Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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*27 them

Charge the calling party
  (+18, -2)(+18, -2)
(+18, -2)
  [vote for,
against]

Telemarketer: Hello, is this Mr. or Mrs. Ixnaum?
Ixnaum: Yes
Telemarketer: Would you like to donate $50 for a new Llama shampooing station?
Ixnaum: No <hang up><dial *27>

*27 triggers a signal to the telephone company which in turn charges the caller $1.00 (basically a penalty)

In other words, calls are free, as long as both parties enjoyed the experience. This could work just as well for any other annoying caller not just telemarketers. Telcos will love this because it's money in their pockets. Of course, I'm sure that Telcos will just sell a 50,000 *27 credit to the telemarketers for a few bucks (ie. volume discount) ... but maybe the regulatory body could step in to make the $1.00 penalty stick no matter what the volume is. Again, Telcos will probably not fight too much because it's more money for them.

P.S. Why *27? I did googling and could not find any such star command. I only know of *69,72,73,94,6,86,66,89,70,71
ixnaum, Aug 16 2006

[link]






       How would you guard against abuse? It seems likely that people would quickly become afraid to call anyone, regardless of their intentions.
Texticle, Aug 16 2006
  

       Get a <insert locationally-appropriate prefix for a high-charge phone number, usually associated with sex lines here> number and only offer a refund to those callers you appreciate?
methinksnot, Aug 16 2006
  

       Your guard against abuse could be that the charge would only be levied against an account that makes over a thousand outbound calls a month, and does not give a valid, person-answered caller-ID number.
lurch, Aug 16 2006
  

       As an alternative, I do like the idea of setting up your own home number as a premium rate line - and then entering lots of 'competitions' (a common method used by telemarketers to gain names, addresses etc), and grinning every time someone calls you up. While they're asking you whether you've seriously considered the benefits of ham-insurance, you're actaully earning hard cash.
zen_tom, Aug 16 2006
  

       If it were *99, and the fine 99 cents, then I would be happier.
oniony, Aug 16 2006
  

       I'm with Zen on this ... But I think that everyone who opts in to these sorts of call should have a separate number which "Tops-up" your normal (outbound) number... The more crap you cope with, the more free-be's you get... or donate them to charity or something. ]+[
Dub, Aug 16 2006
  

       Thanks [Dub] and welcome back [oniony]!
zen_tom, Aug 16 2006
  

       // how would you guard against abuse//   

       Because *27 itself would be a paid service. YOU would have to pay 50¢ per use in order to charge someone else a dollar.
phundug, Aug 17 2006
  

       //How would you guard against abuse? It seems likely that people would quickly become afraid to call anyone, regardless of their intentions.//   

       Only annoying people would be afraid to call thinking that the other side would *27 them after they hung up. But normally, would you *27 someone who had legitimate business with you? Why? And if you did what's the only thing that would happen is that the other person gets a bill at the end of the month saying that you *27 them... they'll either think ... what an a**hole I will not call them again, or they will be even more polite the next time. This has two outcomes. Either people call less (good). Or people call more politely (good). You never HAVE to call someone. It's a choice.
ixnaum, Aug 18 2006
  

       [Bone]   

       for all the trees that will need to be cut down to print the phone bills and for all the postal workers with lower back problems.   

       This would be a giant mess and would be a recipe for rampant abuse.
jhomrighaus, Aug 18 2006
  

       //Only annoying people would be afraid to call thinking that the other side would *27 them after they hung up// this would be in the same sense that only guilty people have something to fear from intrusive government surveillance? Actually, no, I take that back. You've persuaded me, [ixnaum]. bun. I'm not sure I see an avenue for abuse here. I can't think of a plausible way of persuading people to call you so you can *27 them. Where's the benefit for you? The only people I can see suffering are companies who are legitimately phoning existing debtors.
moomintroll, Aug 18 2006
  

       I would like something similar but slightly different:   

       If you get one of these calls, even if the CID number is witheld, you could press *27# and it would automatically add the last number to call to your call barring list so they can never call you again.
webfishrune, Aug 18 2006
  
      
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