Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dear Telemarketers: Stop Calling!

I work from home a few days week.   When I do this the phone rings all day long.  Most of these calls, like 95% of them, are what I would easily call nuisance calls.  These days, a month before the elections, half the calls recorded calls from candidates of the two major parties.  Number two in terms of call volume are also prerecorded and come from companies that want to offer me a credit card with lower interests than they believe I currently have.  The last class of calls is actually with human beings on the other end soliciting donations to any number of charities or trying to sell me window cleaning, chimney sweeping, furnace duct cleaning, and other such services. 
I hang up on the prerecorded calls.  Sometimes, if my wife is not home, I will yell a few obscenities into the phone and then hang up.  I wonder who actually listens to a whole pre-recorded message.  I have done an informal poll of my friends.  No one admitted to ever listening to the entirety of one of these kinds of calls. Most actually just look at the caller ID and simply don’t answer.
With the human beings, they will begin with something like “Is this Mr. Gavron?”  The mispronunciation of my last name is a good indicator that they want to sell me something that I probably have no need of or interest in.  I just say “what do you want, what are you trying to sell me?”  They retort with “I am not trying to sell you anything.”  “Really?  Then what are you calling about?”  “To tell you of an offer.”  “Is the offer free or do I eventually have to pay for what you are so graciously offering?”  When they answer invariably that it will cost me, I do not let them get into a sales pitch.  I just say, “I am not interested and take me off of your list” and then I hang up.  It is truly a nuisance but I try to have a little fun with it all.
 It is getting to the point that I just am not answering the phone if I do not recognize the name on the caller ID.
All this has made me question, whatever happened to the No Call Registry?  It seemed like such a good idea when it was introduced.  It actually seemed to work for a while, but It does not seem to be working at all anymore.  I checked and still exists.  I verified that both my home and cell phones are registered.  So, why am I still getting calls on my home phone?
I have found a few articles that say the list is not working.  Complaints were in the range of 60,000 in 2010.  So far this year, complaints are over 200,000. The Federal Trade Commission runs the Do Not Call Registry; they claim the registry is still working.  I do not think it is nearly as effective as it was when it first started.
Here is what I believe is happening.  As telemarketers of every ilk are realizing that the there is little enforcement, they have simply ignoring the law.  It will only get worse.  Speed limits work when there is a non-zero chance of getting a ticket.  The same principle applies here.  I am in favor of the Federal Trade Commission getting tough with law breaking telemarketers. 
I believe the government should get tough.  This would be an effective use of my tax dollars.  Actually, I would consider voting for anyone who promises to make the Registry work.  That phone call I would take!

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