Wednesday, July 10, 2013

“Do Not Call” Registry: A Wasted Effort

The National “Do No Call” registry is a good idea, but it’s being ignored by telemarketers and it’s hard to enforce. The “Do Not Call” registry is like a mouth with no teeth. It can’t really put a bite into anything.

Based on my own personal experience, since the registry began in 2004, telemarketing calls to my home dropped off for a short while, but now seem worse than ever. I’m getting tired of the daily calls from various companies wanting to talk about changing my natural gas supplier, or to buy magazines, or from police departments across the state of Ohio asking for money for one of their causes. The latter really gets to me, as I know these aren’t really police officers calling me (as they pretend to be) and the caller always speaks with a slight southern drawl, even when they pretend to be calling from my home area. (Southern drawls are not the norm here in northeast Ohio.) A few weeks ago, I had one alleged officer call me and ask for a donation, and right after I began saying the words, “I’m sorry, but” he hung up on me.

But, back to the Do Not Call registry. I don’t have the time to report every single person that makes a telemarketing call to me. It’s hard to even know sometimes who is calling when you get one of those automated phone calls that hangs up the minute it gets an answering machine. Likewise with those where I want to hang up because I don’t want to waste my time listening variations on the same pointless spiel every day. 

I've also heard from many people who get regular phone calls where they answer the phone and no one is there. I’ve been told these are automated dialers that are simply checking to see when someone is regularly there to answer the phone; they get your patterns down pat and then schedule their real telemarketing call during the time you've been shown to most likely answer. 

Here’s my idea. Why can’t we have a number code that we can dial while listening to a telemarketing call that automatically reports the number to the government? I’m thinking along the lines of the *69 feature that some telephone carriers use for callbacks. A simple * and a number code is all I would need to put their phone number on the list of possible law breakers. It’s a simple way of reporting the offender without me having to write down all the information myself and go to a web site and file the same information.

Better yet, how about if we just make a rule that says unless the company calling has your approval, no one can call you and sell you anything over the phone. I have no objection to companies with whom I already have a relationship calling me in the course of normal business, but I would still draw the line if they want to call me to sell me something.

It goes without saying that automated dialers and recorded messages should just be illegal – regardless of who is calling. (For example, politicians and charities shouldn’t use automated dialers and recorded messages).

With all the technology available these days, there has to be a quick and easy way to report these annoying telemarketers.   And, I still wish that "Do Not Call" would mean "Do Not Call - AT ALL."

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Anonymous said...

I like your idea on the "Do Not Call" solutions, however, many robocalls use spoofed phone numbers, so complaining or reverse dialing won't help.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and since the NSA is collect phone metadata, it's a shame they don't use this information to put a stop to the robocalls.