Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Mon, Aug 31 2009

Hang up and get a clue, please

Our house phone often gets calls from 303-238-5792 and I see that if you do a search on Google with that number there are pages and pages of listings that describe hang-up calls, magazine subscription renewals and repeated complaints of people answering and telling them not to call anymore, only to receive new calls in a few weeks. There's also a Better Business Bureau page with information on NR Collection Agency in the Denver area.

It's interesting how many of these types of calls are made to residences. I doubt very much that all the calls come from one location. There are probably numerous lines hooked into this number with Caller ID simply going back to one number. I'm always hearing that Congress has banned, or is in the process of banning, automated dialers or automated recordings from dialers that call us. But these companies always seem to find a way around the bans. They recruit people to tie into some central line from home or from boiler rooms and the calls go on in some fashion or another. There are calls for charities, calls for magazine subscriptions, calls for lowering mortgage payments, calls for aluminum siding, calls for photograph packages. Many of us have blogged about this issue in the past. I've noticed that the calls only seem to increase with time, despite all this supposed legislation to ban such things.

People often think that the Do Not Call list should protect them but the truth is that the wording on the Do Not Call rule is too loose to be of real use. If you ever did business with or asked a question of anyone who worked for a company, or if you accepted a free sample from a company, or from a subsidiary or parent company of the company involved, or from a company that subsequently bought the company, you are considered fair game for a sales call (or many sales calls). The more we try to ban junk phone calls the more we seem to get.

As a social experiment in social norms, the whole topic is a wonderful study in cat-and-mouse. There are lists of ways to annoy callers. There are techniques written to discourage the callers. There are lists of jokes to play on the callers. Many of us employ answering machines to screen our calls. That last action can have its negative side, but I have proof that it drives the callers somewhat over the edge. Some years ago I suppose one young man got tired of hearing my cheerful outgoing message everytime he called and so he decided to vent a bit. So he waited for the beep and left a disgustinly pornographic, but very cheeful, message for me. (I occasionally wonder if perhaps he eventually vented at the home of the wrong customer, such as a police officer, and got himself arrested.) I know of people who have had their home phone numbers discontinued altogether. They use their cell phones for most calls anyway and seem to receive only junk calls on their home phones. I wonder if that's why the rest of us seem to be getting more calls than ever. It's some sort of sad, bell-shaped curve, isn't it?

posted at: 11:04 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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