Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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pay-me phone

deposit required for phone to ring
  [vote for,

Before the phone will ring, the caller must deposit a predetermined sum, payable to the receiving party. During normal business hours: US $5. After normal business hours, before bedtime: US $20. After bedtime: US $100.

If the receiving party feels that the interruption is worth their time, the deposit is refunded. If the receiving party feels their time is wasted, they can hang-up and keep the deposit. This will rapidly reduce to zero the number of cold calls you get from telemarketers and may even put a dent in the number of calls for any teenagers in the house.

ato_de, Feb 14 2003


       Telecommunication service providers don't care if you think the call was wasted time or not, the more calls the merrier for them.
RoboBust, Feb 14 2003

       Robo, The money would be deposited directly to the person who receives the call, not to the phone company.
ato_de, Feb 18 2003

       That was you?
RayfordSteele, Feb 18 2003

       It will cost you $20 to find out. (or $100 after bedtime <wink>)
cameron, Feb 18 2003

       //The money would be deposited directly to the person who receives the call//
angel, Feb 19 2003

       How about a premium number attached to an answerphone? You could give the number out to anyone that demanded it. Important calls would still get through, yet mass commercial callers wouldn't bother to call a premium number.   

       If they do crank call or try to sell you stuff, they'd be doing you a favour. You could even pick up and try the following:   

       Caller: "Sir, can I interest you in changing you long-distance carrier?"   

       You: "Yes, please begin your sales pitch" <<presses mute button and leaves the phone off the hook.>>   


       You: "I've an urgent call on the other line, please hold while I take care of it" <<hold>>   


       You: "Why should I change my carrier, you're paying for my next ten calls already!"
FloridaManatee, Feb 19 2003

       <US-centric> Isn't this how the "900" numbers work? As I understand, a charge appears on the callers phone bill and the phone company pays the owner of the 900 number. I believe that there is a legal requirement to announce the cost at the beginning of the call.
half, Feb 19 2003

       I think it's a BRILLIANT idea... except I'd charge their credit card instead of relying upon the phone company... and create a special category for calls SO outrageously expensive as to require callers first do an electronic funds transfer or post a surety bond to prove that they REALLY can afford the call. Otherwise, there's too much potential for mandatory refunds (it's TRIVIALLY easy to get the phone company to refund ANY 900/976 call alleged in writing to be fraudulent; at that point, it's up to the called party to collect the funds itself if it can).   

       With this scheme, private numbers would no longer be necessary. Even people like Madonna, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, and George Bush could freely publish their phone numbers. You might be gambling $25,000 (mandatory funds transfer or bond posted in advance), but hey... if you're confident...
miamicanes, May 17 2003


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