Friday, March 02, 2007

Telemarketers Creeping Back In Again

You know, it's not often the federal government does something completely right. But I'd say the government came pretty close when they set up the national Do Not Call registry.

I registered both my home phone number and the church phone number just as soon as signup became available. And ever since, I have enjoyed surcease from what used to be an incessant daily bombardment of phone calls trying to sell me credit cards, cable TV, escape from debt, golf clubs, trips to Branson, newspaper subscriptions, and God knows what else.

Oh, maybe once every six months a telemarketing call would slip through anyhow. And there was a stretch summer before last when I started getting a spate of calls again, and it turned out that somehow the church number had slipped off the Do Not Call list: no problem, I just put it back on the list.

However. The past few months, the telemarketers have been creeping back in again. At first it was just the phone ringing, pick it up, no answer, every weekday in the forenoon and again in the late afternoon, for weeks on end. Finally after interrupting me like this a couple dozen times, the autodialing telemarketer got through to me, and I said, "Sorry, but I'm on the national Do Not Call list." Then the autodialed calls ceased for a while.

Well, in recent weeks the calls have started back up again, and this time much more often than not they get through to me. You know, when I first pick up the phone I hear all these random voices talking as if in a large room, and then after a few seconds' delay this voice asks me, "Hello, is this Mr. Burgh-ess?" Not "Burjess," but "Burgh-ess": that's usually a bad sign in itself. I say yes, then they brightly continue: "Mr. Burgh-ess, I'm glad I reached you, we have a special offer on a preapproved credit card..." At this point I interrupt: "I'm sorry, but I'm on the national Do Not Call list."

And then without further ado I hang up.

I've been getting telemarketing calls like these again in recent weeks. Once and twice a day, almost every day. Sometimes they're trying to peddle Sunday School curriculum. Sometimes it's a credit card. Sometimes it's some other gimcrack product they're hawking. It's getting so I'm receiving almost as many telemarketing calls again as I was back in the bad old days.

No, this time it's not that either phone number has fallen off the national Do Not Call registry. I visited and verified that both home and church numbers are on the registry, have been on the registry for a long time now, and will be on the registry for a long, long while to come. I am on the Do Not Call list; I repeat, I am on the list.

So what gives? Are the telemarketers really getting so desperate, so starved for customers— are they really finding it so impossible to make a go of it on the dwindling pool of people who are still willing to receive telemarketing calls— that they're just resorting to calling people indiscriminately, be they on the list or be they off the list?

Do these outfits think that when they brazenly flout the law and call those of us who are on the national Do Not Call list, we're going to slap our foreheads and say, "Gee, I never wanted to be bothered by a telemarketer again, but since you called me, I think I'll buy something from you anyway"?

I can't figure it. I'm on the list. And it worked like a charm, until just recently. So what gives? What part of "Do Not Call" don't these telemarketers understand? (Answer: The word "Not".) What makes them think they can get away with pestering us again, while the law still stands and we're still on the Do Not Call list?


Anonymous Lucy said...

Maybe foreign telemarketers using cheap internet connections?

Friday, March 02, 2007 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger The Tetrast said...

I just registered. Maybe now I'll start getting some calls.

Friday, March 02, 2007 1:25:00 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

When you get a call from a number you don't recognize search for it. It's a collection of unlisted phone numbers supplied by the community. People report unwanted calls there and share the best strategies to get their numbers removed from the call lists.

Monday, April 02, 2007 7:56:00 AM  

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