Friday, August 9, 2013

Do Not Call -- Really

It took a long time for the millions of us who were continually harassed by telemarketers to convince Congress that if they didn't do something there would be hell to pay.  So, Congress being the mighty law-making body that it is, listened to us, as well as to all their real special interests, and made a toothless law creating a "Do Not Call Registry" that marketers had to respect.  Or not.

First of all, anyone you might do business with can call, even if the call is totally unrelated to the business you do with them.  Secondly, charities and political organizations (yes, consider including them both in the same parenthetical phrase) are excepted.  Which leaves enough of a hole in the law that just about any business can ignore it.

But they don't really need to look for exceptions.  Because it did not take long for businesses to look around, shrug, and say, Jon Stewart mafiosa style, "So waddaya gonna do aboud it?"  Nothing.

I have been retired, and live alone, with a landline.  In other words, I am prime telemarketer customer material.

And most telemarketers don't waste their time on the phone; they have robocalls do their dirty work for them.  So that, if you want to do anything about that call, you have to listen to the message, stay on the line for a human, and then try to get your number deleted from the list.

I've done this.  For awhile, I was getting two to three robocalls a week that began with, "This is a call about your credit card.  There is currently no problem with your credit card account."  Or some such nonsense.  At first, I just hung up and cursed.  But it was so frequent, that I attempted to stay on the line to talk to a human.  Which was almost as difficult as actually trying to contact a human from your honest-to-god credit card company.

You get a menu, and there is a number you can hit that will take your name off the list, sometimes, and mostly it doesn't work anyway.  When I actually have reached a human, and I state that I am on the Do Not Call Registry, I am frequently hung up on before I get to the request to take my number off their list.

These calls happen so often that I believe I am becoming more adept in my search for the solution to this problem.  The last time it happened, and I reached a human, I asked which credit card they were calling about.  The woman began her spiel again, and I interrupted and asked, again, which credit card?  I was proud to say that this stopped her cold for a few seconds, and then she rattled off, "VISA, MasterCard, American Express..."  "No, no, which of my  credit cards are you calling about?"  At which point she hung up.

My goal is to get a callback number so that I can report them to the actual Do Not Call Registry.  Since I'm retired, I figure I have the rest of my life to accomplish this.  And so do they.

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