability to sell things to people who have a hard time saying "no." These people do not want to be called, but they also lack the willpower to tell someone to go away. Those folks *love* the idea of a do-not-call list, because it keeps them from having to deal with the confrontation of saying "no." But, it's exactly those people that the telemarketers make the most money off of, so the telemarketers desperately want to keep access to them.
    • Re:why worry? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by esme (17526) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:29AM (#6956688) Homepage

      the reason they are worried is that they make a majority of their money from people who know they don't want whatever the telemarketer is selling, but can't say no. whether because they're too nice, or don't like conflict, there are a lot of people who find it hard to say no to a person talking to them on the phone -- especially since the telemarketers have perfected having an answer for every imaginable excuse.

      i was surprised about their objections to the do-not-call list, too, until i saw several articles pointing this out. makes me hate the bastards even more....

      -esme

  • Number is Toll Free! (Score:5, Informative)

    by CoolQ (31072) <quentins@c o m c l u b.org> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:10AM (#6956379) Homepage
    For those of you too lazy to read the articles, here's the phone number to call:
    1-877-779-3974
    Let's /. their phone system!

    --Quentin
    • by drkich (305460)
      We're sorry you have reached a number that has been disconnected or is not in service. If you feel you have reached this recording in error, please check your number and try your call again.
    • by CoolQ (31072) <quentins@c o m c l u b.org> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:34AM (#6956473) Homepage
      On their site [ataconnect.org], they list a new contact number:
      (866) 500-4272
      As others have pointed out, their old number has been disconnected.

      --Quentin
  • We had recorded the message from 1-800-call-spy about (13 years ago) and put that on our answering machine. One of my roommates still has that and assures me that no-one call him the second time around. (Assuming a live person listens to that message).

    I'm not sure if the number is still active (I don't live in the US anymore) and I'm not sure how serious the response of the Home Land Security (or who ever runs that number) is. Dial at your own risk!
  • by TecraMan (12354) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:26AM (#6956438)
    PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

    Due to the outstandingly positive response to recent media events, the American Teleworking Association has taken steps to protect its constitutional right to protection from unsolicited calls by registering with the National Do Not Call List.

    "We were shocked by the intrusiveness of these unsolicited calls", commented Tim Searcy, ATA Executive Director. "None of us could get any work done! Our heartfelt thanks to the Federal Government for their foresight in creating such a resource to protect people like us!"

    Returning to work today, ATA employees are looking forward to a day of uninterrupted work now that they are protected from such intrusive unsolicated calls.
  • by GomezAdams (679726) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:29AM (#6956453)
    But in a guy sort of way.... and "The National Do Not Call List" sounds like a great name for a Rock & Roll Band.
  • by brians95 (516060) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:31AM (#6956463)
    Not to be left out should be the fact that you should call the telemarketers and talk like a pirate next Friday as Mr. Barry suggests!

    http://www.talklikeapirate.com/

    • Arr, and I be obliged to be postin' a link for the British HQ for the day, yarr.org.uk [yarr.org.uk]. We be havin' pirate ringtones for yer phone, too, an' a guide on how to be proper takin' like a pirate. Yarr.
  • by nenya (557317) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:44AM (#6956500) Homepage
    If the numbers that the telemarketing industry is throwing about are even half right, this could end our current economic recovery. Telemarketers alledge that they create several billion dollars in sales every year, several billion dollars that will go up in smoke in October. That plus a huge boost in unemployed (and otherwise unemployable) persons is a very bad thing. Be careful what you wish for.
    • Several billion dollars will not suddenly vanish from the US economy. People will spend their money in other ways or put in the banks (which then invest it). Only if everyone takes the money and sticks it under their mattresses will it make any difference.
    • by El Camino SS (264212) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:57AM (#6956825)

      Telemarketers alledge that they create several billion dollars in sales every year, several billion dollars that will go up in smoke in October.

      Yeah, and the Russians said that they had several thousand nukes pointed at the US in the Cold War, well, technically they did.

      Many, many, many of the silos had water in them up to the missile in the bottom, thus, when launching, would have killed all of the people launching them and left a missile with a nuke on top in burning in a hole in the ground and thirty minutes of rocket fuel burning there with it.

      Lighting those suckers would have caused ecological disaster for the USSR.

      The lesson here?

      Never, ever, ever, trust the information given to you by your enemies. Do you expect North Korea to tell you the truth when threatening you? Expect enemy information to be overinflated. Or downright bogus.
  • by user138 (568586) <jgraham&endmusic,com> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:51AM (#6956531)
    Since those guys have turneed off the 877 number here is updated contact info: Administrative Office: 3815 River Crossing Parkway, Suite 20 Indianapolis, IN 46240 Toll Free: (866)) 500-4272 info@ataconnect.org Legislative Office: 1666 K Street, NW, Suite 1200 Washington, DC 20006 Toll Free: (866) 500-4272 info@ataconnect.org give em a jingle.. i am
  • Junk Mail? (Score:5, Informative)

    by spoonist (32012) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:51AM (#6956532) Journal

    And their address is published at the bottom of their web site [ataconnect.org].

    Perhaps they'd like some junk mail too [slashdot.org].

    American Teleservices Association

    1666 K Street NW Suite 1200

    Washington, DC 20006

    877-779-3974

    info@ataconnect.org

  • Even Better (Score:5, Funny)

    by buzzcutbuddha (113929) <maurice-slashdot&mauricereeves,com> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:54AM (#6956541) Homepage
    Call the Chairman of the ATA [ataconnect.org] at home!!!!!!!

    Chairman:
    Thomas Rocca, (770) 429-1956, 3840 Jiles Rd NW, Kennesaw, GA 30144

    (provided by Google)
    • by 955301 (209856)

      Well, how about that! He lives right around the corner from my archery club. >:)

      Wish I had points shaped like little punching bags. Maybe I'll just start giving out his number and address as mine whenever some retail store asks for it.

    • Re:Even Better (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:37AM (#6956726)
      "It's difficult not to see some malice in Mr. Barry's intent," said Tim Searcy, executive director of the ATA, who said the added calls will be costly to his group because of toll charges and staffing issues.

      Domain Name: ATACONNECT.ORG
      Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
      Fanger, Robert (DUMHRQNOBI) rfanger@fangercom.com
      Fanger Communications
      238 S. Meridian St.
      Ste. 210
      Indianapolis, IN 46225
      US
      317-636-7635

      Searcy, Tim
      8645 Admirals Woods Dr
      INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46236
      317-823-8462
      • Re:Even Better (Score:4, Interesting)

        by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @11:01AM (#6956845) Journal
        Tim, I am an online journalist and am writing an article about Dave Berry recent article. I am trying to get some feedback from you about why you think that you have the right to call millions of homes, but you do not feel that millions have the right to call your home
        It is amazing what legal rights and latitudes all journalists are allowed.
    • by YetAnotherDave (159442) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @11:21AM (#6956956)
      Just make sure you get the right ATA. Could be unwise to piss off the higher-ups at the American Taekwondo Association [ataonline.com] :)
      • Just make sure you get the right ATA. Could be unwise to piss off the higher-ups at the American Taekwondo Association...

        Me: {Ring Ring Ring Click} Hello, is this the ATA? I want to complain...

        *knock on door* /me answers

        Person at door: "Boot to the head!"

        fwwwwooooop /me staggers back and collapses on floor

        "And one for Jenny and the wimp...."
  • Third time's a charm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maserati (8679) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:24AM (#6956672) Homepage Journal
    Here's a telemarketing situation where I'm just waiting for the payoff. Our office has several blocks of 100 numbers each, most of which aren't in use and are forwarded to the front desk (because a client may have an old number). Some months ago a mortgage company started autodialing our blocks. Our receptionist went from calm to frothing at the mouth in 60 seconds flat, and eveyone else was getting either a hangup call or a voicemail left for them.

    I called the 800 number in the voicemail I personally received, got a manager on the line in record time (it helps if you sound like you want to confirm your satellite recon for the imminent airstrike) and explained that we had a block of numbers, that they were calling ALL of them and to please stop right-fucking-now. I then did the usual bit about do not call lists and a copy of the policy (which I never got). The do not call list was tough, since numbnuts didn't grok the "I have several hundred consecutive numbers" part very well.

    The next day they did it again. I got another manager on the line, who was significantly less than understanding about the whole affair. In point of fact, he seemed dismissive of the whole fact that I had complained the day before and tha the was perhaps a bit offended that I was trying to interfere with his attempt to rescue a failing mortgage business. I reminded him about the FCC's $500 per call regulation and he got offended. Go figure. Apaprently the fact that the Federal government might put him out of business wasn't a factor in his worldview. I rang off.

    And called the local police department and reported a couple hundred harassing phone calls. I leaned heavily on the second manager's attitude toward my request of the previous day and on his utter disregard for Federal codes covering his business. I named both managers in the complaint. These guys are less than fifty miles from us and in the same state, so it could happen.

    We have a case number. Some day they'll screw up, and then a telemarketing manager will do the Perp Walk. I'll be sure to put whatever details I can on a website so we can all share the joy.
  • by Skapare (16644) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:39AM (#6956736) Homepage

    What does it mean to have 2 million telemarketers out of work? Well, if those 2 million people are not putting in their 40 hours a week, then they won't be taking up a total of 40 hours of time each week from a few hundred other people. Imagine what might happen with 80,000,000 more hours of time become available to other people at work, at home, and at the dinner table. Imagine the increased productivity happening at work. Imagine the opportunity to get the home and garden chores done. Imagine being able to actually talk and bond with your family at dinner time. Oh the horror!

  • True story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by acalford (85612) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:55AM (#6956810)
    I work for the IT department of a small, rural hospital near New Orleans. Which means people call me about problems with everything from their PC to their fax machine. It may not be part of my job description, but I'll try to help them with their problem if I can...

    One day a couple of weeks ago, I had a very frustrated message on my voice mail from the director of our Radiology department. It seems that the phone in one of the diagnostic imaging rooms would ring, and when someone would pick it up it was a recorded message from a telemarketing company.

    If it had happened once, she probably would have wrote it off to a mistake. Instead, it kept calling the number. Continuously. For a half hour, by the time she'd left me that message. Now, as you can imagine, having the telephone in a MEDICAL PROCEDURE AREA continuously ringing is a bad thing. Not to mention that line now being tied up so that in an emergency the techs can't call for help.

    I ran (literally) down to the department, picked up the phone the next time it rang, and recorded the call. After about two minutes, a real human picked up the line.

    Said human began reading her script when I asked her if she knew what phone number this was. I then told her that at that moment, I was standing in an x-ray room, in a hospital, with a patient who was supposed to be getting tested right now but because we kept having to pick up the EMERGENCY PHONE they were just kind of lying there moaning (at which point the director standing next to me made the most pitiful moaning noises, heh, heh) and we would like to GET HER OFF THE TABLE IF YOU PEOPLE HAD NO OBJECTIONS...

    There was a moment of silence, then prolific appologies, a promise to stop the calls, more appologies...After leaving her flopping on the end of the hook for a moment, I accepted her appology, took her name and number, then hung up.

    The phone never rang again.
  • by chrome (3506) <`ten.suodneputs' `ta' `emorhc'> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @11:12AM (#6956909) Homepage Journal
    It's a bit underhanded, I know, and some people might actually LIKE getting called by telemarketers - but it struck me that it would be rather easy to automate adding every phone number listed in the United States to the DNC registry.

    Write a script that hits the page, enters in 3 phone numbers, waits for the mail to be sent to an address it generates on the fly, 'clicks' the link, rinse, repeat.

    No telemarketing! :D

    Ok, Bad Idea. I should remember where I'm writing this. Someone is likely to go off and do it.
  • by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2@NOspAm.earthshod.co.uk> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @11:26AM (#6956982)
    1. Get a Caller ID Box. Your telco probably will charge you a fee for sending the information, since as they see it, you might decide not to answer the phone based on who is calling and therefore they will not earn the connection charge on the call.
    2. Block Withheld Numbers if you live in a jurisdiction where withholding your number is still legal. Your telco probably will charge you for this, but it's worth it. {before I had mine blocked, I used to say to Number Withheld: "Are you a paedophile? Because your number is withheld." That saw them off. On my mobile, where there is no such service available, I have to resort to doing an impression of a recorded announcement: "Anonymous calls are not welcome on this line. If your business is important you may ring back without withholding your number. Goodbye."
    3. Don't say anything if you don't recognise the caller's number. This spins them out, because they think it could be an answering machine. A legitimate caller will ask for you by name. A sleazeball telemarketer will just hang up.
    4. Ask them how they got your number. This distracts them from the purpose of the call and maybe gets them into an infinite loop.
    5. If all else fails, remember that it is your line, and you are under no obligation to be polite with unwanted callers. Any obligation of politeness would fall on the originator, not the recipient.
    I think the best solution would be for the do-not-call list to be in the phone directory, by placing a symbol next to the numbers of people who did not wish to receive unsolictited sales calls. I'm not so anti-social that I'd consider going ex-directory, because that would jeopardise things for people who might have a legitimate reason to call me {and because I like looking up my name in the new phone book every 18 months or so, it gives me a kick without harming anyone else}. Having the "do not call" list in the phone book itself would be almost foolproof. Everyone with a phone line gets the phone book, so there would be no shortage of witnesses to the fact that your number was on the list. The only downside is that you might have to wait till the new directory was published in order to get your name properly DNC'd. But the telemarketing companies could be made to subscribe to an update list as a condition of their operating licence.
  • by $criptah (467422) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @11:31AM (#6957006) Homepage
    Guys, telemarketing can be a lot of fun if you add some positive atmosphere to it. Just think of it, since the chances of meeting your friend on the other end of the line are pretty slim, you can get away with almost anything: dirty jokes, humiliation, etc. Whenever a telemarketer calls me, especially if the person has a thick foreign (Indian, most of the time) accent, I have fun. Here is how to do it:

    a. Pretend to be somebody else, like an old person with a hearing problem or a recent immigrant who speaks poor English. Make the telemarketer re-read the offer and ask stupid questions: start with product related stuff and then move onto personal issues. For example, in the middle of conversation say "Wow, you know, you have a really sexy voice!" Works like a charm :)

    b. If you have roommates, set up a plot. I remember when my roommate pretended to be an abusive husband and I played a role of a wife for unwanted calls. Whenever a telemarketer called us, we would be 'in the middle of a physical conflict.' "The husband" would swear at his wife and beat her (just slap your naked leg for the sound effect); the wife on the other turn would say things like "Stop beating me! I've had enough already" and then she would continue to talk about her personal problems to the telemarketer in between the beatings. Basically, use your imagination; most of the time the other party will hang up.

    c. Put them on hold. This is by far the easiest one, unless you're expecting some other call. When you receive an unwanted call, tell them that you're in the middle of something that you must finish asap; therefore, offer them to stay on the line for a minute or so. Then go read a newspaper, drink a cup of tea. This may sound stupid, but this brings positive results: you keep telemarketers from calling other people through your personal sacrifice.

    There is more stuff and it usually depends on who is calling and when. Sometimes when I have a bad day, I find telemarketers to be my stress relievers: I bitch and swear at them for several minutes. After hanging up I start feeling better right away.
  • by penginkun (585807) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @12:10PM (#6957235)
    You know, the first amendment doesn't guarantee you an audience...
  • by smoondog (85133) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @12:58PM (#6957512)
    You heard it here first:

    When the do not call list takes effect, I predict the reincarnation of the door to door salesman.

    (Besides, haven't you always wanted to know what that telemarketer type person on the other end of the line looks like?)

    -Sean
  • by JustAnotherReader (470464) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @01:10PM (#6957587)
    This site http://www.ataconnect.org/contact.htm [ataconnect.org] is the ATA's contact us page. The only required fields are first and last name and an email address (Use a real email address at your own discression)

    You can send them an email stating your point of view.

    NOTE: A well reasoned, polite email will probably have a greater effect than an angry rant (if it has any effect at all).

  • Always call back... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gesualdo (149094) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @01:59PM (#6957837)
    The other day I got a call from a telemarketer who wanted me to change my phone service (for the low, low monthly price of $49.90/month). For some reason I felt compassion for this bloke who called, and I didn't tell him to go fuck himself outright (although it would have been well within my right, since my ass-cheeks had just landed on the toilet seat, and I was ready to unload.) Anyway, so I was nice, and feigned interest, and asked if they had DSL, and yada yada yada. And then asked all the questions that they're supposed to be legally bound to answer (their name, company's name, address, phone number, etc). Around this time, the guy starts to get annoyed, since it's been almost 60 seconds that we've been talking. He gives me his name and address, when I (honestly) realize I don't have a pen, so I ask him to hold on a second. Ten seconds later, I've got a pen and paper, and I copy down his name as well as the company's. When I ask for the address and his employee ID number, he gets all snotty, and taunts me with, "What are you going to do, come up here and arrest me? I'm in Vancouver." I explain, still politely, that he is the one that called me, and that as I understand the law, he is required to give me certain, specific information about himself and his company. When I start to ask for his address again, he get's all pissy, and abruptly hangs up.

    Now, normally, I'd say fuck it, and go on with my day, but he taunted me with that "what are you going to do" attitude, so I say fuck him. A few googles for his company (RSVP Customer Care Centre) later, I find the website (after getting arond their silly spelling of "center"), and the name of his boss, the VP of Sales and Marketing. She was very kind and apologetic, and she seemed honestly surprised by Joe's reaction to me on the line; for four year he had been a model employee. And for Joe, fair enough, his job probably does suck with people giving him shit all the time; still, at the same time, there's a certain amount of professionalism that I expect from these guys. Maybe he was just rude because he knew he'd be out of a job when the DNC list goes into effect.

    Anyway, my (elusive) point, call their bosses and bitch, especially if they're rude or unprofessional.
  • by invckb (551932) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @02:27PM (#6957980)
    ATA officials have said about 2 million of the 6.5 million people working at telemarketing call centers across the nation will lose their jobs because of the rules that established the nationwide "Do Not Call" list.

    so 5% of the USA's 140 million labor force work as telemarketers? Why did the journalist let them get away with those numbers?
  • Here's the trouble (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Get Behind the Mule (61986) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @04:19PM (#6958440)
    It seems that everyone in his right mind despises telemarketing. Spam too. Ask anyone, and they'll tell you that there are few things they hate more in life. It seems as if there are no exceptions to this rule -- everyone, bar none, hates telemarketing and spam.

    But it can't be true. Someone must be responding to this stuff by spending their money. Because for some reason, telemarketers and spammers stay in business. Somehow, it must be worth it for them.

    If everyone hated the stuff as much as they say they do, if everyone hung up on the unwanted calls and deleted the unwanted mails in nothing flat, like they say they do, then the problem would fizzle out before long. No one could make money doing it, so there would be no reason to keep trying. And yet, the crap just goes on and on and on.

    I've read rumors that a certain small percentage of the people called or mailed actually do respond and end up buying something; usually the figure is put about 10%, or something similarly low. Hard to believe that such a business would be worthwhile if the response rate is so low; but whatever it is, it must be high enough that the incentive for telemarketing and spamming is maintained. Otherwise, there'd be no such thing.

    A national no-call list is a nice idea, but I can't see the problem going away altogether as long as the telemarketers and spammer still believe there's a chance to make money. Certainly the spammers are not going to let some trivial thing like a Federal law stop them. (They'll just go on spamming from Antarctica, or wherever.) If we really want the problem solved, once and for all, we have to ensure that there is no future for those businesses, and that would require educating the public, right down to the last man, woman and child, to always follow this rule without exception: If someone calls you or emails you to sell you a product, then whatever you do, don't buy that product!
  • by btakita (620031) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @04:51PM (#6958586) Homepage
    Great. Now they know what it is like to have to change their number after being harrased over the telephone.

    Maybe now they have to tell all their friends to let it ring twice, hand up and call again or something like that.

When speculation has done its worst, two plus two still equals four. -- S. Johnson

Working...