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Successful Do-Not-Call Complaints? 440

Posted by timothy
from the klangen-und-sturmin dept.
bcrowell writes "After some legal delays, today is supposed to be the first day that the Do Not Call registry will be enforced. Got my first illegal call just now, and strangely enough, when I said I was on the list and started asking for information, the telemarketer said my signal was breaking up (particularly strange since I wasn't on a cell phone.) Has anyone successfully gotten the necessary info from a telemarketer and then managed to file a complaint? You're supposed to be able to file a complaint at 888-382-1222, but their touch-tone system doesn't give you any way to do it. You're also supposed to be able to do it via the web, but there doesn't seem to be any form, although they say "You can file your complaint on this Web site using the File a Complaint page, which will be available starting October 1, 2003." Remember, it may take up to 3 months after you register until they're required to stop calling you." Tales of success? Tales of failure?
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Successful Do-Not-Call Complaints?

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  • by miracle69 (34841) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:11PM (#7195018)
    Ask the telemarketer what company is calling and what company they are calling on behalf of BEFORE you tell them you're on the DNC list.

  • DNC Site (Score:4, Informative)

    by dj961 (660026) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:13PM (#7195029) Journal
    The Do Not Call site does have a form that you can fill out to file a complaint the address is https://www.donotcall.gov/Complain/ComplainCheck.a spx
    • For our html-challenged posters, that should be a link to the Do Not Call Registry complaint form [donotcall.gov].

      By the way, what's wrong with their SSL certificate? It looks like it's supposed to be a Verisign-issued certificate, but it's coming up as "issued by an unknown entity".

      - Peter
      • I noticed too...seems to be something with Mozilla's Root CAs, because IE has no problem with it. IE also recently had an update to it's Root CA list.
  • this might work (Score:2, Informative)

    by 1000101 (584896)
    i got a call one time from a telemarketer and went along with it and said i was really interested. i told her that i was busy and asked if i could write down her information and call her back. she agreed. busted. i only did that once to see if it would work and it did. now i don't even answer the phone. caller ID is a wonderful thing.
  • Good Luck (Score:2, Informative)

    by NetNinja (469346)
    You are going to need some very good social engineering skills to try and get that information. Most telemarketers only want YOUR information. When you start asking them for thiers they will get suspicious and hang up.

    I forsee a large increase in caller ID being purchased.
    • You are going to need some very good social engineering skills to try and get that information. Most telemarketers only want YOUR information. When you start asking them for thiers they will get suspicious and hang up.

      In some states, such as Michigan, it is state law that if you ask a telemarketer operating out of Michigan for their information, they must give their information to you. That means their company's full name and address, their phone number, and their supervisors name. I'm pretty sure it can
    • I forsee a large increase in caller ID being purchased.

      As if it even helps. 95+% of telemarketers block it, and even on the off chance they forget and you get their number, it doesn't help much.

      I've been on the Texas no-call list for quite some time. I received a local call from a telemarketer using a machine (no human) asking me to leave my name and number for more information. Caller ID gave me his (local) number.

      I filed a complaint as we're supposed to. Two weeks later, I received a form l

      • Re:Good Luck (Score:4, Informative)

        by pyros (61399) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:46PM (#7195201) Journal
        I thought it was illegal (federal law) to use an automated dialer and not include all the pertinent info. Perhaps the phone number alone would be enough to pursue under that law. Also, SBC has reverse phone number lookup for business listings on SMARTpages.com [smartpages.com].
        • I thought it was illegal (federal law) to use an automated dialer and not include all the pertinent info.

          It is. Except that even including `all the pertinent info' doesn't make it legal. It's illegal, period, unless you already have a business relationship with them. (It might also be ok for charities, but I'm not sure about that.)

          But illegal or not, it's not very actively prosecuted. I used to receive lots of telemarketer calls sent via machines like this. Fortunately, getting on the Texas do

  • Just karma whoring.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by wfberg (24378) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:17PM (#7195055)
    You can file a complaint here [donotcall.gov].
    • Interestingly, the "continue" button was missing yesterday (10/11/03).
      • Interestingly, the "continue" button was missing yesterday (10/11/03).
        ...which is when I submitted the story.

        The Continue button is nonfunctional in Mozilla. (I normally have pop-ups disabled, but enabling them doesn't seem to make any difference.) However, I just now tried it in Konqueror, and it works.

        • That's also interesting, because the continue button was functional (with some patience and persistence) in Phoenix (0.5). I just submitted my complaint through the web page in addition to the one I submitted yesterday through the generic ftp complaint page.
  • play along (Score:3, Funny)

    by Delight-Delirium (415145) <[oriana_1] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:17PM (#7195056) Journal
    We have a local do-not-call for our state. Whenever I've gotten calls of this nature, I'd just petend I am interested so they start telling me who they are and such, and then I kindly inform them that my number is on the list and they are about to get fined.

    Its so much fun, too!
  • Wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kelz (611260) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:18PM (#7195057)
    Tales of a government program.

    I work at my county IS department and everything I do is proceeded by a phone book of paperwork. Expect the DNC list to not work for about a year, after which no one will want to file a complaint due to the 73-page form describing the callers information, company's information, their past credit history, and a ransom note for their 3-month old border collie.
  • by Chatmag (646500) <editor@chatmag.com> on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:18PM (#7195063) Homepage Journal
    This past week I've gotten three phone calls, all from Spanish speaking telemarketers. In the three years I've been here, I have never received any calls from any Spanish speakers, a few Jamaicans, but then with the GF being Jamaican, that's expected. I could hear the "boilerroom" in the background, so I'm sure it was telemarketers. I give them my stock reply, this is not a home telephone number, it is a business, and they hang up. I've always found telling telemarketers your number is a business number cuts down on the repeat calls.
  • Complain URL (Score:3, Informative)

    by no soup for you (607826) <jesse@wolgamott.gmail@com> on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:19PM (#7195067) Homepage

    Have you tried to complain at https://www.donotcall.gov/Complain/ComplainCheck.a spx [donotcall.gov]?

    NOTE: Seems like only Mozilla will work when submitting a complaint. At least, that was my experience.

    • Re:Complain URL (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sinus0idal (546109)
      lol, a pleasant change for the better...

      Joe IE user: "best viewed with a standards compatible browser, please upgrade to view"

    • Have you tried to complain at https://www.donotcall.gov/Complain/ComplainCheck.a spx ?

      NOTE: Seems like only Mozilla will work when submitting a complaint. At least, that was my experience.


      Ironic, considering that this is an asp.NET site...
      • how is that ironic?
        • by iCEBaLM (34905)
          Come on man, ironic, you know? It's like rain on your wedding day or a free ride when you've already paid!
          • Re:Complain URL (Score:2, Insightful)

            by flossie (135232)
            It's like rain on your wedding day or a free ride when you've already paid!

            The most ironic thing about that song, is that it doesn't actually contain any examples of irony [reference.com].

            • The most ironic thing about that song, is that it doesn't actually contain any examples of irony.

              One could almost term the song as being meta-ironic...

              But that would just be silly.

            • Irony is something happening contrary to the expected result. Rain on your wedding day, or a free ride when you've already paid, are unexpected and contrary to the expected results.
              • If you lived in the desert, and it haddn't rained for months, and you planned a big rain-dancing celebration, but it got cancled because of a rain. That would be ironic. There's no reason not to expect rain on your wedding day.
        • how is that ironic?

          Because ASP.NET server side controls specifically render for IE 5.5+

          You generally have to do extra work in ASP.NET to support other browsers; even if that extra work is to decide not to use server side controls, which drastically decreases the utility of the ASP.NET programming model...
  • MO No Call List (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheBracket (307388) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:20PM (#7195071) Homepage
    I have a client who periodically has us subtract 'no-call' numbers from their calling database (little more than numbers and names, from a phone book). They hired me in a hurry when they started calling people on the Missouri No-Call List by accident. Apparently they were not fined for a single transgression - the attorney general gave them a grace period to adjust after learning of their error, with little more than a verbal slap on the wrist.

    I haven't heard from them about the federal list, so I doubt that they are compliant yet. They have voiced an interest in getting out of telemarketing altogether because of the growth/success of the Missouri no-call list; with any luck the federal list will be the last straw that makes them jump.

    As an aside, I was surprised by how much money some companies are charging to subtract a list of numbers from a call list; I charged my regular hourly fee, which isn't too much for DELETE FROM call_list WHERE phone IN (SELECT phone FROM AGList)! I later found out that some companies were charging thousands for 'safe' call lists on CD!

  • the front page [donotcall.gov] has a link to file a complaint [donotcall.gov]. follow that, you'll get your web form.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:22PM (#7195079)

    Got my first illegal call just now, and strangely enough, when I said I was on the list and started asking for information, the telemarketer said my signal was breaking up ... Has anyone successfully gotten the necessary info from a telemarketer and then managed to file a complaint?

    As far as I know you just need a few details like the company name and maybe a phone number or something. I've had two telemarkers call since the DNC list went into effect, and both times it was relatively siple to get a website out of them simply by role-playing a "naive but cautious" person, saying something like "Hmm, the offer sounds good, but I'm not sure. Do you have a website where I can find out more infomation, just so I can see that you folks are legitimate?" Telemarketers are usually happy to do whatever it takes to make you trust them. If they don't have a website, you should at least be able to get a phone number out of them by letting them give their pitch for a minute or two, then saying you're in the middle of something really important, but what they're selling sounds very interesting, so if you could just get a number where you can call them back... "And what was the name of the company again? Oh, ok. Where are you guys located?"

    Of course, if you start off the conversation with "Hey buddy, I'm on the Do Not Call List", you can't expect to get very far...

    But if you're polite and play your cards right, you can easily get all the information you need out of them. (If you really feel the need to dig at them, just save the "Hey buddy, guess what" bit until the end of the call, after you have played the nice and interested consumer and gotten all the necessary information out of them.)

    That said, both times I've gotten all the information I could possibly want about the telemarketer, but I'll be damned if I can figure out how to submit a complaint...

    • just save the "Hey buddy, guess what" bit until the end of the call

      Reminded me of when I was calling this company about a laptop (still under warranty) that had kind of a flutzy floppy drive. I'd talk to one person, explain that the laptop was under warranty, can I speak to someone about getting it repaired.

      Twice, I got put on hold, and then hold turned into *disconnected*.

      So the third time I called I told the person that I had an expensive repair for a laptop not under warranty, got through to a tech,

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:22PM (#7195080)
    I work in the telemarketing industry... and let me tell you guys, it's been a bitch to try and get a copy of the DNC. It wasn't even available online until a few days ago and the cost is staggering.

    I know... I know... not a lot of sympathy, but still, I work for a business who would like to do nothing more than play by the rules, but all kinds of barriers have been put up in our way.
    • Easy solution: Don't call anyone until you're sure.

    • I know... I know... not a lot of sympathy, but still, I work for a business who would like to do nothing more than play by the rules, but all kinds of barriers have been put up in our way.

      I don't believe you. I don't think anyone in the telemarketing industry wants to follow any rules but the rule of the jungle. I think you, personally, should either kill yourself now, or take up a more respectable profession, like prostitution, or child pornography, or maybe masturbating zoo animals for breeding purposes
    • I work in the crack dealing industry... and let me tell you guys, it's been a bitch to try and get a copy of the Do Not Pedal List. It wasn't even available online until a few days ago and the cost is staggering. I know... I know... not a lot of sympathy, but still, I work for a dealer who would like to do nothing more than play by the rules, but all kinds of barriers have been put up in our way.
    • I know... I know... not a lot of sympathy, but still, I work for a business who would like to do nothing more than play by the rules, but all kinds of barriers have been put up in our way.

      Actually, you do not get any sympathy from me. There are whole industries that are counter-productive and a pain in the ass for normal people like me. There are a thousand things you could have done to prevent people from getting really annoyed by your calls. You could have requested the permission to call and thus made

    • If the DNC list is so difficult to get, why not convert your telemarketing business into one that calls up other tlemarketers, preferably after 5 pm, and sells them the DNC list? Two birds with one stone: one less telemarketing company pestering me, and a valuable service to your fellow telemarketers. High fives!
    • by jerde (23294)
      and the cost is staggering

      Oh, WAAAAAAAAAH! Poor telemarketers.

      From FTC's info page [ftc.gov]: (my emphasis added)

      How much does it cost to access the registry?

      Data for up to five area codes will be available for free. Beyond that, there is an annual fee of $25 per area code of data, with a maximum annual fee of $7,375 for the entire U.S. database.


      That's so much less than a penny per phone number that you don't get any sympathy at all.

      If you're a national telemarketer, you pay your $7,375.00 and download the 1 [donotcall.gov]
      • ** I don't think this is a large fee or burden compared to the actual costs of the telecommunications equipment, not to mention your staff.**

        for crooked telemarketers the staff is (half) free, the staff does change A LOT though(which is also why they have ads on newspapers on easy desk job, 200$ for 2week training perioid & yadda yadda, call now). basically they don't except people to meet the 'expected' performance one would need to get really paid(like you do get paid from a real job). they also pref
    • by bfields (66644) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @03:23PM (#7195377) Homepage
      I know... I know... not a lot of sympathy, but still, I work for a business who would like to do nothing more than play by the rules,

      No you don't, because the rules have always prohibited "telemarketing".

      The fact that these were rules of etiquette and not of law is no excuse.

      If people commit sufficiently egregious etiquette violations for a sufficiently long time, then eventually they irritate enough votors that the law steps in. The violators may then attempt to paint themselves as the innocent victims of changing times, acting suprised that it has "suddenly" become against the rules to interrupt people in their homes without their permission to make a sales pitch, or to pinch their secretary's butts, or whatever.

      The rest of us will be less than impressed by this rather disingenuous plea for sympathy.

      --Bruce Fields

    • I work for a business who would like to do nothing more than play by the rules, but all kinds of barriers have been put up in our way.

      I suggest you communicate this sentiment to your industry association lawyers, who have created most of these barriers with their stall tactics in the legal system. If the FTC had simply been allowed to go ahead with the original plans then you would no doubt have had a copy of the list in a timely fashion and there'd be no doubt or uncertainty about whom you may call and

    • IANAL (yet...)

      Why not just buy a copy from somebody else? If it costs $X to buy the list, offer somebody who has it $X/2.

      To my knowledge, in the US, databases still are not copyrightable. Even if they were, I don't think that the government is allowed to copyright its own work.
  • by bscott (460706) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:22PM (#7195081)
    Does the do-not-call law cover companies based overseas, like Bermuda?
    Can the do-not-call law be enforced if, when you ask what company they represent, they suddenly don't speak-ee the Eeeenglish? (or "My supervisor is not here, sorry " is the other one I get a lot)
    What are you supposed to do when the call is an automated recording?
    What about when half the calls you DO get are from exempt organizations, like police fundraisers?

    This law is a good start, but don't for a minute think that it's gonna make more than a small difference by itself. Neither does CallerID, at least in my case - between my Mom's number being unlisted, my wife working at a place which shows up as "Anonymous", and her family calling from overseas ("Unavailable"), I'm just lucky my number is new and I only get a couple bad calls a week, 'cos I have to answer them all...
    • I find that saying "Fuck the pigs" is a fairly good way to get off the PBA call list.

      It's all in the phrasing.
  • I registered on the PA Do Not Call list last September.

    Since then, I have not recieved ONE telemarketing call.
  • by Brian Stretch (5304) * on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:32PM (#7195131) Homepage
    I got another automated call today from "Jeffrey Caldwell at the National Consumer Council" today. You probably know the message [whiteice.com]. The FTC has heard of them [ftc.gov]. They're a "nonprofit" front for a couple of commercial companies [promomagazine.com].

    I filed a complaint, though that "nonprofit" bit might shield the bastards. Other than those folks, I don't think I've received a telemarketing call in the past few days. Good riddance!
    • That's about all the calls I get now...these pseduo-non-profit voice messages.

      I'm guessing we'll start seeing a lot more of these tactics now that the regular telemarketers can't call.

      We'll get lots of calls from "non-profit" organizations and charities where the large % of the donation goes to the fund-raising company.

      We'll get surveys with leading questions designed to promote some specific company, and "vote Bob Smith for congress sponsored by AT&T. Members of our campaign staff can help you save
  • by Doodhwala (13342) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:33PM (#7195137) Homepage

    One of the most useful resources I have found is the Anti-Telemarketing Script [junkbusters.com] from Junkbusters.com [junkbusters.com]. Apart from this, they also have tons of information on how to stop snail-mail junk, etc. Check them out.
  • Like spammers I dont think it will stop.
    I too am on this list, and while the donotcall.gov legality was being discussed I tried to gather telemarketer info as the site suggested, name of company, phone number, and address (if possible) to see how effective I could be when it became legal. What resulted is telemarketers just hanging up when they realized the direction I was taking and trying again later in the day or the next day. A game of cat and mouse it turned into as I masqueraded my interest and used t
    • One upside is I am glad its now enforceable since if it wasnt, that list could have just become a big telemarketers dream turning from a donotcall list to a here is a free list 50 million potential calls courtesy of the govt.

      No, actually, that has been a federal crime all along, far more serious than a mere fine.
    • What resulted is telemarketers just hanging up when they realized the direction I was taking

      Wouldn't that be considered about the same as "fleeing from the place of accident"? Additional charges for attempt to avoid law consequences?
  • The do not call regestry's enforcement has been delayed by a preliminary injuncion issued in response to some telemarketer's law suit. Thus, it is not in effect yet.
  • Illinois (Score:3, Informative)

    by elmegil (12001) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:36PM (#7195153) Homepage Journal
    I had the same sort of thing just yesterday. Telemarketer called, I asked if they'd heard of the do-not-call list, they started giving me some BS about it wasn't being enforced yet. I pointed out that indeed it was, why don't you bother someone else, or better yet, give me the name of your >click< company again?

    Luckily for me, I have privacy manager, and the only way that calls come through is if they're identified on caller ID in the first place. So I pulled the name and number and had exactly the same problems trying to find a place to file my complaint. Ultimately, linking from my state do-not-call page (which is really only a front for the federal stuff), I got to a generic FTC complaint page here [ftc.gov]. So that's where I filed my complaint. Good luck.

  • What if the phone companies added a * number to dial after you hang up with the telemarketer? Kind of like a *69 to call back the last caller, after you hang up on them you just dial *xx to report a telemarketer.
  • I have not had to deal with annoying telemarketers after I did one thing. I got myself a second phone number and made it unlisted. The only number I ever give out it the published number, except to family and friends. I never answer that number. The machine gets it. Sometimes (say once every month or two) I get a telemarketing call on my second line. Usually I know it is before I even answer. That's because the numbers are one after the other and I just heard the first line pick up. Sure it costs me
    • Yah. While in holland telemarketing is not yet out of control, we are always a few years behind the states, I hardly see this as a solution. Everyone taking out a second line, second phone it even sounds like just to avoid telemarketing? Not even 100% proof? and it costs you 300 dollars a year? Whoppem.

      Nope sorry. For you it might have worked. For the rest of the US the dnc list seems a far better solution. Hopefully for once the european goverments will do the smart thing and adopt something similar witho

  • that I can't tell them I don't want calls from politicians either. I mean, what if I don't want the Democratic National Committee bugging me? I need a DNC for the DNC.
  • I had a problem last year with SBC constantly calling me trying to offer me DSL service when I already had Cable. Every time I told them to put me on the do-not-call list and I'd get a call back a week later. So I filed a complaint with the BBB and state attorney general and got a letter back from SBC claiming that SBC was not calling me but some third party marketing company who sells service. They said they'd make sure I was on their do not call list and I haven't gotten a call since. The numbers always
  • I used to get 2-3 a week, but since the list went into effect, I've only gotten one call. When I told the caller I was on the list, they apologized profusely and claimed they were still working bugs out of their system. I didn't think it was worth filing a complaint.
  • I've been registered with the Telephone Preference Service [tpsonline.org.uk] (the UK's do-not-call registry) since it started in 1995. It started as a voluntary service, and my number of spam calls dropped. When it became law in 1997, my number of calls dropped to zero.

    That's right. I never get any direct sales calls. Ever.

    It works for us - I hope it can work for you too.

  • Here's my telemarketer horror story...as a quick bit of background, we already have a do-not-call list here in Minnesota, and have had one since sometime last year.

    My girlfriend was home and I was at work. She got a call from a telemarketer. Said telemarketer (a woman) asked for me, and my girlfriend informed her that I was not home and that we were on Minnesota's do-not-call list before hanging up.

    Where it gets really frightening is that the telemarketer called my girlfriend back and started an ill-adv
    • The good news is, for about an extra $2 a month on the phone bill, I was able to get a call-screening feature

      That's not the good part, that's the rip-off part.

      Qwest works both sides of the game - they sell your information to telemarketers, then they offer to sell you a service to keep them from calling. In the mean time, they're selling technology to telemarketers to help them get around the blocking service that they're selling you.

      When pressed on the matter, Qwest representatives have simply said th
    • Where it gets really frightening is that the telemarketer called my girlfriend back and started an ill-advised bout of verbal beration directed at my girlfriend for hanging up on her.

      At work, I'm so incredibly mean and berating to telemarketers that they often call my boss to try and get me in trouble. My boss tells them that they deserved it. It makes them furious ever time.

      steve
  • by HarveyBirdman (627248) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @03:14PM (#7195347) Journal
    My tactic with the women is to start asking them what they are wearing and tell them they have a sexy voice. I usually get hung up on (just like in real life!), but every now and then I almost get one into a session of free phone sex. Those people must be incredibly bored in their jobs.

    If it's a guy I pull a Jim Florentine and start talking about how lonely and depressed I am, or I act retarded (just like in real life!) and confused just to waste their time. They bail olut, but I never had anyone call back angry because I'm a decent voice actor. I think they feel bad sometimes.

    Fun, but I still signed up for the DNC list.

  • by Halo- (175936) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @03:29PM (#7195395)
    When I was growing up, I lived an a very friendly neighborhood in the Midwest. Everyone used to sit out on their front porches in the evenings both for the social contact and because air-conditioning was pretty rare at the time. (in our neighborhood at least)

    The neighborhood kids and I had tons of fun each summer listening for a call "coming down the block". You could actually hear a sales call working its way from house to house, and amazingly they usually went by street address (accending).

    So, when we heard a call we'd all take off "racing the call". The idea was to get to a each house right before the call got there. If you were successful (and the house was someone willing to play along) you picked up the phone and instead of saying "hello" or something, you'd say something along the lines of "we don't want any!" *click*. And then off to the next house we'd race.

    It was great fun to listen to the telemarketer getting more and more confused as to what was going on. I have no idea if it cut down the calls, but it was great fun.

  • I too was looking forward to the day the complaint process was online. Saturday was the day. I came home and checked my machine.

    Two calls, both telemarketing. I eagerly got my pen and paper out and awaited the contact information. There was none. Instead, the messages, after chewing up three or four minutes of digital memory, ended with "If you would like more information, press 1. If you would like to remove yourself from future calls, press 8."

    Those f'ing creeps. Knowing that if they had left any
  • Those telemarketers who call you are taking your time and annoying you.

    None of us has the time to go through the legal process and then waiting to collect.

    Nothing satisfies as much as causing physical harm to your opressor.

    Get one of those compressed gas air horns people use at baseball games and the next time you get a call, talk to them and then blast the horn in the mouthpiece and see if you can make them deaf in one ear.

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