Saturday, June 26, 2004

Telephone consumer protection act

I did not know of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act before today. The FCC has a summary of it intended for the general public.

The next time I get called by a recording, and manage to get connected to a person afterwards, I'll ask the person to explain to me why their call does not violate the TCPA.

Apparently, when the autodialers call more numbers than there are telemarketers to handle them, people answering them get connected to nothing, and get hung up on, and, according to the FTC, that is required to be no more than 3% of their calls. Unless there is something about my phone number that causes me to get more than my share of those calls, no more than 3% of the telemarketing calls I get should be such calls. Since more than 3% of the telemarketing calls I get are such calls, it's likely that telemarketers are violating that rule.

My tactics of keeping telemarketers on the line rather than hanging up on them probably contributes to their overdialing. I feel all the more justified in continuing such tactics. The more they violate the rules, the more likely they will face legal problems, or they will have to hire more telemarketers, or they will have to reconfigure their dialers to call fewer people at any given time. Any of those will drive the cost of telemarketing up, making it less likely that any given telemarketing firm will stay in business.

On a different note, I have a cheap $10 phone. It has a switch on it that turns the ringer off. Apparently, a few days ago, I knocked the phone over, causing the ringer to get switched off, so I haven't been answering any calls from telemarketers, or anyone else, since then.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Keelie (or something like that) from Washington Mutual

She hesitated a for a second or so before saying my name when asking if I was there. I guess many telemarketers find my name difficult, even though my last name is the same as that of a Hollywood celebrity. She said that if I give her a bunch of information about my current mortgage, they'd give me a free estimate, and maybe I'd be able to get a lower interest rate. I declined to give any information, and instead asked her what interest rates they could offer. She said that a 10 year loan would be in the fours, or less with good credit. I said I didn't want a 10 year loan. She said that a 15 year loan would be in the low fives, or less with good credit. I said 15 years is too short. She said that a 30 year loan would be in the high fives, or less with good credit. I asked what it would be, assuming perfect credit. She said she couldn't tell me. I said it sounded unlikely that they'd have anything that would interest me. She said that if I did it, I'd get to see what it would be. I didn't say anything, but did not hang up. She didn't say anything or hang up for a few seconds. Then she asked if I was interested in the free quote. I said no. She said thank you and good bye.

Dante from First Fidelity Mortgage

He asked if I speak English. He then asked if I understood what he was saying. When he got over the issue of my English proficiency, which I do not understand, as I was born and grew up in the United States, and I do not, to my knowledge, speak like a foreigner, he said interest rates are at a forty year low. He asked a bunch of questions about my mortgage and my house. I decided not to tell him more information. He insisted that I need to tell him how big my house is and how much I paid for it for him to "help" me. He already knew my name, phone number, and address. I suppose it would not be too much more work for him to find out how much I paid for the house, as it is in the public record and it's printed all over the mortgage junk mail that I get. But, since he didn't, and since he's a telemarketer, I decided to be difficult. Finally, he asked if I was interested in a free quote this evening. I said no. He said good bye.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Stupid automated dialer

I picked up the phone and said hello. In the background, there was some typing and some indistinct talking. After a few seconds, it hung up. Are telemarketers deliberately trying to be antagonistic? That was a stupid question. Still, what is the point of calling just to hang up?

Saturday, June 19, 2004


He said, "Hello, is... uh... the homeowner in." After two seconds, I said yes. He hung up immediately. Perhaps he didn't like my voice. Or maybe he was trying to decide how to pronounce my name when he was saying "uh..." and then said homeowner instead, and then when I seemed uneager to talk to him, he decided it would be easier to call some other sucker with a name that wouldn't challenge his verbal abilities instead.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Michael with Americash Mortgage

He said something about some mailing that they sent me. I said that I get too much mortgage junk mail to remember any particular one. He said they could lower my interest rate and asked what kind of mortgage I have and what my interest rate was. When I told him, he asked if I was looking for cash out. I said I did not. He said good night and hung up. Evidently, they can't lower my interest rate, as I expected.

Monday, June 14, 2004

No idea what he was selling

"May I speak to the female head of the household?" That was all he asked. I guess he was not interested in talking to me, even though he called my phone. So he said he was sorry for bothering me and hung up.

John Kerry recording

"To show us how strongly you feel about sending George Bush back to Texas, please press one now." That recording repeated about eight times before it finally hung up on me.

Another piece of shit machine

I answered the phone, and nobody was there. After three seconds, I said hello again. Still nobody was there. After three more seconds, I said hello again. There was some clicking. Still nobody was there. After three more seconds, I said hello again, and again three seconds after that. I said hello once more three seconds after that. There were a few more clicks, and the machine that called me hung up on me.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Another stupid machine

I answered the phone again this morning. There was some background noise like in a room with people talking. After a second, there was a beep and a click. I didn't say anything more. After about ten to fifteen seconds, the telemarketing phone system hung up. Perhaps these dialing machines are trying to avoid voice mail systems, so as to avoid the cost of having minimum wage and offshore human telemarketers spend time dealing with them. Telemarketing must be a really high volume business with soap-bubble thin margins for such antics. The next time this happens, I'll try saying something to see if I get connected to a human telemarketer, and use up their time by saying I'm not interested in whatever crap they're pushing.

Wrong number, maybe?

I picked up the phone and said hello. A woman said hello. She sounded a little smarmy to me. After a second, I said hello again. She hung up.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Yet another

The phone rang and I answered it. After a second of background noise, which sounded like a large room full of people talking, a telemarketer said hello. I did not say hello again, since I already said it when I answered the phone. After three seconds, during which neither I nor the telemarketer said anything, the telemarketer hung up.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

GM Corporation

Jim Smith, sounding a bit like Apu, said I am paying a very high interest rate on my home loan. He kept trying to get information out of me. The background noise made it sound like he was in a big room with lots of people talking. I suspect it was another offshore telemarketing outfit in India that has their telemarketers using faked up names. He also hinted that they could offer a 30-year fixed-rate loan with an interest rate under 5%, which made me suspicious, as, these days, the average interest rates for those are over 6%. So I was not inclined to answer his questions about my current loan.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Stupid automated dialer

The phone rang while I was typing the previous entry. When I answered, nobody was there. After three seconds, there were some clicks, and then nobody was there again. I waited. After fifteen more seconds, there were some more clicks, and then it hung up.

T-Mobile wants to give me a Nokia phone

He said, "Isn't that great?" many times. "Blah blah blah. Ok?" "Blah blah blah. Absolutely free." "Blah blah blah. Isn't that great?" I said that I'm not interested. "Blah blah blah. Absolutely free." I told him that I wasn't interested three more times. He asked if I knew if any family members would be interested. I said no.

He also sounded like he was from some country other than the U.S. It seems to me like a lot of telemarketing is being done offshore. For example, I got two calls from some mortgage finance outfits. They may have been the same one. When I picked up the phone, there was background noise like in a large room with lots of people talking. Then, the telemarketers gave me their names. One said he was Philip Jones. The other said she was Nora Andrews. They sounded like Apu and Manjula, though. I think they were calling from India with faked up names.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Quick to hang up

This morning, the phone rings. I pick it up and say hello. I wait five seconds without hearing anyone say anything, so I know it's a telemarketer. Then a man says hello. I wait again. After two seconds, he hangs up.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Research international

She said they're not selling anything. They're doing a survey asking what kinds of beverages I usually drink. She asked twice how much coffee I drink in a week, twice how much wine I drink in a week, twice how much soft drink I drink in a week, and twice how much beer I drink in a week. The second time she asked, I asked what would happen if I gave an answer inconsistent with my first answer. She said she didn't know what the computer would do. I kept my answers consistent. She asked if I would participate in additional surveys. I declined. She tried asking again before she hung up.