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Is the Do Not Call System Working? 415

BrentRJones writes "I signed up for the Do Not Call registry the first day I heard of it, and I have to say that I have gotten very few telemarketers calling over the past couple of years. However, there now seems to be more calls that start, 'This is a survey...' or some other such excuse. I do not mind getting a few charity appeals or calls from those I have done business with in the past, but I do wish that I could avoid the political phone calls. I am curious what other Slashdot folks are experiencing, and I am also wondering if I say, 'Please remove from any list that you have.' when I am called, will this do any good?"
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Is the Do Not Call System Working?

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  • by Southpaw018 ( 793465 ) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:36PM (#16100883) Journal
    I worked for the telemarketing department at MBNA for a while. They're a good company, and while it wasn't my favorite job ever, MBNA is a good business, and they follow the telemarketing rules. (If it's any testament, I carry an MBNA credit card.)

    Anyhow, in answer to the second part of your question: If you say "take me off your list" or "don't call here again," if the telemarketers are following the rules - and they're subject to MASSIVE fines if they're not (like $1000+ per phone call in violation), your phone number will be removed from the marketing programs you mentioned for two years (or if you say "all" your lists, all their marketing programs).

    The magic words are "do not call list" or "ever." The better choice is "do not call list." If you say "Don't call here," it's still two years. However, if you say "Do not call here ever again," or if you say the magic phrase "Add me to your do not call list," your phone number will be added to their federally mandated do not call list for a period of ten years. Also note that once you say one of those two phrases, they are required to give the three pieces of information they need for every call if they have not yet mentioned them, and then terminate the call immediately. (These include their full company name, a telephone number at which they can be reached, and....the third I don't remember. Oops. But! I do remember MBNA being so paranoid about it that we were even required to say the phone number to dead air if someone hung up on us - it was always the last thing you gave them, and we were recorded every second we were on the clock, even while not on a call.)
    Again, this is if they're following the rules. No one likes a telemarketing call at dinnertime, but the bad guys do a hell of a lot worse than that.

    Oh, and I can't comment on surveys or political calls. This is just commercial stuff - the guys who aren't out to make $ have looser rules.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by FLEB ( 312391 )
      So that's why they always rattle off an 800 number I'm going to have no chance in Hell of remembering or ever calling back. Hmm. Interesting.
    • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter&tedata,net,eg> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:50PM (#16100963) Journal
      From the submission: I am curious what other Slashdot folks are experiencing, and I am also wondering if I say, 'Please remove from any list that you have.' when I am called, will this do any good?"

      From the parent post: Also note that once you say one of those two phrases, they are required to give the three pieces of information they need for every call if they have not yet mentioned them, and then terminate the call immediately...Again, this is if they're following the rules.

      That phrase right there sums it all up. I heard this exact same explanation from a student of mine at school who worked for a legit telemarketer. If you say the magic words, "Add me to your do not call list," they are required to follow the rules and do follow the rules. If they do not follow the rules, they will be fined big time by the FCC. However, the US is powerless against some calling agency operating out of Costa Rica, who doesn't give a rip about telecommunication laws. These people will war-dial phone numbers at unscrupulous hours of the evening, varying their tactics anywhere from constant nagging to actually demanding that you buy from them, even sometimes claiming that you've already established an "oral agreement" to make a purchase that you cannot back down from without penalty. (I've heard stories of telemarketers saying anything from, "We already have your name and address, and we will file suit if you break your oral agreement," to, "We have your banking account information, have this conversation recorded for proof of transaction, and we will proceed with making an electronic withdrawl from your checking account whether you like it or not.")

      The national do-not-call list will help keep the legit soliciters at bay. But the bad guys...well...international law is a bitch.
      • by TheRecklessWanderer ( 929556 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:11PM (#16101071) Journal
        The national do-not-call list will help keep the legit soliciters at bay. But the bad guys...well...international law is a bitch. International law really has nothing to do with do not call lists. It's all about treaties and human rights and international organizations and other cool things. International lawyers refer to legal systems within a country as "municipal", and municipal law has nothing to do with international law, except that a signatory to a treaty is required to have it's legal system enforce the articles in a treaty. That's why China never signed the treaties for human rights. Having said that, I hate telemarketers more than people who kick puppies.
      • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:15PM (#16101083) Homepage Journal
        I've heard stories of telemarketers saying anything
        I wouldn't know if I ever got a call like that because I never let a telemarketing call last that long. I've been squacking the same phrase at telemarketers for the last 5 years or so: "Please add me to your do-not-call list and never call this number again." I politely say it at the first break in conversation I get from them, or I interrupt them after just a few seconds if they begin their shpiel without a pause. Usually I get an "OK", at which point I hang up; but some times I get an argument or a question from them, at which point I enunciate the phrase in a less-friendly voice and wait for a positive confirmation before hanging up.

        What I haven't done is 'track' any of these telemarketers. As far as I can tell they never call back -- a non-communicative party who doesn't listen to them never translates into a sale, and they have an endless supply of other numbers to call.

        The Federal do-not-call list seems to be working fairly well. We do not get nearly the number of calls we used to get (although political and charitable calls haven't dropped.) The phrase also appears to have stopped the polling firms, who used to be the worst time sinks. You'll find my f'ing opinion after election day along with the rest of America, thank you very nothing.

        What does NOT work is to screen telemarketers with Caller ID (which is what my wife does.) She doesn't answer when it says something like "CRAPPY CARPET CLEANERS", or she'll tell me "don't answer, it's those damn carpet people again." But they'll call back over and over and over for like a week or two. Finally, I'll answer with my magic phrase, and lo! they quit calling instantly. It's easier on everybody to be brisk with them earlier rather than later.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by nwbvt ( 768631 )

          "wouldn't know if I ever got a call like that because I never let a telemarketing call last that long. I've been squacking the same phrase at telemarketers for the last 5 years or so: "Please add me to your do-not-call list and never call this number again." I politely say it at the first break in conversation I get from them, or I interrupt them after just a few seconds if they begin their shpiel without a pause. Usually I get an "OK", at which point I hang up; but some times I get an argument or a questi

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Majik Sheff ( 930627 )
          I've found that there are only a few major clearing houses of contact information that all of these companies feed off of. Before I have a company place me on their do-not-call list I squeeze them for contact info of the source of my info... They will usually play dumb until you ask for a supervisor. BE PERSISTENT.

          Call the source company, and ask them where they got the information, then have them place you on their do-not-call list.

          Repeat until you reach a dead-end, which is usually one of the aforme
        • by silverdirk ( 853406 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @06:10AM (#16102679)

          After getting fund raiser calls from various "State Troopers", "Widows of Firefighters", etc charities, I hunted around on google and found out that these are from companies who go around calling charities, and offering to donate somewhat large (on the scale of the organization, which can be small) constant sums of money in exchange for permission to use their name. The "charity" involved can be something as lame as the union for police officers of a particular county. In other words, they might not be in your area, or even be worth donating money to.

          The companies then sell this permission to other companies who do the actual calling.

          End result is that the charity gets some relatively small cash, and some company gets the ability to farm up mass sums of money in their name.

          ... or give them fake donation information... I wonder if that would be legal or not...

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MCraigW ( 110179 )

          What does NOT work is to screen telemarketers with Caller ID

          We are on the national and state do not call lists, which has indeed eliminated a large majority of the calls. The calls I still get are generally from some place that I "have a business relationship with", meaning, I bought something there once and wrote a check or something so they have my phone number. I also use Caller ID to screen these calls, and yes, they will call numerous times before they give up. It seems to me that telephones, now-a-

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Lumpy ( 12016 )
          What does NOT work is to screen telemarketers with Caller ID (which is what my wife does.) She doesn't answer when it says something like "CRAPPY CARPET CLEANERS", or she'll tell me "don't answer, it's those damn carpet people again." But they'll call back over and over and over for like a week or two. Finally, I'll answer with my magic phrase, and lo! they quit calling instantly. It's easier on everybody to be brisk with them earlier rather than later.

          yes it does. I add that number to my asterisk phone sy
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dare nMc ( 468959 )

        The national do-not-call list will help keep the legit soliciters at bay. But the bad guys...well...international law is a bitch.

        thats why I don't understand the DirectMarketing Assoc being such pigs about many many rules to help the legit. I mean make it as harsh of a offense (say federal offense like mail) for all fraud. Require ways to verify the legit, ie a working caller-id, and all telemarketers requiring a legit caller-id number...

        As is, you can't trust a thing on the phone, because although the fi

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheoMurpse ( 729043 )
        I'm a first year law student taking a course in Civil Procedure and we've been covering the "long arm" theories, and I'd be curious from any lawyers or law students out there who might know (of course, I can always ask my professors, but it'd be cool to get some of this up on Slashdot for knowledge's sake) if it would be possible to say something back like:

        "If you sue me for breach of oral contract, you'll have to do it in the United States, and then due to your usage of the court system in the US, you will
    • by Nephilium ( 684559 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:52PM (#16100975) Homepage

      Personally... when I get a telemarketer, I do my utmost to make their job as uncomfortable as possible... since they initiated the conversation, their time is now mine... If I'm rushed, a simple, "What are you wearing right now?" usually gets them to hang up...

      You can also go for the phone-sex line style stuff... and start asking for a credit card number...


      Be always drunken. Nothing else matters. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time weighing on your shoulders and crushing you to the earth, be drunken continually. -- Charles Baudelaire, French poet

      • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:14PM (#16101079) Homepage
        I have received several calls from someone calling themselves 'Paul from the Prize claim center'. I put the number on my blog and I now get something like 50 people a day finding the site by searching for the telephone number.

        There is also a Markus from some mortgage company doing the same thing.

        In each case the outbound calls are from a robo-dialer that only starts if it gets a voice mail. When I called up the telephone number they gave I got a real person which was something of a suprise. They hung up when I pointed out that their operation was facing huge civil and criminal penalties.

        What I should have done but haven't got round to yet was to dial up the number several times to work out how many people are working for them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by BrokenHalo ( 565198 )
        their time is now mine...

        That's why I just ask them to hold on and then put the phone down and walk off. Sometimes it takes them 10 minutes to work out nobody's going to talk to them...
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by 70Bang ( 805280 )

          I think it varies by state.

          IIRC, Kentucky is one of the most stringent. Here in Indiana, the SAG has been pretty harsh. A couple of places have set up shop -- until they get caught and decide to make a go of it in court: 1st Ammendment. So far, no one has even come close to winning. There was a bloc (no, not block) of banks which were setting up a crusade to go against the state and the SAG had a half-page ad in the Indy newspaper with contact info for those banks.

          I wrote to the SAG's office, point
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          That's why I just ask them to hold on and then put the phone down and walk off. Sometimes it takes them 10 minutes to work out nobody's going to talk to them...

          10 minutes? Shit, that's nothing. If you say something that makes them think you might buy, they'll stay on the line for much longer than that. My personal record is an hour and a half (I could have gone longer, but I needed the phone). A friend of mine claims seven hours.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            The seven hours would almost definitely be a representative who was paid hourly rather than based on sales. He just got a free shift out of it.
    • by RobertLTux ( 260313 ) <{gro.nitramecnerual} {ta} {trebor}> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:54PM (#16100985)
      (4) Identification of sellers and telemarketers. A person or entity
      making a call for telemarketing purposes must provide the called party
      with the name of the individual caller, the name of the person or entity
      on whose behalf the call is being made, and a telephone number or
      address at which the person or entity may be contacted. The telephone
      number provided may not be a 900 number or any other number for which
      charges exceed local or long distance transmission charges.
      direct C&P from
      http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/get-cfr.cg i?TITLE=47&PART=64&SECTION=1200&TYPE=TEXT [gpo.gov]
    • by kenf ( 75431 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:04PM (#16101034)
      Having "call intercept" seems to help alot. Any call originating from a phone with a blocked caller id goes to a telco system that tells the caller the customer is not accepting caller id blocked calls and they can have their name phoned to the customer who can decide if they want the call. Many telemarketers block their caller id, and disconnect when they get the telco message. This plus the do not call list has eliminated most unwanted calls for me.
    • by Knetzar ( 698216 )
      So what do you do when a charity keeps on calling?

      I donated money to the MN Fraternal Order of Police and I've been getting police charity orgs calling me every month now. After the second time I requested to be removed from the list. And I still get called every month.

      Next step, write them a letter, record the next call I get, and find out what government org I can call to get them fined.

      Remember, if Safety Services calls you for a donation, save yourself some hassle, and refuse.
      • Your name got added to the "suckers" list. And to make matters worse, charities are exempt from many of the rules - so basically the only way off is to file complaints with your state's attorney general office, etc and/or not buying anything else from telemarketers ... after awhile they will remove your name from their "suckers" list.

        I use the word "suckers", because "MN Fraternal Order of Police" (on a related note, some scammers will use the names of real charities as a pretext to defraud people) is likel
      • I donated money to the MN Fraternal Order of Police and I've been getting police charity orgs calling me every month now. After the second time I requested to be removed from the list. And I still get called every month.

        In the future if you really do feel it is worth the donation, then you should ask them their name and tell them you will make a donation in your own time. I make a business of not buying anything from a telemarketer and ask them for a phone number in case I change my mind, if I am interested
      • by nsayer ( 86181 ) * <nsayer @ k f u . c om> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @11:04PM (#16101278) Homepage
        My favorite line for police type charities (usually selling tickets to charity events or raffle tickets or what not) is, "Thanks, but I get enough tickets from cops without buying more of them."
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Wumpus ( 9548 )
        Define "charity." You'll be surprised who some of those callers really work for. The magic words to watch out for are "We are calling on behalf of." There are several for-profit companies (some of them are public, and their profits are substantial - I looked them up) who specialize in raising money for charities. They call "on behalf of" some fraternal order of police, ask for some money, give some of it (as little as 3%) to the charity, and pocket the rest. If you ask the person on the phone whether he's a
    • If you get a call asking for a donation to a charity, beware!

      I am a fairly generous person, and I made donations in response to several of these calls. The problem is that I started getting calls from many more charities than I donated to that began with "thank you for your donatin in the past." When I say many more, I mean at least an order of magnitude more.

      Next, I happened to have two of the return envelopes in my hand at the same time and noticed that the addresses were extremely similar, so rathe

  • Answers (Score:4, Informative)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:40PM (#16100903)
    Yes, the Do Not Call system works. I'm on the national and state registries, and haven't gotten any telemarketing calls.

    I wouldn't say that any of these other calls are "excuses"; they're classes of calls that are exempt.

    It's pretty clear what's exempt:

    https://www.donotcall.gov/FAQ/FAQBusiness.aspx#Exe mptOrg [donotcall.gov]

    Surveys, among other things, are one of the things that's exempt. "Telemarketing" is "telemarketing". Not someone calling you that you don't want to.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by znu ( 31198 )
      Thing is, sometimes the line between 'survey' and 'marketing' is pretty slim. I was push-polled about net neutrality a couple of months ago. The call wasn't trying to sell me a specific product, but it was certainly aimed at advocating a specific corporate agenda, rather than at legitimately determining my opinion about an issue.
  • In fact, I have a well-formed set of thoughts on this subject. I think you'll agree that ... um, hold on....


    Sorry, I was interrupted by someone asking my opinion about how well I'm being isolated from people I don't know asking my opinion about things. And, who are you, again?

    Actually, I think that political and charity-type stuff is pretty much completely fitting through the holes left in that legislation. I will say though, that the normal unsolicited commercial stuff more or less came to a sc
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:41PM (#16100915) Journal
    When the do not call lists started it worked for some time. Now a days I get blatant sales calls from (India mainly) and they spoof the caller ID system. I yell at them for violating the law, but they know they cant be caught. One option would be to listen to the pitch patiently and agree to buy whatever they are selling. Then they transfer you to some one in US for verification. When the actual vendor (usually it is DishNetwork or DirecTV in my case) comes on line, lodge a protest and threaten to call FCC. But so far I have not had the patience. So I just yell at them, call them names and hang up.
    • by Surt ( 22457 )
      If they are calling from India, I'm not sure that the US DNC list applies to them.
      • From the DNC registry FAQ:
        33. Are telemarketing calls from overseas covered?

        Yes. Any telemarketers calling U.S. consumers are covered, regardless of where they are calling from. If a company within the U.S. solicits sales through an overseas professional telemarketer, that U.S. company may be liable for any violations by the telemarketer. The FTC can initiate enforcement actions against such companies.
        • Not much good that does if the company is an Indian company based in India, making calls from India, and making the sale from India.

          For offshored telemarketing, then yes, you might have some ground but what the heck is the FCC going to do about it? Ask Duhbya to invade India? (oh wait, he just might ;))
        • by Surt ( 22457 )
          So it only really works for you if they're selling a US product.
    • Behold the telecrapper 2000. That'll get you added to all of their do not call lists.
  • Sue Them (Score:5, Informative)

    by KalvinB ( 205500 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:42PM (#16100919) Homepage
    http://suntasiasucks.icarusindie.com/ [icarusindie.com]

    I recently sued Suntasia for violating the TCPA and settled in my favor. The whole story is posted on the site. I got less than I requested but they hired a very expensive lawyer which they have to pay for so I got what I wanted: money out of their pockets.

    The hard part is figuring out who they are since all you have, if you're lucky, is the phone number. After that you have to do your homework on the law and try not to be intimidated by their lawyer if they hire one. Suntasia is rather infamous around the states so information was pretty easy to find. A phone number was all we needed to get started.

    If they're not doing anything illegal then all you can do is not answer your phone or request they stop calling you. They don't have to honor the national list but I'd be very surprised if any organization could get away will calling you after you specifically told them not to. And those requests go into effect immediately.
  • by hopbine ( 618442 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:42PM (#16100920)
    All I do is say " OK I charge $25.00 for answering surveys.. Who do I bill." It's interesting the answers I get
  • dnc (Score:2, Funny)

    by chaos421 ( 531619 )
    i only seem to get phone calls from the police department asking for money. now that's scary...
    • "It would be terrible if someone found you dead sprinkled with crack because we didn't have the funds to protect you...cough cough"
    • i only seem to get phone calls from the police department asking for money. now that's scary...

      I've been getting these at work lately as well. I'm an administrative assistant for a business that operates out of my employers' home, so they get personal calls there sometimes as well (remarkably though, most of the calls coming into the house are actual business). The inappropriately high pushiness of these people just astounds me. The typical call will go something like this:

      Me: "Castellino Training and BEBA,
  • Somehow I can't see your friendly representative voting to ban political solicitations...

    They are exempted from the federal rule http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/tmarkg/donotca ll.htm [ftc.gov]. Seems like most states do the same. Here's florida http://www.800helpfla.com/nosales.html [800helpfla.com] and Tennessee http://www2.state.tn.us/tra/nocall.htm [state.tn.us], for example.
  • by ctaylor ( 160829 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:43PM (#16100930) Homepage
    I don't quite understand why your think the Do Not Call list will stop you from getting calls from political groups. They have an exception and do not abide by the Do Not Call registry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_not_call [wikipedia.org]

    Did anyone seriously think the writers of that law would harm their own cash flow?

    Personally, it's been very successful for me. I can't remember the last telemarketer I had to hang up on. Unfortunately, my kids have aged and can actually speak now. It was much more fun when they were still babies and I passed the receiver off to them. "Goo-goo-ga-ga" pretty much ends any solicitation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Babbster ( 107076 )
      I think the question originator understands that political calls are exempt. The question is why are there more polling calls than before? And, are they actually taking a legitimate poll or using the excuse of taking a poll in an effort to get you to listen to a sales pitch at the end?

      My number is on the DNC ("Do Not Call" as opposed to "Democratic National Commitee") list and I too have noted a large number of calls claiming to either be taking a poll or a survey. Unfortunately (or fortunately depend
      • by 1u3hr ( 530656 )
        The question is why are there more polling calls than before?

        Because there are elections in 7 weeks.

  • It totally works for me. I signed up within the first week of the list opening. And to this day I barely get any unsolicited calls except for political surveys and such (not many). The difference is very noticable.

    However, after about 1 year of relief, I moved to a new apartment but kept the same phone number and the calls started coming back in a big way. Apparently, if there is any change in your phone service you get taken off the list again. Even if your number didnt' change.My suggestion to anyone who
  • Datapoints... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by strredwolf ( 532 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:46PM (#16100939) Homepage Journal
    I don't get the marketing calls since signing up. The political calls are mostly robo-called (automated system calling, wait for a pickup, wait 10 seconds, play the message). We got that in Maryland, and I'm half tempted to bill for time.

    I did get one from the Martin O'Malley campaign, being a democrat in Maryland, from an actual human. She asked "Are you going to support O'Malley for govenor?"(sp?) I told her "In the primaries because I have no choice, but forget it in the general. He's still got work to do in Baltimore (he's mayor there currently), cleaning up the mess that it is, and currently voters are thinking he's trying to escape the problems. So he's not going to get it from me come the elections."
  • I got on the list when it first came out, and the only leakers were non-profits and people I had a business relationship with. Worked OK.

    Then I moved, and forgot to put my number in the DNC. Several calls per day. Put number on list, calls slowed and stopped ~1 month later.

  • There are several operations right now that claim to represent a local police or fire department, but have no affiliation at all. They take your donation, give the minimum amount required to qualify as a charity to the police somewhere else in the country, and pocket the profit.

    I somehow doubt these "charities" would respect a do-not-call list even if they legally had to.
  • My landline is also on the donotcall list, and gets very few calls. But everyone here is well-trained: if the caller ID is not recognized nobody picks up the phone.

    I ran some of the numbers through Google -- and the hits do indicate that the number is usually associated with some "survey" or "charity" type of a call.

    Occasionally the frequency that the same caller ID rings picks up a bit. When that happens I hook up the fax machine to autoanswer after two rings. That usually solves the problem.

    A particula
  • they are a "freedom to jump on my soapbox and bitch to someone who could care less"

    I have problems don't I?

  • by sporkme ( 983186 ) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:54PM (#16100989) Homepage
    Politicians were careful to ensure that they could still pander over the phone. Among the other exceptions, the basic rules are that any business you have had contact with for X amount of time can still call you penalty-free. Most not-for-profits can call as well. I should hope that many file complaints on truly irritating or repetative solicitations that don't meet the requirements of the program. You need the company name, phone number, and the date of the offending call.

    I have found that rudeness can be pretty effective in stopping future calls, but these are my two favorite methods:
    Telemarketer: "Well hello Mr. sporkme, how are you this evening?"
    Me: "I am soooo glad you asked. First, I was late for work because my kids made off with the car keys and I had to spend ten minutes digging through a toybox full of legos. Then I got a speeding ticket on my way in. My back has hurt all day, and I'm honestly hoping that you're selling a hemorroid cream of some kind. How is your day going?"
    Telemarketer: "Now what would it take to get an order from you today?"
    Me: Well, honestly, sales have been down at work. Are you aware that our BXK-31-R is capable of tolerating well over sixty rads per cycle and still produces results within tolerance? This is well in excess of industry standard and we offer free support and service for the first sixty seconds of your contract. How many can I sign you up for?

    To the point, It seems to be difficult to find statistical information about the success of the registry. Indiana was one of the first states to implement such a program, and several other states have separate registries (many have merged with the federal one). All I really could find without making a job of it was information [savedonotcall.com] on Indiana's success with the state program, and registration numbers [ftc.gov] for the federal one. Also, here is a summary chart [savedonotcall.com] of nationwide complaint volume.
  • I stoped approximately 95% of the unsolicited calls I used to receive. If only there was as an effictive "Do Not Mass Email" list.
  • I use a combination of the Do-not-Call list AND not picking up if I do not recognize caller id or expect a call; that's what the machine is for.
    I guess it's more of the "no...I'll call you " thing.

    heck....just the other day, I got a call from a number I didn't recognize and they left a message...it turned out to be from the Republican Party...something about a rally with the governator....don't know why they called....especially when I'm no longer registered as one (the Republican Party I use to belong to
  • Sorry about invoking Admiral Ackbar here, but I heard about this recently, I think it was on digg. The trick is that by participating in a survey, you suddenly have a "business relationship" with them, which means they can hit you with a regular telemarketing call.

    I personally prefer to use the magic words "Please put me on your do not call list", especially when I hear that telltale lag between picking up the phone and the outbound dialer connecting me with a sub-human.

    It also doesn't hurt that I have o

  • It works (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:59PM (#16101014)
    I saw a segment on the local news about telemarketer's thoughts on the do not call list. The head of one telemarketing company said that they have no reason to call anyone on the do not call list simply because no one on the do not call list will buy anything you are trying to sell.

    The best case scenario is that someone hangs up on you, worst case is they report you to the authorities and you get fined for violating the list. In both cases you gain nothing and only loose time spent calling the person and quite possibly a lot of money too.
  • by TuballoyThunder ( 534063 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:08PM (#16101054)
    is to use the counterscript [xs4all.nl] (assuming I don't hang up).
  • I have to say that it helps, but it doesn't solve the problem. I still get calls from mortgage companies almost a year after requesting some quotes from lending tree, and I had promptly notified all parties that I was no longer interested after refinancing, but that doesn't matter. I would get 4-5 calls per week from politicians around election time, and usually that many per day in the last few days. All of those are known loop holes.

    The bad ones are the companies "conducting a survey to see if you are
  • The latest scam is machine calling you and saying you need to call Mrs x about some urgent thing or other. This gets them around the list, because you called them. And forget the list. An unlisted number works better and only costs .50$ a month. No surveys, no politicos, and only the occasional one asking me to call them. And the only actual sales calls I get are from the dammed local phone company wanting me to take THEIR long distance. I mean how many times do you have to say NO?

    Oh, and I can always
  • When the telemarketers call in - political, charity, whatever - we have a 'do not contribute' policy in our house. We signed up for the Do Not Call list, but there are exceptions to the policy. I've found it easiest to tell them we understand they can call our house, even though we signed up on the DNC list, and make it a point to *not* contribute any money to people who exercise this loophole. Seems to be working...
  • by cskrat ( 921721 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:23PM (#16101125)
    ...itwillonlytake63secondsandonebreathformetoblurt outayesornoquestion...

    I just got one of these last week asking for my opinion about the film and tv ratings systems. When I started to actually say what I thought about the system ( three digit body count = PG13 while a nipple = NC17 ) she hung up without even bothering to cut me off. I may have spent as much as 40 seconds discussing the issue with dead air and I was very disappointed that I wasn't really given a chance to string her along for as long as I'd have liked.

    The police and fire department charities are a bit more pleasant to work with. My best for a police call was when I asked if they'd found my car yet. My best fire call, I had a friend nearby to help me with this, I set off the smoke detector with a cigarette, dropped the phone on the counter and yelled at my friend for not watching the stove while I got the phone. That one went through some cursing, clanking and the sound of me unloading a bottle of shaving cream next to the phone (to simulate a fire extinguisher) before I picked up the phone asked "who are you again?" and then following their response with "Oh.. thank you for calling but I think we have it handled."
  • It's interesting that many of the rules we have to limit commercial entities do not apply to political entities.

    While I feel that the Do Not Call list was a success, it's sad that it does not apply to those with political interests. Now that it is approaching election time, I'm getting 2-3 automated calls per week of a political nature.
  • Cheese (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aardpig ( 622459 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:35PM (#16101178)

    A few months ago, I went out and actively solicited calls from telemarketers. How? By signing up to a mortgage website, giving a false name (Jack B. Morocco), a false address, but a valid phone number. Why? Because those running the mortgage website spammed me, and I was interested to follow the money back to the bona fide mortgage companies that were financing the spammers.

    A few days after I signed up, the phone calls began. Usually, when the caller asked to speak to Jack, I would tell them that I would fetch him to the phone. I would then set the handset down next to the phone, and get back to work. They would typically stay on the line for around 10 minutes, before they hung up.

    However, on some occasions I used the cheese method. Basically, to whatever question I was asked, I replied cheese. A sample conversation:

    Him Hi, may I speak to Jack?
    Me Cheese.
    Him I beg your pardon?
    Me Cheese.
    Him Did you just say cheese?
    Me Cheese.
    Him I'm trying to speak to Jack.
    Me Cheese?
    Him Look, I don't have any time to waste
    Me Cheese.

    (The last remark was particularly funny, in light of the huge amounts of others' time this company had wasted by funding spammers).

    On one special occasion, I was called by someone in an overseas call center. They stuck religiously to the script, despite the fact that I was cheesing them at every turn. Slowly, it became clear to them that something was not quite right -- but it took them a while, because I don't think their grasp of English was perfect. Eventually, they ended the call with "OK, Jack, you really sound good, I'm sorry to bother you, goodbye."

    To which I replied cheese.

    If you want a slice of the action, why not reply to the next mortgage spammer yourself? Make sure you give a fake address but a real number, so that they can get through to you. Oh, and it would be fun if you signed up as Jack/Jane B. Morocco. And don't forget the cheese!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dmuth ( 14143 )

      Heh, I can relate...

      I normally keep my landline's ringer turned off, since I know that anyone who needs to reach me has my cellphone number. But I keep the landline to give to businesses so all the telemarketing calls will go there, and never be answered since my phone has the ringer turned off.

      Well, last summer I had a friend visiting from Denmark for a few weeks, so I turned the ringer back on. Whenever the phone rang, I let my friend answer, and he would start speaking in Danish, with not a word of Eng
  • When I get a call from a telemarketer I tell them that I will listen to their entire pitch but *only* after they fulfull my "needs" through a round of phone sex. Its priceless to listen to their reactions!!
  • I received at least 2 calls a day for 2 weeks straight from people running for office. Well, recordings from all of them. So it wasn't even a person, just a message from them for me to immediately erase.

    Do those things really work?
  • Sure, the do not call list might be easy, but not nearly as funny or rewarding as the Telecrapper 2000 [pagerealm.com].
  • Haven't gotten a telemarketer call in several years. Haven't gotten any of these surveys people complain about either.
  • As others have pointed out, the do not call lists work, but there are many exceptions. And politics happens to be one.

    I have found simple ways to deal with surveys and political calls.

    I really don't mind doing surveys, its just sometimes when they call its very inconvenient. When its not convenient, I have simply asked "I'd be happy to answer your survey, but not right now...could you call me back in an hour or so?" I have never had a survey company not honor my request. They WANT your opinion.

    As for po
  • I just don't answer calls from numbers I don't recognize. I got rid of my home phone several years ago and just use a cell phone. If I don't know a number, that's what voice mail is for. The people who know me know that I'll return a call when I have the time, so they leave messages if they need me.

    So I'm not on the "do not call list." Instead, everybody else is on my "do not answer list." :-)

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @12:52AM (#16101674)
    There is the Robinsonlist [robinsonlist.be]. Also look at the Anti-Telemarketing Script [junkbusters.com] and then there is: The counterscript [xs4all.nl] available in several languages and also in PDF.
  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @02:36AM (#16102073) Journal
    Me (RS): (softly and cooly breathy) Yes...
    Telemarketer (T): Hello Mr Spoilsport may I call you Ralph?
    RS: I own you...
    T: Sorry?
    RS: I own your soul...
    T: You own what?
    RS: I am Sataaan... I know you to the Soooooul... You are mine....
    T: May I interest you in (product)?
    RS: Come to Sataaaaan... Come to me.... You are mine... I own your soul...
    T: (Agitated) Does this sound like something you might be interested in?
    RS: Come to Sataaaan... I own your soul... You will rot in hell with me.... Come to me...


    Once this black woman called and I did the Satan routine and she FREAKED OUT. She started crying and hung up. I scored 30 points for that.

    Another favourite tack on these creatures:

    RS: WHAT?
    T: Hello? Is this Mr Spoilsport?
    T: What?


    I get 20 points for that - It's a brute force approach. It's not that creative and it's kind of mean, so you only get 20 points for it.

    Also: there's the classic:

    RS: Bobo!
    T: Hello? Is this Mr Spoilsport?
    RS: Yabba! Tengo bleck nock! Curby flipwitters!
    T: Do you speak English?
    RS: Me me me speak English!
    T: Would you be interested in (product pitch)?
    RS: Ama watamela eatie foo!
    T: What?
    RS: yumma cunt swabber! Peenie drip bubby! Yumma buttlicker!
    T: What?
    RS: shibby shops! Peeface! Yabba Peeface!

    etc. If yo ucan get them to hang up, you get 40 points, because talking like an idiot with a straight face long enough to get them to hang up is pretty hard.

    Then there's always:

    RS: Yes...
    T: hi is this mr Spoilsport?
    RS: What's it to you, motherfucker?
    T: Sorry?
    RS: I'm coming to your house, and I'm going to kill all your pets.

    etc. whatever tey say, just march over it and make weid fucked up pseudo threats, like "I'll steal all your garbage" or "I'll pee in your garden" or "I'll get your dog knocked up" etc.

    Telemarketers were put on this earth to be abused.


    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Overzeetop ( 214511 )
      I know I shouldn't admit to this, because the fool on the other end of the phone is probably scraping out $7 an hour and just wants his 8 hours of misery to be over, but here's my favorite:

      I was called by a nice sounding female telemarketer for somthing or other (this was long before the DNC registry), and I decided to have some fun. I listed to part of the pitch and was genial with her as I found my wife's plant watering pitcher, which usually has water in it. I then walked to the bathroom, noisily lifted
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @03:09AM (#16102197) Homepage Journal
    Even after the do-not call list thing I was getting a few calls a month from charities and "Other." Haven't had a problem since I installed asterisk though. I've got a voice menu system in place and tell telemarketers to dial 1. If they do, I tell them not to call again and disconnect them. Since I added the voice menu system I haven't had one unwanted phone call get through. So far I haven't even had to resort to playing the phone system tones that tell the remote caller the number's disconnected. Asterisk is capable, but I haven't had to turn that on.

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.