Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Tele-marketer Revealer

“"Can I interest you in a low rate credit card?" "NO! I’m eating dinner!"
  [vote for,

A common scenario in households across America: You get home from an extremely busy day at work and you are just about to sit down to eat when . . . “RING!” You look on the caller ID and it says, “unavailable”. You know deep down in your heart that if you pick up the phone, there is a 90% chance that the caller will be a Tele-marketer. You have already been disturbed from your dinner, and being a human being, your curiosity gets the best of you because . . . hey, that 10% chance that there could be an interesting caller on the line out weighs the 90% chance of a call from hell. So, you pick up the phone, and you hear that all too familiar pause, that pause that tells you that the random dialing-machine is switching the line in order to put the Tele-marketer on the phone. Then if you are like me, you hang-up the phone and return to dinner, annoyed and inconvenienced.

I hate the deceptiveness of the whole scandal. The number is always “unavailable” on the caller ID for these vermin. If a company is being deceptive in order to get you as a client, then I don’t want to do business with them. It is unethical to deceive! Imagine how much more they are lying to you if you become a client!

I know that you can wait and let the answering machine pick up and then screen the call. But waiting for the answering machine to pick up and listening to the message and then deciding if you should pick up the phone takes just as much time and is just as annoying and inconvenient as just picking up the phone. What if the person is not a Tele-marketer and they don’t leave a message? Now you may have missed an important or interesting call. The idea of not knowing whom it was is too painful to bear. Plus, you may not have the answering machine in an area where you can hear it.

I am proposing that the caller ID display the words “Tele-marketer”. It could even display the company name. This way a person can decide if they want to listen to the solicitation or not. This should be a legal obligation. There may be a better way to handle the whole Tele-marketing harassment. That is what this is, pure harassment. WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THIS??!!??

fatamericanpig, Aug 04 2000

Junkbusters http://www.junkbust.../telemarketing.html
Handy tips from Junkbusters on dealing with telemarketers. [egnor, Aug 04 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       My idea was a law to require Telemarketers to ask permission first before they could give their spiel. But I like this idea much better.
fence, Aug 04 2000

       Before I posted this idea I checked the site for anything on Tele-marketing. For some reason, I didn't see your posting. Your idea is also good. What we need is a hybrid of the two ideas: The "Tele-marketer Revealer Law" This law clearly states that all Tele-marketers must reveal their true nature, be it by my caller id idea, or by your idea to ask the question before becoming an annoying distraction. For the sanity of the entire country and probably the world, this law must be baked into existence!
fatamericanpig, Aug 04 2000

       Is legal action required?   

       If we made sure that caller ID worked everywhere, and that it was considered socially rude to block it, telemarketers and other undesirables would stand out.   

       If you're into conspiracy theories, you can ascribe the widely publicized "backlash" against caller-ID (and the widespread availability and use of caller-ID blocking) to telemarketing firms who want to hide among the dupes. (If you're worried about privacy, blocking caller ID won't help.)   

       Some telephone companies (US West among them) have started adding a "telemarketer blocking" feature. When you enable it, callers get a short message informing them that you don't accept solicitations, and instructing them to press "1" otherwise. Once they do so, their number is marked as "OK" and they never hear the message again. (You can also edit the list manually.) Some people I know swear by it.   

       Finally, check out the Junkbusters guide to handling telemarketing calls. I've added a link.
egnor, Aug 04 2000

       After having countless Saturday morning sleep-ins disrupted by these fiends, I resorted to threatening the telemarketer with a harassment charge if they did not exclude me from their random dialer. Don't be fooled- such a thing is possible, although you have to scream bloody murder to get it.   

       I like this idea much better.   

       Also, if you could extend this to legitimate market research companies and government census organizations, it would make their lot much easier as well, as people would realize that such companies *aren't* telemarketers.
BigThor, Aug 31 2000

       You don't have to "scream bloody murder" or threaten to place harassment charges. In the U.S., you simply have to say "take me off your list, please" and they're legally required to do so immediately. If they don't, they're eligible for a stiff fine.   

       (YMMV in other nations.)   

       Do check out the Junkbusters guide; it describes this along with other useful tidbits.
egnor, Aug 31 2000

       just get even with this and annoy them, when they ask you someing just say "yeah just once moment i need to switch telephones" or something, and just leave the phone off the hook. wast their time and money, and make them suffer while you can have a good laugh.
flickiter, Jul 12 2003


       Gee. Let's see now. How about holding your friends who own businesses and run corporations accountable for "doing business" in this bottom-feeding way.   

       But I guess it's just so much simpler to do the mean, cowardly status quo thing instead -- that is, often literally spewing venom (Christian and otherwise) over the employees.   

       Employees doing the kind of job that corporate America is littering the country and others like Canada and India (don't ask) with.
thecat, Jul 12 2003

       (pulls out bottle of scratch remover, applies to furniture, buys new drapes)
Cedar Park, Jul 13 2003

       well, I dont know about any other countries but in the uk theres a service called TPS (Telephone Preferance Service), it is a legal requirement that all uk telemarketing companies screen their calls aginst this list and get an automatic £5000 fine for every number they call which has been registered with the service.   

       i'd imagine the US has a similar system in place.
Banana Man, Jun 10 2004

       The 'Do Not Call List' would be the US version of that. Unfortunately it doesn't work very well.
stilgar, Sep 12 2005

       Our big problem is spam faxed to our fax machine: it uses up our paper and ink, and we have yet to receive (unsolicited) anything we are remotely interested in.
DrCurry, Sep 12 2005

       My telemarketers always like to begin with: "I'm not trying to sell anything .... "   

       So I'm sure while there is money to be made they would come up with some loophole -   

       "Oooh NO .... we are not a telemarketing company .... we just like to chat with and entertain random people around dinner time ... a completely free service you know!"
ixnaum, Sep 12 2005

       Try this-   

       You: "Hello?" Telemarketer:"Hi! We are selling timeshare properties-" You: "I am very interested! But.. well.. Umm.. can I get your home phone number so we can talk about this later?" Telemarketer: "I cant do that sir." You: "Oh, so you wouldnt want a total stranger to call you at home after you get off of work, huh?" Telemarketer: "Yes Sir, thats right." You: "Neither would I. {CLICK}"   

       The name and number for caller ID purposes is actually programmed locally at the site where the phone equipment is. Part of the reason why they dont program the information into their system is because most telemarketing companies are 3rd parties representing multiple companies. Each client would like for their own company name to be represented on the phone system. In order to make it fair the telemarketing company wont list anyone. Sometimes you have a portion of the phone reps selling timeshare property while another portion are giving away free airfare to an overpriced hotel. And because it changes so rapidly between phones, reps, desks, etc.. and then you add the fact that there are over 400 cubicles sometimes it can be a bit challenging to keep up.   

       But I still think that telemarketing companies should make themselves known. I vote in favor of it!
Jscotty, Sep 12 2005

       Stop being such a telephone slave. If it rings when you're having dinner, don't answer. A genuine caller will try again. It's not as if they know that you're in...
sven3012, Sep 14 2005


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