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[P]
Flawed Analogies and the Federal Do Not Call List

By CaptainSuperBoy in Op-Ed
Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 05:44:40 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

I'm usually in favor of a completely free market, so why am I also in favor of the United States' new country-wide do not call list?

From an unusually pro-commercial Salon article by Farhad Manjoo:

"Does anybody like to get a phone call at dinner?" asks Errol Copilevitz, an attorney who's fought many telemarketing laws on behalf of nonprofit organizations. Of course not, he says. But unless the government gives us the opportunity to opt out of all of life's annoyances, why single out telemarketing? "I don't like to be bothered at the airport by people with unusual religious persuasions," Copilevitz says. "But there's some price that you pay for all kinds of freedom."


Just like in the spam debate, flawed analogies abound in the telemarketing industry's opposition to the list, which will go into effect in October. By then, an estimated 60 million Americans will have added their telephone numbers to the list.

The problem in Mr. Copilevitz's analogy is simple: If a Hare Krishna confronts you in the airport (and by the way, does this happen very often nowadays?), it's a face to face confrontation. Also, religious calls are presumably non-profit and are exempt from the do not call law, but we'll chalk that up to a poor example. In any case, our friendly Hare Krishna is accountable, and you have a recourse. You can ask him to stop, or simply walk away. If he follows you around, that's not an annoyance, it's harassment. Telemarketers, on the other hand, have shown again and again that they want as little accountability as possible. Why else would they block their number on caller ID boxes, a practice that virtually all telemarketers use? Ask them a tough question, like "what company do you really work for?" or "what is your supervisor's name?" and, seeing no sale in the future, they'll just hang up. Telemarketers routinely violate existing federal laws that require them to identify themselves, call within certain hours, and honor requests to be removed from their list.

It is correct that there is no such thing as a right to live free of annoyances. Telemarketing, however, is closer to harassment than annoyance. Even the Salon article points out how calls are indiscriminately made to the handicapped and the elderly. With no way to opt out of all calls, these recipients are forced to answer the phone each time for fear that they could miss an important call. Mobile phone users, who pay for each call they receive, will also answer their phone, especially with the universally employed telemarketer practice of blocking caller ID.

There is one point that we all agree on: When the national do not call list goes live in October, it will negatively affect the telemarketing industry. Jobs will be lost. The industry, however, is playing around with the statistics. They are quick to point out that there are 2-4 million people employed in the teleservices industry in the US (depending on who you ask). However according to the Direct Marketing Association's report titled The Faces and Places of Outbound Teleservices in the United States, around 500,000 of these employees are 'outbound' telemarketers, meaning the majority of teleservices employees are not in the business of making unsolicited sales calls. Outbound telemarketing generated $274.2 billion in sales in 2001.

Manjoo appears to believe that a cost/benefit analysis will show that losing the telemarketing industry is too harmful to the economy. This is a flawed belief to hold, of course, if the industry in question is considered harmful as well. Opponents of genetically modified food, for instance, also make this argument. It may help the economy by reducing the cost of food, but is it worth it if it impacts people's health? The telemarketing industry may help the economy by employing salespeople and selling goods, but is it worth it if the calls are a violation of your rights? Again and again, the industry has ignored existing federal laws because of a loophole: All the telemarketer has to do in court is show that they have "established and implemented, with due care, reasonable practices and procedures to effectively prevent telephone solicitations in violation of the regulations." At one point I had a telemarketer calling me almost every day with a recorded message, trying to sell me a trip to Orlando. When I tried to call the number in the recording, they claimed they were unable to remove me from the list.

The existing law is not a solution. It allows every company and every telemarketing outfit to maintain a separate do not call list, which gives each one of the countless sellers of discount long distance service and Florida timeshares a one-time ticket to call your home. There are over 8,000 outbound call centers in the US and over 100 million telemarketing calls every day.

Is the do not call list worth the economic price? I say, that question shouldn't even be asked. We are asking ourselves the wrong thing. My question is, how far are we willing to go to improve the economy? What are we willing to tolerate in the name of a couple more jobs? What will we tolerate so that a little more of our paycheck goes toward consumer sales? The message from the direct marketing industry is clear: The 20 million Americans who have signed up for the list so far are lying. They say they hate being interrupted during dinner, but clearly some of them have bought stuff from telemarketers before. I don't have any more faith in the consumers than the telemarketers do. The choice should still be in the hands of the fickle consumers, and not the telemarketers.

$274.2 billion in sales do not just vanish. 500,000 jobs do not just go away. The statistics don't lie, but I have a hard time believing that the average American buys over $900 of stuff from telemarketers in a year. I have a suspicion that most of these sales are the big ticket items, and they'll be bought through other channels. Today's advertising doesn't create markets, it moves consumers between competitors. It's a rare consumer who buys a time-share over the phone when he wasn't already considering the purchase. If you call me up and sweet-talk me, I might buy a boat from you instead of your competitor. You can be damn sure that I was thinking about buying the boat before you called, though. For this reason, the marketing industry's suggestion that almost 4% of consumer sales will simply vanish is not only irrelevant, it is also wrong.

I do oppose the law on one point: It is irresponsible and sleazy for the lawmakers to exempt themselves from the law by protecting political solicitations. This isn't a business issue, it is an issue about our right not to be disturbed in our homes. If you hate telemarketing, you'll be just as angry if you get a recorded call from George W. Bush pitching your local congressman as you will if you get a recorded call from George Foreman pitching a grilling machine.

If you disagree about the analogies, you'll probably disagree with the do not call list. Personally, I don't believe telephone marketing is being singled out in any way. As a usual fan of the free market, I reluctantly support the list, knowing that it will have some negative impact on the economy. Laws such as truth-in-advertising laws have shown us that sometimes commercial speech must be restricted for the benefit of all people. Telemarketers will quickly defend their rights, but your right to be free of calls you do not want is more important than their right to pitch their goods to you.

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Poll
US residents: Are you on the list? Non-US residents: Would you sign up if you lived in the US?
o Yes 91%
o No 8%

Votes: 83
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o country-wi de do not call list
o Salon article by Farhad Manjoo
o The Faces and Places of Outbound Teleservices in the United States
o Also by CaptainSuperBoy


Display: Sort:
Flawed Analogies and the Federal Do Not Call List | 157 comments (128 topical, 29 editorial, 1 hidden)
Telemarketing industry hurt? (4.57 / 7) (#1)
by qaz2 on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 03:59:14 PM EST

I don't think so. They still have plenty of people who they can call. As the people who always hang up will be more likely to put their names on the list, the yield of the telemarketers should go up slightly. Thus, the industry should not be hurt, and might actually he helped, as long as a signficant number of people are not on the list.

signficant number of people are not on the list (5.00 / 3) (#75)
by monkeymind on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 08:11:01 AM EST

But as more and more join the 'fuck off' list, 20Mil I have herd, Those left will recieve more and more calls. To the point where even the most lasy will do something about it...

I believe in Karma. That means I can do bad things to people and assume the deserve it.
[ Parent ]

Utility theft. (5.00 / 13) (#2)
by Fredrick Doulton on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 04:05:22 PM EST

I've heard a lot of people support telemarketters and spammers on the grounds of freedom of speech. But I think they're looking at this entirely the wrong way. Sure, they have a right to peddle their snake oil, and I have a right to tell them to go fuck themselves.. But they do NOT have the right to steal MY resources to facilitate their annoying business model. Those resources being bandwidth for spam, plus my time for having to delete said spam. Time is money, and that goes for telemarketters as well. It takes time for me to pick up the phone and listen to their annoying spiel, as well as electricity and the cost of owning the line. I don't own a line so businesses will have a direct input to my home. I own it so that I may talk to people who I wish to talk to. Ohh, and add 'denial of service' to the list of losses, as I may be missing out on several important calls because someone thinks I need a new credit card or mortage plan.

Bush/Cheney 2004! - "Because we've still got more people to kill"

It's a bullshit argument (3.33 / 3) (#95)
by dipierro on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 04:55:42 PM EST

Sure, they have a right to peddle their snake oil, and I have a right to tell them to go fuck themselves.. But they do NOT have the right to steal MY resources to facilitate their annoying business model.

What resources are being stolen from you? If you don't want people to email you, don't set up an email account.

Spam is a nuisance, not theft.

Those resources being bandwidth for spam, plus my time for having to delete said spam.

Your time is not a resource which is being stolen from you. You are no more required to read spam then I am required to read this post. As for the bandwidth, like I already said, this is something that you have voluntarily allowed people to use. If you don't want people to email you, don't set up an email server.



[ Parent ]
I concur (4.50 / 2) (#113)
by cpt kangarooski on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 07:36:23 PM EST

It's similar in that having a front door is an implicit invitation to people to trespass on your lawn so that they can come knock on it. There are limits: it could be limited in terms of the times allowed or the manner, but the attempt cannot basically be frustrated altogether. You can see similar issues with regards to mailboxes (fills up, takes time to sort mail, might cost money to throw away), telephones (might be metered, denies use of it otherwise, interrupts what you were doing), spam (uses disk space, bandwidth, has to be sorted, filtered), etc. If you don't like it, then I would encourage you to set up some form of reasonable notice so that people know that as applied to you, there is no implicit permission. But it has to be explicitly revoked. It's part of living in a society that people will try to communicate with you without prior explicit permission to do so. Deal with it.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
Don't answer the Phone (4.33 / 3) (#3)
by haplopeart on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 04:22:08 PM EST

I put myself on the do not call list...I hope it helps however I have already taken the approach...if your name and number don't show on my Caller ID....I don't answer the phone...very simple very easy...if your someone that has something to say you'll leave a message on the answering machine.... I wish Spam was so easy....its alot more effort to get rid of that crap...
Bill "Haplo Peart" Dunn
Administrator Epithna.com
http://www.epithna.com

Now I know why (4.50 / 12) (#7)
by Corey Haim on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 04:35:05 PM EST

I crashed my motorbike last weekend. The roads were pretty greasy, I took the corner too fast. I was a little concussed, and my arm was bleeding. But I managed to stagger to a phone box. I put my last quarter in. But who to ring?

"I'll call good ol' Haplo Peart" I stuttered. I was starting to feel woozy. "He'll know what to do. After all, he's been administrating Epithna.com for a good while now."

The phone just kept ringing. "C'mon Bill. Pick it up, man." The pain was intense now.

I passed out. Minutes later, a telemarketer was driving by, getting some country air to relieve the stress brought on by all the self-righteous, hurtful customers he called all week. He got me into the car and to a hospital. The doctors said I was luckily to have made it.

How do I know this is true? Because I was that Corey.

[ Parent ]

Oh but... (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by laotic on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 07:22:14 PM EST

...phone booths are not CLIRred. Or are they?

On a general line, I'd add that some people (like myself) cannot affort not to take calls from ID restricted numbers - the ministries and the police all have them that way. Good clients...

Sig? Sigh.
[ Parent ]
Doesn't matter... (4.33 / 3) (#5)
by Danse on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 04:26:14 PM EST

There are so many exceptions in the Do Not Call law that it probably won't make much difference to me. Most of the calls that I get are from charities, police department, or political campaigns. I only get calls actually trying to sell me a product every once in a while.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
Better suggestion (4.50 / 8) (#9)
by NoBeardPete on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 04:50:28 PM EST

I think the national do-not-call list is, on the whole, a good thing. I think there could be much better solutions, though, that wouldn't raise the sticky freedom of speech issues. With a different solution, you could even avoid the kind of problem where lawmakers grant exceptions to their own political campaigns.

What I'd love to see is something like this. When someone calls me, they would be screened. A quick recording would describe the acceptable use policy for my phone line. It might say something like, "My phone is only available for use by personal friends, coworkers, and businesses with which I have an ongoing account. To confirm that you fall into one of these categories, dial one now. Misrepresenting yourself will result in a $100 fine.". Anyone who dials one will be put through. Anyone who does not won't even cause my phone to ring. If someone lies and dials one, even though they do not fall under my acceptable use policy, I can push a button on my phone, causing a recording of the conversation to be sent to the phone company, who will charge the fine to the account of the jerk that called me and fraudelently represented himself. The phone company gets a %50 cut. If we want to get really fancy, the aforementioned recording can include an encoded, computer readable description of who can call and who can't. Telemarketers can configure their machines to call, talk to my screening machine, and only procede if they fall under my acceptable use policy.

Let's look at how this is better than the current national do not call list situation. First, it is much more flexible. I can configure my phone to accept calls from charitable organizations, or to reject them, depending on what calls I want to recieve. I can configure my phone's policy as a blacklist or a whitelist, depending on who I want to talk to.

Second, there is an easy, immediate way to fine violators. If a telemarketer calls me even though I told them not too, I push a few buttons on my phone and take care of it right then. This makes it more likely that violations will be reported, as compared to the current system where people file complaints with some federal agency after the fact. The phone company will recieve $50 per violation, which should be more than enough to pay the people who confirm that the violations are real. Failure to pay fines will rapidly lead to having phone access cut off, as the phone company looks poorly on non-payment of phone bills.

Third, it is harder for certain organizations or groups to get exceptions allowing them to call people who do not want to be called. The current do-not-call list does not apply to political campaigns or charitable organizations, because of political concerns that are little interest to the average phone-owner. My solution does not give politicians the opportunity to write an exception for themselves into the law.

Fourth, there are no free-speech implications. Speech directed at people who do not wish to recieve it is still legal. Nothing new need be made illegal - misrepresenting oneself as someone else to gain illicit access to a computer or phone system has long been illegal. No new laws need by passed, and no rights need be infringed upon.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!

one refinement (3.00 / 1) (#42)
by sal5ero on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 10:30:32 PM EST

The phone company will recieve $50 per violation, which should be more than enough to pay the people who confirm that the violations are real. Failure to pay fines will rapidly lead to having phone access cut off, as the phone company looks poorly on non-payment of phone bills.

there would have to be agreements between all the phone companies to transfer the fines between them. how else would a telemarketer using phone company X to call person using phone company Y get fined in a way that forces them to pay?

[ Parent ]
if possible (none / 0) (#90)
by Happy Monkey on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 01:19:51 PM EST

transfer them to a 900 number? :)
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
This is the method I use (5.00 / 1) (#151)
by libertine on Fri Jul 18, 2003 at 06:28:41 PM EST

I am not signing up for the do-not-call list.  I read the scope and restrictions, and I just see it as a number give away for anybody with a political bent.  I already don't get telemarketing calls now (with the exception of one automated caller- I just record those, because they are worth about $500 a pop).

Here's the method to get off of the lists:

It works-we only receive one call a month now, and that is from an automated caller that doesn't use the regular lists.

About the lists- mostly, they are gotten from 3 sources.  Dataminers, who pull from the internet as well as sales lists (you know, those cards you fill out with your info when you buy a product?), local phone companies, and long distance phone companies (like AT&T).  Even if you are unlisted, the latter two will still sell your number.  In the case of long distance companies like AT&T, they will do it even if you ask them not to.  They will also sell your data when you leave their service, and won't take you off their list unless you are 'their customer'- because the agreement you sign, asking them not to sell your data, only applies as long as you are a customer.  Talk about
blackmail.

I solved this one morning by making each call cost the caller.  You see, you can charge people for your time.  You just have to inform them of it, and insist that the informee does acknowledge they were informed.  It is called consulting (I worked as a consultant for a while). Here is what you do (at any point along this route, if they take this too lightly, ask them to bridge in their supervisor- not transfer, but bridge in- they can do this):

1.  Ask if this is a business or personal call.  Insist on their understanding that this is NOT a personal call.  Also get their name and the name of their business- not the business they represent, but their business.

2.  Inform them that you work as a consultant in X field.  If you can't think of a field, try "consumer marketing"...which, since they are calling you, that makes you a consultant :)

3.  Tell them that since you are off the clock, you are only taking personal calls.  All business calls are only taken on an emergency basis.  If they try to state it is some other type of call, inform them that since it is YOUR time, you define all non-personal calls as business calls when received at home, and that you use your home number only for personal and emergency business calls.

4.  Tell them you charge, oh, $150/per hour, and bill at a 4 hour minimum for business calls that are emergencies.

5.  Be very firm about this part- since they are calling you on your personal time outside of business your normal business schedule, they
are welcome to contract your consulting services at emergency rates.

6.  Ask them for a company credit card or PO number.  Make sure they understand that you ARE NOT joking about this.  You can skip this step if they are already saying they won't bother you again.

7.  When they say they won't bother you again, or they will end the call now, stop them.  Make sure they understand that you know what business they represent, and what business they are calling from, and they will receive a bill for your services charged at $150/hour for four hours if they EVER call you again.  If they say that it will take 30 days to take you off a list, inform them you will still charge them- it is their responsibility to make sure they don't get billed, not yours.

8.  Watch the calls drop off fast.  We never received a callback from a single company that we told this to.  These phone marketers all share their data as well, because bad data means a list that was sold to them is invalid.  Those lists are expensive, too, and they don't like paying for data that they can't use.  

Within 30 days, we were down from 6 calls a day to less than 6 calls a month.  After 60 days, just one caller with an automated system on the east coast, who we can't get a hold of because they are on east coast hours and call on Wednesdays.  Actually, we haven't heard from them in over a month either- they probably updated their list.


"Live for lust. Lust for life."
[ Parent ]

This will eventually be good for the economy... (5.00 / 5) (#10)
by Psycho Dave on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 04:55:04 PM EST

Once the do not call list goes into effect, a number of jobs will be lost. Bad for the economy. But what happens to the infrastructure that allowed millions of calls to be made a day? With some investment, these outbound call centers can be converted to inbound call centers. They can be used for sales, as before, and with a higher percentage of people purchasing from them, increasing their profitability. We can convert them to customer service lines (god knows it takes forever to get a live person on the phone nowadays). We might even have the infrastructure to create more low level tech support jobs (fielding "Check to see if your computer is on..." type questions), you know, the ones we whine about the Indians taking from us. I'm sure that the annual salary for a telemarketer would be competitive with what Punjab and Chowdry get, it will be cheaper than routing calls overseas, and we will benefit from a more educated workforce. Good for the economy. We might even be able to snatch more jobs from overseas this way. Let's make globalization work for us...

Though I would love the level of telemarketing calls to go down, I want the number of "instant poll" calls to increase significantly (and with all the out of work telemarketers, this would not be hard to do). I'm not talking about the ones asking about what radio stations you listen to or what your preferred laundry detergent is. I'm talking about Bush's approval rating polls, or "What do you think of his tax cut?" polls. Think about the insane amount of influence these polls have on our political landscape, and think back to the last time you were ever called for one (I know I've never been). In this day and age, polling seems just as, if not more important than voting.

It will also improve productivity (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by nicebear on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 04:50:35 AM EST

If you add up all the time lost due to telemarketing calls, it much reach billions of dollars, even for someone earning minimum wage. Even more time is lost due to call screening and voicemail, the use of which ought to decrease once people begin to know that a ringing phone actually represents a true phone call.

I know that time doesn't always equal money, but telemarketers also intrude on offices, and an increasing number of people are working at home. Freedom from harassment means more time to do genuinely productive things. (Or at least to post on K5!)

[ Parent ]

working from home (none / 0) (#98)
by adiffer on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 05:38:16 PM EST

I am one of those people.  I've been telecommuting 100% now for a couple of years.  When telemarketers do get through, I usually try to be polite and tell them they have called in during my business hours when I must reject them and get back to work no matter how good their message is.  I haven't met one yet that didn't understand and move on quickly to their next call.

I still signed up for the do no call this though.
--BE The Alien!
[ Parent ]

Instant Polls? (none / 0) (#125)
by MorePower on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 01:27:13 PM EST

Though I would love the level of telemarketing calls to go down, I want the number of "instant poll" calls to increase significantly (and with all the out of work telemarketers, this would not be hard to do). I'm not talking about the ones asking about what radio stations you listen to or what your preferred laundry detergent is. I'm talking about Bush's approval rating polls, or "What do you think of his tax cut?" polls. Think about the insane amount of influence these polls have on our political landscape, and think back to the last time you were ever called for one (I know I've never been). In this day and age, polling seems just as, if not more important than voting.


Do such things actually exist? I have always wondered where these "60% of people approve of President Bush" statistics come from, as I have never in my entire life been asked anything like that, and I don't ever remember my parents getting such calls durring my childhood, nor have I heard of any of my roomates back in college getting polled. It has always led me to distrust the validity of such polls. After all, how good a sample of the population could they be polling if they have never contacted me or anyone close to me in 30 years of life.



[ Parent ]
I got called for one last month (none / 0) (#131)
by Gully Foyle on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 03:34:17 PM EST

It was on electronic voting. They liked me so much that they called back next day to invite me to a focus group.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

you dont mind regulating so-called 'free markets' (1.28 / 7) (#13)
by zzzeek on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 05:17:04 PM EST

...when they intrude upon your cherished personal convenience, but when hundreds of thousands suffer around the world due to global corporate hegemony and greed, fuck them !

Presumptions (none / 0) (#15)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 06:07:24 PM EST

Don't presume that you know my views on globalization.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
COMMUNISM! (2.37 / 8) (#14)
by elenchos on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 05:27:15 PM EST

In Socrates's Apology, he begins by disclaiming any talent as an orator, and begs indulgence for his simple common sense and lack of sophistic skill. Of course, he then proceeds to construct a defense so subtle and complex that students have argued over its meaning for 25 centuries. He even pulls out the old "I'm too humble to remind you of my valor in the Battle of Marathon" ploy. Yes, that one was old even then.

So excuse me if your ploy of beginning by pretending to favor a completely free market strikes me as a cliché.

If you had any faith at all in the power of the Free Market to self-optimize, you would realize that no government interference is necessary, and is in fact utterly counterproductive. The Free Market will spontaneously generate consumer-pleasing solutions to the need created by telemarketing. Consumers feel harassed, and someone will invent a way to relieve them. It is an automatic process, because the Free Market cannot do anything except produce good things. It will simply happen as long as no law is used to intervene.

So your support of existing law is hardly the attitude of a Free Marketeer, and to want this meddling new law is nothing short of COMMUNISM. Now an entire opportunity for economic growth will be missed because the entrepreneurial spirit was short circuited by a clumsy regulation.

At least the Free Market still reigns free for non-profits and political organizations. Down there will see the perfecting Hidden Hand hard at work stroking the flaccid consumer into a free-standing yet sensitive recipient of the pleasures of real capitalism at work. In this government-free zone, entrepreneurial seeds will spew forth and be planted in a thousand fertile furrows, putting to shame the cold and barren desert of the over-regulated and hamstrung telemarketer. Then, then, the Earth will move in a new direction.

If only we could go straight there without all this foreplay.

Adequacy.org

Wow! (5.00 / 4) (#17)
by teece on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 07:17:05 PM EST

This is one of the finest examples of unchecked Market Fundamentalism I have ever read. ... because the Free Market cannot do anything except produce good things. This is particular a real gem. I hope you're a troll. If you beleive what you wrote, an anti-psychotic might be in order.

-- Hello_World.c, 17 Errors, 31 Warnings...
[ Parent ]

Irony... Try it, it's fun... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by baron samedi on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 08:36:44 PM EST


"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]
Free market (none / 0) (#103)
by Ken Arromdee on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 06:27:03 PM EST

Even most believers in the free market accept certain functions performed by government. Protection from crimes against one's person or property is one of those. One normally doesn't say that the free market will protect against, say, trespassers, or people yelling 'fire' in crowded theaters.

[ Parent ]
IDIOTS (none / 0) (#130)
by poopi on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 02:38:39 PM EST

Since when are humans perfect decision makers? The hidden hand is a mathematical construct only able to exist in a mathematical context. First, humans do not have perfect information. Second, even if humans had perfect information they seldom make correct decisions (hence the popularity of trial and error). This hidden hand thing is so silly it's beyond the pale. Even in evolution the fittest don't always survive, there's a great big randomizer in the sky which can make anything possible.

-----

"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - Parent ]

Wha... ? (2.00 / 1) (#19)
by reklaw on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 07:37:32 PM EST

Can't you just get yourselves unlisted from the phone book over there? We're ex-directory (I'm in the UK), and we NEVER get unsolicited telemarketing calls -- the only companies that call are ones we've had past dealings with, and they always respect being asked not to call again.
-
The local phone companies . . . (5.00 / 1) (#20)
by acceleriter on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 07:44:04 PM EST

. . . charge several dollars/month to be unlisted (name not in the book), and a smidge more to be non-published (name not in the book and number not available via directory assistance.

Of course, this is just one way the telephone companies play both sides of the fence--another is the sale of Caller ID to residential customers and simultaneous sale of lines with CID information that shows "unavailable" to telemarketing boiler rooms.

No matter how an arms race in the telephone privacy/annoyance wars go, the telcos cash in.

[ Parent ]

Still... (5.00 / 1) (#22)
by reklaw on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 07:47:11 PM EST

... considering the amount of bitching I've been reading about the web recently over this do-not-call thingy being needed, why not just pay the few dollars extra to make your number unavailable? Then it's up to you who you give your number to, and no-one needs to go crying to the Government.
-
[ Parent ]
One problem (5.00 / 2) (#26)
by acceleriter on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 07:54:41 PM EST

Once one company with whom you legitimately do business has your number, and sells it or otherwise distributes it, it 's out. There's no way to prove who leaked it, and changing a telephone number, besides being inconvenient, is pretty expensive.

My philosophy is simple: my telephone is there for my convenience, not for those who would bother me in an attempt to sell items. A "do not call" list is no more a threat to anyone's freedom than a "no soliciting" sign on the door of my residence. The big bad government is finally recognizing in one fashion that the majority of telephone subscribers don't want telemarketing calls, and have enacted law (albeit with loopholes) to match that moral right.

[ Parent ]

Hmm... (none / 0) (#31)
by reklaw on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 08:01:23 PM EST

... I'm only going on what works -- we never get telemarketing calls here, as I said. Then again, we've not needed a "no soliciting" sign on the front of our "residence" either, as door-to-door salesmen come around so rarely that it's not even worth it (I'm talking whole months without seeing one).

The whole thing just seems to be a much bigger problem in the US for some reason. Maybe it's because of the slightly looser "business ethics" you seem to have over there in general...

Still, I would argue that prevention is better than cure, and in that spirit strictly-enforced data protection laws are superior to a federal do-not-call list.
-
[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 0) (#33)
by acceleriter on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 08:08:15 PM EST

that strong data protection laws would be nice, sort of keeping the animals inside the barn. But I don't have much faith that any such law passed in the U.S. wouldn't have more holes than Swiss cheese. Probably because those with those "loose business ethics" are pretty much in control of politics here.

[ Parent ]
Maybe companies are just nice to me. (3.66 / 3) (#34)
by la princesa on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 08:21:41 PM EST

Even the evil phone company asks while setting up service 'do you mind if we let affiliated companies call you?' and if you say no, YOU have to call and have it reversed.  And the bank and phone company are the only ones who call that aren't friends or family.  And it is generally no more than four times in a year, if that.  

I probably have gotten one or two telemarketing calls, because many telemarketers and telesurveyors use random generation to produce some of their calling lists.  Most people don't know that in those cases, the eeeeevil telemarketers have no idea if the number is a residence, business, cell phone, disconnected number, or whatever.  Which means that when people don't answer, they are forced to call and call until they get something verifying what type of number it is.  In this regard, privacy managers do help, because the average system used to make the calls has buttons just for auto-adding that number to a don't call list.  

I don't like telemarketers, but they don't always buy your name from some company.  It is often just randomly spit out, if only because that can be cheaper than buying lists for some purposes.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]

And it's these I particularly hate (5.00 / 2) (#36)
by acceleriter on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 08:43:53 PM EST

and look foward to seeing some high profile "example" prosecutions of those doing sequential dialing when this new legislation takes effect.

[ Parent ]
That seems unfair. (3.66 / 3) (#38)
by la princesa on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 08:57:52 PM EST

As noted, there's software in place used by telemarketers, nonprofits, and telesurveyors to auto-add numbers to the don't call.  All you have to do is use the privacy manager.  One can set one up oneself basically for free by hooking up a tape recorder with a message stating 'do not call'.  It solves the problem without penalising anyone needlessly.  In fact, it's a boon for all random list callings, because it allows them to throw out numbers easily and allows people to only receive calls from friends and family.  No need to kick anyone around when easy technical solutions exist and are simple to set up.

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
What business do they have . . . (5.00 / 3) (#39)
by acceleriter on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 09:00:18 PM EST

. . . dialing numbers at random in the first place? Anyways, even if this odious practice is somehow legal, at least they'll be required to bounce the numbers off a centralized do not call list.

[ Parent ]
It's hardly an odious practice. (3.20 / 5) (#45)
by la princesa on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 12:17:48 AM EST

As noted, it's another way to find out who'd prefer to be called rather than not.  A national list of don't calls is perfectly all right, but in most households, there are multiple people.  Some don't mind talking to a stranger, others mind it fiercely.  Why should they miss the opportunity to talk to other members of the household just because one hates telemarketers or telesurveyors?  It's not odious to call households and see if there is someone amenable.  There often is.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
Or to turn that around (4.66 / 3) (#46)
by acceleriter on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 12:22:54 AM EST

Why should they have the right to potentially bother me, and deny me the use of my telephone service while they do, on the off chance I might be interested in hearing their pitch for a time share, mortgage loan, aluminum siding, or whatnot? Seems like unless they're paying for my telephone service (they're not) or getting my permission (they didn't) they have no business feeling my line out.

[ Parent ]
Again, there's already stuff in place for one to (3.00 / 6) (#49)
by la princesa on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 12:52:16 AM EST

keep one's line free of strangers calling.  It is the graciousness of the government that keeps your line closed to anyone at all, as it certainly didn't start out that way.  And again, not everyone lives alone, so just because the wife doesn't want to talk to strangers and the husband does, the whole number shouldn't be closed off, since someone there wouldn't mind listening.  You've no right to decide how things should be for other people just because it's something you dislike.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
That being the case . . . (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by acceleriter on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 01:06:04 AM EST

. . . I take it you're unopposed to any restrictions on dialing your number, since there are, as you say, devices to keep you from being bothered and that those of us who don't want to be are only entitled to the technical measures we are capable of and no government assistance. That being the case, please post your number here (area code first) to demonstrate your good faith in your thesis :).

[ Parent ]
Way to miss the point. (4.00 / 5) (#51)
by la princesa on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 01:52:20 AM EST

My number is as likely to come up in random dials as anyone else's.  And I have an answering machine, so if a stranger randomly dials, they are free to leave a message, telewhatever or otherwise.  There are already piles of restrictions in place for telemarketers specifically and to a lesser extent for opinion polls and nonprofits and such.  Really, even bill collectors don't call a number all that many times if they hit a machine more than once or twice.  There are also free answering services one can use instead of one's number when dealing with banks and whatnot.  Let's face it, the technical solutions are either free or cheap, and instead you want absurd levels of regulation when there are already fairly strict regulations in place.  Most of the people who violate regulations get fired by the calling companies anyhow.  I decided not to be in the phone book.  It was free.  Cost me no time, no money, and guess what?  My number's that much less likely to be sold off or dumped into a list.  All that is left is random dials, and I've got a machine that cost less than ten bucks to handle that.  You just want to control others' actions using the bludgeon of the government rather than using all the free or cheap methods available.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
Not missing the point at all. (5.00 / 2) (#87)
by acceleriter on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 10:18:01 AM EST

You think the government has no business in consumer protection with respect to telemarketing, I think the opposite. Let's agree to disagree.

[ Parent ]
Exactly. Since when was wardialling legal? (none / 0) (#132)
by Gully Foyle on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 03:39:02 PM EST


If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Not all do. (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by la princesa on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 07:58:30 PM EST

Not all local phone companies charge to be unlisted.  I am unlisted and unavailable via 411 or *69 and didn't pay extra at all.  To not show up on caller ID involves some sort of request to a state office, but it doesn't cost money aside from mailing the form off.  Granted, this is all for residential people, but if one doesn't want to be revealed via phone, one needn't pay for the privilege, at least in the city and state I live in.    

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
But the telcos still release the numbers (none / 0) (#150)
by libertine on Fri Jul 18, 2003 at 06:03:31 PM EST

to telemarketers.  The only way to prevent telmarketers from actually getting your number is to completely de-list yourself, which is a step above non-published.  Unfortunately, this means that 911 will no longer be able to locate you if you should need their assistance.  The numbers that are "non-delisted" are the ones that are sold.  

Even if you use a local telco provider which will respect your wishes to not share your number, that data can still be marketed by any long-distance or telephony provider that has ever had that number in service.  AT&T follows this practice, and will NOT de-list you, even if the number's assignee has changed, unless you become their customer.  

My way of dealing with this was to point out to AT&T that they were committing fraud by passing on incorrect information to their list customers, and that I would report them if I was not-delisted.  They refused, and I proceeded to report them to every telemarketer- since then, my number is not listed by them.


"Live for lust. Lust for life."
[ Parent ]

Diligence (5.00 / 4) (#23)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 07:48:02 PM EST

Keeping yourself off telemarketing lists would require sustained diligence in opting out of information-sharing, protecting your phone number, etc. An unlisted phone number is not good enough. In the US, financial companies can share your information with other companies unless you specifically write them a letter opting out. Every credit card company, bank, and insurance carrier you deal with can sell your number to telemarketers until you ask them not to - and then it's too late anyway.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
On forms... (5.00 / 2) (#24)
by reklaw on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 07:51:11 PM EST

... isn't there a little box that says something like 'do not contact me about other offers in the future' and then another that says 'do not give my details to other companies with offers that may interest me'? I'm not sure, but the number of times I've seen those things suggests to me that it's compulsory here -- perhaps something to do with the Data Protection Act, although I could be wrong.
-
[ Parent ]
Nope (none / 0) (#27)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 07:56:21 PM EST

On this side of the pond it's up to the company, so generally, no, there is no box. They assume you consent to information-sharing unless you write them an opt-out letter. There are a few nice companies - I have a savings account at ING Direct and they have a checkbox right on the website when you're signing up.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
That sucks. (none / 0) (#32)
by reklaw on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 08:03:38 PM EST

Forcing companies to put the box there would be better than that do-not-call list if you ask me, mainly because they wouldn't be able to send you unsolicited junk mail either.
-
[ Parent ]
Although (none / 0) (#57)
by minamikuni on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 05:53:27 AM EST

I've seen opt-out boxes like the following:

- Check here if you do not want to receive mailings from us that may be of interest to you.
- Check this box if you would prefer us not to pass your details on to our partner companies.
- Check this box if you do not object to us sharing your details with selected third party companies.
However clear the law may be, companies can always find ways to push the boundaries of it.

[ Parent ]

UK's Telephone Preference Service (4.66 / 3) (#28)
by Cloaked User on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 07:56:31 PM EST

The UK has has had a legally-binding "do not call" list since May 1st 1999. More details can be found at the TPS website. There are similar lists for fax and postal mail, although I don't think the postal one is legally-binding.

I've not actually bothered to register - in the just over two years that I've owned a house, I've had perhaps 4 marketing calls. Before that, I never got any, despite often being named on utility bills, and registered to vote.
--
"What the fuck do you mean 'Are you inspired to come to work'? Of course I'm not 'inspired'. It's a job for God's sake! The money's enough and the work's not so crap that I leave."

I've just signed up (none / 0) (#63)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 06:32:01 AM EST

I started getting regular calls every Saturday at around 5pm from various random telesales droids. Its astonishing how badly targetted they are. The classic is "You and Mrs Kinahan have won a holiday !", "There is no Mrs Kinahan", *click*. How to win friends and influence people, courtesy of some bunch of prats who can't filter their data properly.

The other great one is when someone you just bought something from tries to sell it to you again.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Anyone who wants to help the "industry" (4.85 / 7) (#37)
by acceleriter on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 08:50:50 PM EST

. . . is free to create a special "I want to receive telemarketing calls list" (or "Do Call list," if you will) and place his or her own number the top of it.

If there were a lobbying group surrounding people who did unsolicited windshield washings in big cities, would we be bemoaning their potential economic losses, too?

Any profit the telemarketing sector has made calling me and millions of others to hawk products and services which are often only one step up from those sold in spam emails constitutes ill-gotten gains, and they're lucky the government isn't confiscating their assets.

hello (1.57 / 7) (#40)
by fae on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 09:45:32 PM EST

you are a slave to your telephone, apparently.

-- fae: but an atom in the great mass of humanity
Doesn't work anyway (4.66 / 3) (#43)
by pattern on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 11:39:15 PM EST

I've already started getting calls from Canada.  I'm betting their getting bargain international rates so they can harrass us in the states.

So now we have telemarketers who lost their jobs, and no appreciable decrease in the number of calls.  Who coulda thunk?

Location won't matter. (5.00 / 2) (#119)
by Sanction on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 08:22:50 PM EST

If it is a US company hiring the telemarketer, it doesn't matter if the call comes from Canada or Antarctica, it is illegal.  There are enough treaties in place this won't be a problem.

I can either stay in and be annoying or go out and be stupid. The choice is yours.
[ Parent ]
What about automated/prerecorded calls? (none / 0) (#44)
by JChen on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 11:48:32 PM EST

Are those totally illegal or what? Do you have a solution for them? I get about three per day; caller ID does shit.

Let us do as we say.
Illegal before (none / 0) (#70)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 07:24:01 AM EST

I think those were illegal before. Unfortunately their senders can be very hard to track down. You might as well put your number on the list and see if they stop. At one point I was getting a Disney vacation call every couple days.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Not illegal. (none / 0) (#83)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 09:34:01 AM EST

At least, not as far as I know.

I've started letting my answering machine screen all calls...


--
His men will follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiousity.


[ Parent ]
Illegal in the US (none / 0) (#111)
by rigorist on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 07:29:58 PM EST

47 USC 227. $500.00 to the recipient for each violation. Fritz Hollings says you should sue, so go forth and litigate those scammers!

[ Parent ]
Is it illegal? (none / 0) (#136)
by guinsu on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 05:13:46 PM EST

Actually, I called Verizon about one of these calls to complain. They said it wasn't illegal to use a prerecorded message in Delaware. I'll be really pissed if they lied ot me.

[ Parent ]
USC = United States Code (none / 0) (#156)
by X3nocide on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 01:15:29 AM EST

Of course, I am no lawyer; I just know how to read laws and use the full faculty of my mind (I'll let you decide the finer aspects of the distinction).

Title 47 deals with TELEGRAPHS, TELEPHONES, AND RADIOTELEGRAPHS.

Section 227 deals with "Restrictions on use of telephone equipment."

It basically says that the use of automated dialers  to call emergency phone numbers, hotel rooms, or pay per call type numbers is illegal, and using prerecorded or synthetic voices is illegal. Unless otherwise proscribed by a Commission (presumably the Federal Communication Commission) under strict, aribitrary and confusing guidelines.

It also gives a remedy of at least 500 dollars or the amount of money the call has cost, whichever greater, so long as it is allowed by the state rules and law. Now for some fancy law research.

After a cursory reading of the laws, it does not appear to be impossible to sue the caller of an automated call. However, I'd imagine it would be difficult to obtain the nessecary information to bring a case forward. I'm not experienced in these things (as per the disclaimer above), but getting ahold of documents that would solidify your case may be difficult to get ahold of, and likely the damages aren't enough to recover your time and effort.

pwnguin.net
[ Parent ]

Let them call (4.71 / 7) (#47)
by godix on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 12:43:56 AM EST

Regardless of whoever calls, I don't answer. If it's mildly important they'll leave a message. If it's majorly important they'll call right back, everyone who needs to get ahold of me knows I'll answer the second time if I'm around. My friends find it astounding I can ignore a phone ringing two feet from me. I find it astounding they can't.

I don't care one way or the other on the national do not call list. Telemarketers ignore state lists now, they'll still ignore the national list later. Since many don't identify themselves like they should it's highly unlikely they'll get caught at it. If Congress was doing more than just pandering for votes they'd make it so that telemarketers can not block caller id, fines for violating a do not call list start at 10K and raise by 10K each additional violation, and supervisors or higher of companies that routinely violate the do not call list become criminally prosecuted for harassment. That would make the national 'do not call list' work, anything short of it is just a joke.

Incidently, this arguement was decided long ago. The do not call list is just an updated version of the old 'no solicitations' sign for door to door salesmen. Both are situations where some asshole thinks he deserves a living for annoying you, the only difference is how exactly the asshole annoys you. I imagine sometime in the future there will be an email version of the same idea as well.


"I think you're right"
- Rusty speaking about godix
Hey, it's my damned

how much in revenue? (1.50 / 2) (#52)
by dimaq on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 04:04:09 AM EST

are the usians fubar or something? who in their right mind would ever buy anything shoved up their ass over the phone (or otherwise for that matter)

*stops bitching*

And no one ever responds to the Nigerian SPAM... (5.00 / 1) (#82)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 09:33:02 AM EST

Right?

Like spammers, telemarketers don't need a very high hit rate to make it worth their while.


--
His men will follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiousity.


[ Parent ]
You need to read what I wrote about direct mail (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by MichaelCrawford on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 05:07:03 AM EST

The following two comments on direct mail give some of the basic information that I plan to explore in depth in an upcoming article about marketing:

Much of what I said about direct mail applies to telemarketing. If you purchase a product from a telemarketer, it is likely the bulk of the purchase price went to pay for the telemarketing - consider all the long distance charges to call all the people who didn't make a purchase.

Also, telemarketing is as carefully researched as direct mail - the lists of telephone numbers, the wording of the offer, the price of the product. Even the time to call: how better to be sure to reach a prospect than to call during dinnertime?

Whatever you do, never, ever purchase anything from a telemarketer. Don't even tell them you want a followup call. To be identified as a "purchaser" will be your worst nightmare. Your phone will never stop ringing.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


"Scientifically Targeted" (5.00 / 2) (#92)
by hatshepsut on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 02:24:46 PM EST

Only if you consider the phone book (or a ouija board) to be scientific.

Why then do I get calls for:

  • duct cleaning (we have hot water radiators)
  • credit cards (from my own credit card company)
  • investment advice (from my own investment advisor's company)
  • "free trips" if we attend a day-long seminar on a new condo project (we have a house)
  • hoards of other crap I wouldn't touch with a 400' pole

These people have done no research. They are using autodialers, and probably doing sequential-digit calling. If I ask to be removed from their calling list, I am removed from the specific calling list they were using at the time (i.e. the AMEX list), the same company will be calling me back tomorrow, for something else, believe me.

I worked from home yesterday, and got 6 telemarketing calls. SIX. YESTERDAY. I don't buy from these guys, no one in my house buys from these guys. Thank goodness for call display. If I can't see your number, I probably don't want to talk to you. It is spam, pure and simple. I can block spam, I wish I could block telemarketers.

[ Parent ]

re: credit cards (none / 0) (#115)
by curunir on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 07:37:33 PM EST

The calls from your credit card company may not be entirely un-researched.

While I have never gotten a credit card from a mailing or phone call (out of principle), I do have multiple credit cards from the same company. There is one company from who I've always recieved the best service. Because of this, I have 3 credit cards with them. I find that kind of separation to be very useful...I get separate statements and I have their online interface setup to pay the different cards from different bank accounts. The cards have varying credit limits so I use the one with a very low limit to do most of my online shopping (especially from unfamiliar merchants). The one with a high credit limit is only for big-ticket items and balance transfers. They even delay interest when I transfer from one card to the other, but not if I transfer it back again. Plus it's nice to minimize the number of online banking services I have to setup.

[ Parent ]
You could only wish (none / 0) (#112)
by rigorist on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 07:33:56 PM EST

Phone spammers do NOT check demographics the way direct mailers do. I know. I have taken their fucking depositions under oath. Not a single one testified that they ordered phone calls and junk faxes to only select targets. The best "targetting" they get is an area code. Maybe they _should_ target better, but the FACT is they DON'T. If you think so, you are living an fantasy-land.

[ Parent ]
Re: harassment and economic price (4.16 / 6) (#64)
by Kasreyn on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 06:41:27 AM EST

As to whether telemarketing is harassment, consider this: If a person you didn't like, trying to sell a product you didn't care for, burst in the door to your home with an axe and forced his way in and screamed his sales pitch loud enough that you could hear it with your fingers in your ears, would that be harassment?

Now, minus the property damage to your door, what is the difference with telemarketing? Honestly, I see none. It is a person invading the privacy of your home to attempt to coerce you into giving them money.

Anti-telemarketing laws do not try to change the market. All they do is enforce a principle that a person has a right to privacy within their own home. The definition of what a "home" is varies, but the general idea is sound and fully compatible with a free marketplace.

As to the economic price: for me, there is none. I have never and will never buy a product which is telemarketed. Therefore the telemarketers will actually SAVE MONEY by not calling me, because they would never get a sale from me anyway. They will save time and effort. Everyone wins, both the telemarketer and I.

The reason the telemarketing industry opposes this is because they make the vast majority of sales through harassment, coercion, and deceit. If telemarketing really was just an innocent method of product promotion, telemarketers would have no problem with people opting out in this manner, because they would only be losing non-sales. The fact that they are fighting for the "right" to force their sales pitches on the unwilling is, IMO, all the evidence needed to show that they are in the wrong.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Massive, completely overlooked point (4.80 / 5) (#71)
by SanSeveroPrince on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 07:39:33 AM EST

There is a tiny itsy bitsy bit of information that everyone seems to ignore in these discussions.

A phone number is going to be added to this list only if the owner so wishes. If the owner so wishes, they were not likely to buy anything anyway, were they?

I am instantly suspicious of people who really believe that you can convince a phone line owner to buy something from you after you have interrupted him at dinner time, on the one night he managed to convince his wife to slip under the table and eat sausage.
Regardless of how skilled a telemarketeer you think you are, you never CREATE a sale. You can only tip the scales.

In view of that fact, the telemarketing industry should be welcoming this list, shouldn't they? It will provide them with a list of people who don't want to be bothered, it will let them have a negative list of numbers to call! If your name is not on the list, you are either too deaf to have heard of the no call list, or you actually welcome telemarketing calls.
You'll save money by immediately cutting out a chunk of the market that would not have dealt with you anyway, and focusing on the people who want to talk to you.

I pity those fools who are not on the list.

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


Telemarketers, or companies which use telemarketin (none / 0) (#102)
by dipierro on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 06:11:16 PM EST

A phone number is going to be added to this list only if the owner so wishes. If the owner so wishes, they were not likely to buy anything anyway, were they?

Maybe. I know people who have given in to telemarketers on occasion, but still are on the do-not-call list. Actually the fact that they are so easily persuaded by telemarketers is probably part of the reason they decided to sign up for the do-not-call list. Although this might not solve the problem, because most of the hard-to-give-in-to callers are the non-profits who are still allowed to call.

I am instantly suspicious of people who really believe that you can convince a phone line owner to buy something from you after you have interrupted him at dinner time, on the one night he managed to convince his wife to slip under the table and eat sausage.

You know what though, it really does happen. Maybe not specifically what you said, but not every telemarketing call catches someone at dinner time.

In view of that fact, the telemarketing industry should be welcoming this list, shouldn't they?

The companies which use telemarketing should, but the telemarketers themselves, the ones who make the calls for other companies, they make money off volume more than off actual sales. The companies which use telemarketing will probably see more bang for their buck (after all, even though some potential customers will be lost, the percentage of customers to calls will surely go up).



[ Parent ]
Insightful (2.50 / 2) (#76)
by megid on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 08:34:11 AM EST

(1) I didnt know that when USians *receive* mobile calls, they have to pay. What shitty practice is that?

(2) Dont you have, I dunno, a right to privacy? My privacy would be violated if idiots called me every week or day.

(3) Good suggestion to ask for their ID or employer to shut them up.

--
"think first, write second, speak third."

You get minutes per month. (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 09:30:45 AM EST

and you use your minutes whether receiving or sending calls.

--
His men will follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiousity.


[ Parent ]
'right to privacy' (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by Speare on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 09:41:51 AM EST

Your privacy is violated when somebody records or publishes their discoveries about your status or activities despite your reasonable expectation of this not happening. Your quiet dinner may be violated by telemarketers, but not your privacy.
[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]
[ Parent ]
Intrusion upon seclusion (none / 0) (#114)
by rigorist on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 07:36:59 PM EST

The right to privacy includes the right to be left alone. See, e.g., Lake v. Walmart. The seminal articla on right to privacy by Brandeis, et al identifies intrusion upon seclusion as a violation of the right to privacy.

[ Parent ]
Very good (none / 0) (#97)
by cameldrv on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 05:28:41 PM EST

Actually, this is a very good practice for the U.S. It means that people can eliminate land-lines without pissing off everyone that calls them. It also means that you have more of an incentive to find a good rate on a mobile. If you're paying for the incoming minutes, you're much more likely to find a cheap plan. If someone else is paying for the minutes, the cost doesn't really affect you, and thus mobile companies can charge the caller a lot for incoming calls, who has no choice of carrier.

[ Parent ]
It's unfair (none / 0) (#106)
by gidds on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 06:40:53 PM EST

It's a little different here in the UK. For one thing, there are no nasty surprises: mobile numbers have a different prefix (starting 07) from land line numbers (starting 01 or 02), so you can easily tell from a phone number whether a given phone number is for a mobile or not. (We also distinguish free/local-rate/non-geographic numbers (08) and premium-rate (09) numbers too.) Someone makes the choice to call you, they know what they're getting into, so it's their choice.

It's basically about fairness. Whether mobile or not, you control the calls you make; you can't control who calls you (though, depending on whether they disable caller ID or not, you can sometimes control whose calls you accept). So it's simply unfair to expect you to pay for calls you have no control over. Junk calls are merely the sharp end of this principle.

(And I don't see why the price of incoming calls should be any more incentive than the cost of outgoing calls (or included minutes or other fixed costs) in choosing a suitable tariff, if you pay for both...)

Andy/
[ Parent ]

Right to privacy? (none / 0) (#101)
by dipierro on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 05:53:27 PM EST

Dont you have, I dunno, a right to privacy?

For the most part you don't have a right to privacy. The supreme court has found that there is a right to make certain decisions about our private lives and bodies without interference from the government, and that is commonly called the "right to privacy," but that doesn't apply to telemarketing at all. If you don't want to be interrupted in your home, don't turn on the ringer on your phone. You most certainly don't have a right to a phone.

This is of course complicated by the fact that the telephone system is a highly regulated industry, though.



[ Parent ]
Wrong, but thanks for playing (none / 0) (#116)
by rigorist on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 07:39:27 PM EST

Check out one of the many cases interpreting the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 USC 227. See, e.g., Missouri ex rel Nixon v. American Blast Fax, et al. You do have a right to be left alone. YOu do have the right to not have your telephone line (or antenna) taken over by a telemarketer. You have the right to SUE the fuckers who violate that right.

[ Parent ]
Read what I wrote again (none / 0) (#123)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 11:55:08 AM EST

I never said you don't have a right to not have you telephone line taken over by a telemarketer. I merely said that that right was not a result of any "right to privacy."

[ Parent ]
A crucial point is being neglected here. (2.00 / 3) (#78)
by la princesa on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 09:06:01 AM EST

People can be persuaded to make decisions they originally were set against.  They sometimes do this within the space of a phone call.  In fact, enough people are persuaded in this fashion that telemarketers and other tele-blahs can continue to employ people.  Would you like to pay direct mail costs for assorted businesses?  Would you like higher prices for common household items?  Would you like people to starve for the sake of your hypocritical superiority complexes?  

I for one did not realise that the telemarketing industry specifically and the teleservices industry less so employed so many on-edge people.  Would you like to supply jobs for those people trying to make an honest living instead of being on welfare (where users of this site would excoriate them for leeching off honest people)?  Would you like to employ these single mothers in a job with hours as flexible and pay as high?  Do you have jobs for them?  Not everyone can score that sweet sysadmin gig, you know?  Telemarketing and to a lesser extent other teleservices are one of the few areas where fringe people-- the ones k5ers look down their noses at-- have even half a chance of climbing up out of poverty and earning a real salary.  People are so fucking arrogant and hateful when it costs nothing to be polite and civil.  If people politely asked those supposedly evil telemarketers to place them on don't call lists, one strongly suspects telemarketers would never have had to become so aggressive.  

I don't even like telemarketers, but one must acknowledge that 270 billion bucks worth of sales had to come from somewhere, and if telemarketing were so abysmally useless, it wouldn't constitute more sales than online goods, now would it?  People can be persuaded pretty easily when it comes down to it, and perhaps that is what drives the insistence on disallowing others to make a modest living.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?

Telemarketing is bad, mmkay? (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 09:27:10 AM EST

Would you like people to starve for the sake of your hypocritical superiority complexes?

If we agree that the telemarketing industry is harmful, it's irrelevant that they employ a lot of people. Confidence scams can make you a lot of money, but somehow we overcame our pity for con-men when we made those illegal. I guess this is where we disagree.

I don't even like telemarketers, but one must acknowledge that 270 billion bucks worth of sales had to come from somewhere, and if telemarketing were so abysmally useless, it wouldn't constitute more sales than online goods, now would it?

That 270 billion isn't going to vanish. My completely unsubstantiated guess is that the vast majority of that figure is composed of big ticket items that will be bought through other channels. Things like condos, vacations, etc. Mortgages probably make up a huge chunk of that figure - do you know anyone who wasn't considering refinancing their home, but got talked into it by a telemarketer? Online sales, another channel with extremely low overhead, will also pick up some of the slack.

Telemarketing and to a lesser extent other teleservices are one of the few areas where fringe people-- the ones k5ers look down their noses at-- have even half a chance of climbing up out of poverty and earning a real salary.

Now that's just wrong. Everything I have read about telemarketing and call center work is that there is high turnover, relatively low pay, and zero opportunity for advancement. $9.67 an hour is not what I'd consider high pay.

People are so fucking arrogant and hateful when it costs nothing to be polite and civil.  If people politely asked those supposedly evil telemarketers to place them on don't call lists, one strongly suspects telemarketers would never have had to become so aggressive.

They call outside of normal hours, they don't honor requests to remove your number, and they won't tell you their name or their company. Perhaps we got to this point because we have been rude to telemarketers, but the fact is they break the law.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Actually (none / 0) (#91)
by NoBeardPete on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 01:40:37 PM EST

That 270 billion isn't going to vanish. My completely unsubstantiated guess is that the vast majority of that figure is composed of big ticket items that will be bought through other channels. Things like condos, vacations, etc.

Actually, I think that a large fraction of that figure represents sales in which the customer calls the telemarketer. Telemarketers run outgoing call centers (which many people hate), but also incoming call centers (which are fairly benign). The industry lumps both together as "telemarketing". It gets a lot of milage out of using these inflated figures for employees and sales, and making it seem like they all come from telemarketers that cold call people who are eating dinner.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

I checked (none / 0) (#93)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 02:41:15 PM EST

I was surprised too, but that $270 billion figure only includes 'outbound' telemarketing according to this.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Re: 9.67$ an hour. (none / 0) (#105)
by la princesa on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 06:34:03 PM EST

When you consider that most of these people generally can only get 5-7$ an hour in the other kinds of jobs available to that category of people, and that the average income for families in the US is not even 30K (and this assumes two earners, mind), then even ten bucks an hour is a pretty sweet wage.  It puts one earner at nearly the national average for two earners.  I've seen and heard of people engaging in sabotage and harrassment in order to keep or get a job paying about that wage.  Most average people consider that wage a good job, worth holding onto.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
Direct mail should be opt-outable too (none / 0) (#100)
by dipierro on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 05:44:07 PM EST

Would you like higher prices for common household items?

Actually this will most likely cause lower prices for common household items. Advertising is an arms race, especially for common household items. Maybe it'll get people to switch brands, but if it's a common household item, the lack of advertising isn't going to get them to stop buying the item completely. After all, it's a common household item.

The only forms of advertising which are at all useful to a society are voluntary advertising or sponsorships. Even sponsorships are far overused today. A simple "this program was brought to you by XYZ Products" would be enough. The small text ads on the front page of K5 are a good example. Some people are more willing to buy products from companies which support their special interests, so many companies are willing to spend a bit on goodwill. But there's a prisoner's dilemma effect with advertising. Your competitors advertise, so you have to advertise more, then your competitors advertise more, then you advertise even more. Everyone would be better off, from the customers to the people watching the ads who aren't interested to the companies themselves, if neither of you bothered to advertise at all. But collusion is not allowed in most capitalistic markets, so instead we watch the ads growing higher and higher until their borderline fraudulent effects are maxxed out. If people truly were rational beings I guess we wouldn't see advertising at all. But we aren't.



[ Parent ]
Advertising is necessary... (none / 0) (#129)
by poopi on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 02:25:27 PM EST

...to make the market aware of your product/service. If you create a new product, how will anyone know that it exists and where to buy it? Even if you are yet another baker on a street lined with bakeries how will anyone know that you are open for business. If the market is already buying one type of widget and you find a way to make it better, how does anyone know? You can't run away from advertising/promotion - it is necessary. Where the problems atart are with "branding and brand loyalty". When companies stop promoting and start brainwashing then things have gone too far. Advertising has ceased to be about promotion (the larger advertisers that is) and has become about conditioning. This is what people are afraid of and this is why there is a growing backlash against advertising. My 2c.

-----

"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - Parent ]

No it isn't... (none / 0) (#133)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 03:50:26 PM EST

I am aware of many products which are not advertised.

If you create a new product, how will anyone know that it exists and where to buy it?

The comment I was responding to was talking about common household products, not new products.

Even if you are yet another baker on a street lined with bakeries how will anyone know that you are open for business.

Most stores I've seen have an open for business sign on the front of them. Anyway, I don't have a problem with all advertising. It's the forced kind that I have a problem with. There are plenty of ways to tell people about your products without forcing your advertisements upon them. There are infomercials. There's the phone book. There's word of mouth. There's the newspaper (and I'm not talking about newspaper ads, I found out about the new supermarket opening up down the street from where I live through a newspaper article).

These methods might not work so well now, but that's because they are drown out by the forced advertising that has become so prevalent. If you have a truly great product it will sell itself.



[ Parent ]
Um, truly great products DO NOT SELL THEMSELVES. (none / 0) (#137)
by la princesa on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 06:44:08 PM EST

For christ's sake, were that the case, people would just look up, and smile, and run out and buy TRULY GREAT PRODUCTS EXCLUSIVELY because somehow magically, the product's greatness would have floated out into the world all on its own without anyone even knowing when or where it came to be available.  Most things in life cannot be divided into TRULY GREAT and crap, and this idea that quality means a product will automagically sell itself is one of many that leads the overwhelming majority of new businesses to fail.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
Yes they do (none / 0) (#138)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 06:58:34 PM EST

The overwhelming majority of new businesses have average or poor products, not truly great ones.

[ Parent ]
However, the ones that do have great products (none / 0) (#139)
by la princesa on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 07:19:50 PM EST

also still fail 90% of the time.  That would be the point.  Much like k5, quality is not a factor in success, or at least not remotely so large a factor as people shrilly proclaim it to be.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
Perhaps so (none / 0) (#140)
by dipierro on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 07:43:10 PM EST

but that's only because someone else come out with the same product and outcompeted them, many times by outadvertising them. That's another reason advertising is bad: it hurts innovators.

[ Parent ]
Um, advertising is essential human behavior. (none / 0) (#145)
by la princesa on Fri Jul 18, 2003 at 12:25:47 AM EST

If some guy sits in the woods and devises the best method evar for cutting trees, the method is more likely to be used if he maybe tells people about it.  Sure, while walking through the woods folks might stumble on the guy hacking away efficiently and ask about his method, but it's pretty unlikely.  In the same sense, advertising of some direct sort is essential for any product, whether it's frivolous or non-frivolous.  It's pretty dumb to complain about poor widdle innovators who can't be bothered to spread the word about their magnificent something or other.  If they're penalised in the market despite having the better product, they deserve it because all they had to do was tell more people about their great product.  People dont' get these sudden psychic twinges whenever a new product or service is developed.  They learn of such things through advertising.  It's been that way since the caveman days, and won't change unless individual humans suddenly become able to provide themselves with anything in the universe they desire instantly.  And probably the person/s who come up with that will ADVERTISE it.  Just a guess, there.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
So? (none / 0) (#147)
by dipierro on Fri Jul 18, 2003 at 04:32:37 AM EST

Sure, while walking through the woods folks might stumble on the guy hacking away efficiently and ask about his method, but it's pretty unlikely.

This is the 21st century. There's the internet, there are newspapers, there's the yellow pages. We don't all live in the woods.

It's pretty dumb to complain about poor widdle innovators who can't be bothered to spread the word about their magnificent something or other.

Agreed. That wasn't my main point, it was just something that happened to be brought up anyway. Forced advertising is stupid because it annoys people and causes products to cost more.

People dont' get these sudden psychic twinges whenever a new product or service is developed. They learn of such things through advertising.

As I've said already, there are many products, probably even most products I buy, that I did not learn about through advertising.



[ Parent ]
$270 Billion? (none / 0) (#153)
by Lagged2Death on Mon Jul 21, 2003 at 10:02:58 AM EST

If people politely asked those supposedly evil telemarketers to place them on don't call lists, one strongly suspects telemarketers would never have had to become so aggressive.

I have actually had to argue with some telemarketers about removing my (office!) phone number from their call lists. They'd say things like "What happens when someone else gets this phone number? We have a right to solicit them."

For a while, my answering machine message included "If you're a telemarketer, please put me on your don't-call list, and don't call me back." I actually got a couple of obscene messages from angry telemarketers.

So in my experience, being polite and expecting them to follow the rules does not work.

...but one must acknowledge that 270 billion bucks worth of sales had to come from somewhere, and if telemarketing were so abysmally useless, it wouldn't constitute more sales than online goods, now would it?

But don't these numbers come from the telemarketing industry itself? I don't trust them to tell me the truth about such things. $270 billion is close to $1000 for every man, woman, and child in the US - did you buy $1000 worth of goods and services from telemarketers last year? Do you know anyone who has? Where are all these happy customers?



Starfish automatically creates colorful abstract art for your PC desktop!
[ Parent ]
NO Means NO (none / 0) (#155)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Jul 21, 2003 at 04:30:40 PM EST

"People can be persuaded to make decisions they originally were set against.  They sometimes do this within the space of a phone call."

Yes and this can also be achieved by locking them in a room for an hour, asking the same question over and over again and not letting them out until they are "persuaded" to give you the answer that you want. That's called DURESS and it's not allowed either. What telemarketers want the right to practice is an only slightly less draconion version of the same thing.

People who have put thier names into a national do not call list have specified that they do not under any circumstances want to do business with telemarketers. If a telemarketer calls that person despite that fact, it's not legitimate advertising...it's harrasment and duress.

How many times must a person say NO before thier answer can be accepted as "Official"?

It's just like with women and physical advances... "NO" MEANS NO. No person should have to answer a question 20 times just to get thier point across.

The whole reason there is a National Do Not Call List is because the telemarketing industry as a whole has rabidly abused REASONABLE business and advertising practices and has wandered into the realm of harrasment and duress. If it had been able to police itself and honored voluntary do not call lists and showed some respect for wishes of private individuals none of this would be neccesary. They have only themselves to blame for this legislation.

There is nothing about this legislation which prevents telemarketers from contacting people... it only prevents them from contacting people who have specificly requested not to be harrased by them.

Really, telemarketers should be thankfull for this service....what is lost in sales to the few people who would have been "persuaded" to change thier mind should be more then made up for in saved resources to the many people who absolutely, positively would never do bussiness with them.

In legitimate sales, qualified leads are a good thing. Making sure some-one is not on a do not call list before calling them certainly is a better qualified lead then knowing nothing at all.

[ Parent ]

Target market (4.87 / 8) (#79)
by Znork on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 09:21:18 AM EST

The whole complaint about do-not-call lists is based on a flawed precept. The people who sign up for a do-not-call list are most often not "potential customers".

I'm on the do-not-call list in my country, and frankly I havent, _ever_, bought anything from a telemarketer. I've wasted their time, led them on, verbally abused them, hung up on them, and after getting calls (very few calls from really stupid marketers) despite the do-not-call listing, I've threatened them with filing charges. But I've never ever been a potential customer.

Do not call lists only bring value to the remaining numbers. The do not call lists represent people who'd rather cut out your tongue or tear out your vocal cords than buy anything. Not calling these numbers means less time wasted on sales pitches to people who arent likely to buy anything anyway, which means higher productivity within the telemarketing sector.

A win for everyone involved.

Losing the telemarketing (4.50 / 2) (#85)
by duxup on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 09:39:39 AM EST

The impact of the loss of telemarketing is kind of a ridiculous reason to justify harassing people.  Not just that, but Americans are idiots, just because people aren't taking our money over the phone, doesn't mean we won't go out and spend it elsewhere.

I will miss those phone calls (4.50 / 2) (#89)
by bankind on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 12:27:09 PM EST

Nothing makes my day like some dumb ass calling me to sell me some crap. Before the pitch I always say, "Yes I'll buy it! I'm highly susceptible to solicitation."

Then I like to start with a question like,

"Is this a Christian company?"

My max time so far is 1hr 15 min. I usually get calls in the morning while I read the paper. Sometimes I like to ask the solicitor what they think about the headlines.

"Does your company support the war in Iraq."

If the moron can't tell me about the company then I ask about them personally. Most my calls end up me demanding for the supervisor, I know it's a really good call when I can get to the supervisors' supervisor. When I'm feeling very evil I like to tell the poor idiot on the phone that they are going to hell and of course to insult them for their low station in life.

If more people did this, I'm sure we wouldn't have any problems what so ever with phone solicitations.


"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman

You're a loser (1.00 / 8) (#104)
by Kax on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 06:30:01 PM EST

.

[ Parent ]
Zero? One? (1.00 / 3) (#122)
by Kax on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 09:49:26 PM EST

The fucking guy gets off on making people feel bad.  I should be getting 5s.

[ Parent ]
You should be nicer. I'm just doing my job. (none / 0) (#128)
by bankind on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 02:20:18 PM EST

God told me to do this.


"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Even if I was religous, (none / 0) (#141)
by Kax on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 07:47:55 PM EST

which I'm not, you're still a loser. But you can change, as soon as you stop feeling angry about being a dork.

[ Parent ]
how big a boy are ya? (none / 0) (#142)
by bankind on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 09:28:31 PM EST

I know some Bougainville pirates looking for a new pegboy.


"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Non-sequitor duly noted, but (none / 0) (#143)
by Kax on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 11:13:11 PM EST

you're still a loser.

[ Parent ]
cao ni ma (none / 0) (#146)
by bankind on Fri Jul 18, 2003 at 01:47:17 AM EST

Anh tay em la "toi khong la lon ca." Sai, phai khong?

Anh khong tin tavi toi nghi em xau lam--lulu. Em phai biet anh la 'hung ong uc giet' va 'hung ong tau giet.'

Moi ngay anh boom boom me em. XAU RIO. co beo chim; ji rat buoi!! nhung anh ruo ma!!

nguoi may cho chet

rat de....khong di ve, di gia lam de phai.


"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Alrighty there, Chief. (none / 0) (#149)
by Kax on Fri Jul 18, 2003 at 09:29:55 AM EST

:)

[ Parent ]
common misconception (3.00 / 4) (#108)
by DavisImp on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 07:13:25 PM EST

When you insult a phone solicitor, all you've done is make someone's day a little more shitty (congratulations). This has absolutely no effect whatsoever on the people who own the company - they don't give a shit whether or not their employees have good or bad days - and the employee turnover is high enough that the companies don't really have to care.

[ Parent ]
your completely wrong (4.75 / 4) (#118)
by MuteWinter on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 08:09:38 PM EST

What he's done is prevented that telemarketer from calling someone else, and thus prevented the owner from making money on additional sales. When does the solicitor have any rights? He's the one making the obnoxious calls, and is just as responsible as the owner as he/she too is also making money. I'm they piss off their fair share of people every single day they work.

[ Parent ]
And when they call me at 8:30 am (5.00 / 1) (#127)
by bankind on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 02:18:12 PM EST

like they did today they fucked my day up. And I do impact the company. I take up more of their time lowering the amount of calls they make each day, plus by making the job more stressful the workers will demand more pay or leave. Worker turnover does add to costs.

anyway, those motherless fucks who work in telemarketing deserve every bit of hostile treatment I give 'em. To attack the system you must attack the individuals. Maybe, I'll get real lucky and the person who's day I fuck up goes home and puts a plastic bag over their head. Then the family sues the company for compensation. This happens enough and the insurance premiums will get high enough to make the work un-profitable.

BTW, the call today was 30 minutes of me saying random numbers and occasionally saying "yes" or "no." I didn't even have the receiver near my head.

You should thank me. I'm your savior.


"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Difference between telemarketers and phone workers (5.00 / 1) (#144)
by Gord ca on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 11:39:01 PM EST

The people who are working the phones are definately not the people in charge. Do you think they'd be working the phones if they could find a better job?

I'ven't talked to many telemarketers, but I don't imagine they get paid well, or that they enjoy harrassing & being harrassed all day. When you despirately need the little money they give you, you end up suspending your scruples about what you have to do. The guy who really deserves to get his day ruined is well above that caller's supervisor, and you'll never talk to them.

(Side rant: Whenever unemployment statistics are given, they never specify how many of the employed are underpaid exploited who work hard all day and still can't quite make ends meet... The numbers make it sound like having any job is all you need.)

May what we need is an ex-telemarketer employment service. Imagine:

Hello?

Hello Mr X, I'm calling to offer...

Hey, I know you probably think your job is crappy. Let me get you a number for a place where you're guaranteed a job that pays better and is less stressful...

If I'm attacking your idea, it's probably because I like it
[ Parent ]

The problem with the analogy... (none / 0) (#96)
by dipierro on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 05:25:43 PM EST

But unless the government gives us the opportunity to opt out of all of life's annoyances, why single out telemarketing? "I don't like to be bothered at the airport by people with unusual religious persuasions," Copilevitz says.

We single out telemarketing because it is easy to set up a do-not-list. It is very easy for telemarketers to obtain a list of telephone numbers and clean out their database against that list. It is not easy for a person with unusual religious persuasions to obtain a bunch of people's pictures and refrain from pushing their religion on those on the list.

Another difference is that telemarketers send their harassment into your home. If you're in an airport, then it should be up to whoever owns the airport whether or not the religious fanatics can bother others.

"But there's some price that you pay for all kinds of freedom."

Now that's an interesting question. Is the freedom to harass others a freedom we should have? Personally I'd tend to say that yes, our freedom of speech includes the freedom to harass others verbally. After all, that's what protests and strikes are, right? But the courts have decided otherwise.

But when you make a phone call it goes beyond mere harassment, into a sort of trespassing. Now trespassing laws are generally only enforcible for actual damages unless you have a "no trespassing" sign. And many states have passed laws about what constitutes a "no trespassing" sign. For instance, in many states painting a line of a certain color on trees spaced a certain distance apart constitutes a "no trespassing" sign. All the federal government is doing is passing a law that putting your name on a certain list constitutes a "no trespassing" sign of sorts.

Email is more complicated since much of it is automated and the final destination is usually receiver-initiated. But once you determine who owns the email account on the server, the ISP or the end-user, all you need to do is set up a similar "no trespassing" sign. A do-not-email list would be a much better solution than any of the suggestions I've seen.



Agreed (none / 0) (#107)
by frankwork on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 07:01:19 PM EST

The "do not call" list is really like putting up a "No Soliciting" sign on your front door, rather than telling each individual door-to-door sales person not to come back.

[ Parent ]
Jobs will be lost? (none / 0) (#99)
by Estragon on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 05:40:53 PM EST

God I hope so.

Unspoken assumption (5.00 / 2) (#109)
by gidds on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 07:16:57 PM EST

All this talk of what's good for the economy makes one unspoken assumption, one that seems worrying like an axiom for many USians: namely, that anything that's good for the economy must be a Good Thing(tm). In other words, if it makes money, it's good. Making money trumps all other considerations. People and corporations should be allowed to turn a profit any way they wish, regardless of the effects upon anyone else.

Of course, once you spell it out, you can see the flaws. It's the same argument that leads to sawdust and arsenic in food, unlabelled; to untreated chemical waste being pumped into rivers; to frauds and scams conning millions; to copyright and other IP protection being extended past all reasonable bounds; to monopolies and the most ludicrously unfair trade practices; to employees having no rights and being forced to work for nearly all of their waking lives; and so on.

Even the mighty nation that worships capitalism as some sort of deity still recognises that some restrictions and safeguards are needed. Once the assumption is revealed, we can think about it logically and see just where it applies and where it fails.

(Which is a whole other argument, of course, but not one I want to address myself. In fact, I happen to be in favour of a national do-not-call list; it works rather well here in the UK, despite the playing field being tipped slightly more towards the consumer already - but that's not relevant to this point.)

Andy/

Good economy is good for the consumer (none / 0) (#117)
by MuteWinter on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 08:02:22 PM EST

Try a good economy = lower unemployment. I'd have to say thats a good thing.

[ Parent ]
Well, yes, but... (5.00 / 1) (#121)
by gidds on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 09:19:47 PM EST

Of course a good economy is desirable, all other things being equal. But all other things are never equal. And a good economy does not trump all other concerns. Instead, you have to balance the needs of the economy with the needs of people, both collectively and individually.

For example, the government could allow you to set up a company marketing human meat; it could drag people off the streets, slaughter them, and sell their remains as a gourmet foodstuff for high prices. (Okay, it'd have to rewrite a lot of laws, but this is hypothetical...) If it was a big company, it might employ thousands of people, which would reduce unemployment. It would generate masses of income as people try the new meat. It might produce valuable exports, helping the balance of payments &c. And of course, by removing people off the street, it would be reducing unemployment still further. All of which would be great for the economy. But somehow I suspect you wouldn't consider it good for the consumer...

The assumption that something which is good for the economy must be good for everyone is what I was trying to expose.

Andy/
[ Parent ]

Sadly enough... (none / 0) (#110)
by valar on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 07:23:17 PM EST

Sadly enough, I see the day coming when we have to change the phone system to an opt-in kind of system. Calls from all numbers will be blocked, and you'll have to individually allow the phone numbers of people you want to call you. Of course, this necessitates two-way number exchanging... but that's a different story.

Already possible (none / 0) (#120)
by godix on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 08:39:34 PM EST

Ask your phone company about selective call acceptance. It works exactly as you describe, if the person calling isn't on your accepted list the call doesn't go through.


"I think you're right"
- Rusty speaking about godix
Hey, it's my damned
[ Parent ]
Even easier with mobile phone... (none / 0) (#135)
by Toshio on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 04:33:22 PM EST

I have my lifea eased since buying subscription from mobile phone operator. This particular subscription allows me to have incoming calls barred and unbarred whenever I wish. The procedure is as simple as walking through the menu. This way, people can still send me SMS explaining me the reason why they need me, but all the others that don't know me, just hit against the "subscriber unavailable" wall.

Now if I could only get rid of those who are spamming me with SMS messages.


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
Brought it on themselves. (5.00 / 7) (#124)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 12:30:38 PM EST

Industries that break or bend the letter and spirit of the regulations placed on them are by their own actions inviting heavier regulations on themselves. If telemarketing firms had bothered to notice the clue-stick regulations we have been hitting them with over the years and adjusted their behavior so as to make enough people have pleasant experiences with them, then this sort of no-call list would never have gotten the momentum it did. Short history: they annoyed us, we asked nicely, they annoyed more, we made laws saying they had to stop when we asked, as a group they pulled tricks to get around our request and continued to annoy us, and now they get this no-call list for which they have only themselves to blame.

However there are plenty of loopholes to the no-call list, so this attempt to restrain them might very well fail, but when it does we will see that as the fault of the industry looking of loopholes in order to annoy us instead of taking notice of the clue-stick we are hitting them with. Thus they will have asked for more regulation, and I have no doubt they will get it.

All that having been said, I don't get more than a call a month because of one of the few rules the industry seems to respect, not calling cell phones. I recommend this to anyone who wants to be on a no-call list the solicitors actually seem to follow.



Well said. - n/t (1.00 / 1) (#126)
by poopi on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 02:09:41 PM EST


-----

"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - Parent ]

externalities (5.00 / 1) (#134)
by khallow on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 03:54:38 PM EST

My beef is that these telemarketers are permitted to call me without compensating me for the trouble beforehand. Ie, you're wasting my time, where's my payment just for answering the phone? It's the same issue as pollution or other cases where I do something that imposes costs on another party. I should pay for those costs I impose on other people.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

Email harvesting time.Total awareness. (none / 0) (#148)
by hebertrich on Fri Jul 18, 2003 at 09:27:58 AM EST

Why ask for our email addresses ?: This seems like an excellent way to correlate email addresses to phone numbers , and names. There is no real use for an email address in the required feilds. This is a perfect opportunity for the total awareness project to harvest , correlate millions of email addresses to names. After i pushed the button sent.. i realised and just thought " What have i done .. ? "

The one good idea Bill Gates had... (none / 0) (#152)
by riceowlguy on Sat Jul 19, 2003 at 06:37:23 PM EST

...was to redesign the entire telecom infrastructure so that when you answered a call, if you didn't push a button on your phone before you hung up (there would be reminders, etc.), the caller would get charged $PENALTY_CHARGE ($5 seems reasonable to me). Not only would this stop telemarketing, it would also cut down on prank calling and telephone harassment.

Too bad it will never happen.

"Let me give you a piece of advice: never look at another man's porn unless he's looking at it with you." - some dude in this dream I had

How I avoid the mofo's (none / 0) (#154)
by m0rpheus on Mon Jul 21, 2003 at 11:40:38 AM EST

1. I do not answer calls that have caller ID block. Virtually none of my friends have caller ID block and I tell all of them if they do to do the *whatever to remove it for calls to me or they'll get my answering machine.

2. I don't use my home phone line. I use my cell phone to make calls and that's the number I usually give out to people. My phone has no long distance carrier and I pretty pay for it so I ahve a different number to give out to places when getting a membership card, credit card, etc. SO it's pretty much my "SPAM" phone. (I have

3. If you ahve an answering machine one thing you can do is to record the SIT tone (the three tones you hear when you dial a non-existent number) at the beginning of your message (probably a goof thing to let friends and family know that your phone's not disconnected) and many auto-dialers will take this to mean your number is not in service and cross you off the list. If the auto-dialer's just think it's a regular old answering machine they reschedule the call for a later time.

hope this helps some

Mobile phone users pay for each call they receive? (none / 0) (#157)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sat Jul 26, 2003 at 12:51:46 AM EST

Excuse me? Is this the way that things are done in the U.S.? That's crazy!!!!

In .au we pay for calls we make - it's a user pay system!

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה

Flawed Analogies and the Federal Do Not Call List | 157 comments (128 topical, 29 editorial, 1 hidden)
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