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FTC Bans Prerecorded Telemarketing Drivel 381

Posted by kdawson
from the but-will-it-stop-321-504-7429 dept.
coondoggie writes "In the ongoing battle to let us eat dinner in peace without being interrupted by amazingly annoying telemarketer blather, and in this case the even more infuriating recorded telemarketing drivel, the Federal Trade Commission today basically outlawed recorded telemarketing calls. Specifically, the FTC changed its venerable Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) to prohibit, as of Sept. 2009, telemarketing calls that deliver prerecorded messages, unless a consumer has agreed to accept such calls from a given caller/seller. Between now and 2009, telemarketers must provide an obvious, easy and quick way for consumers to opt-out of any call, the FTC said. Such an opt-out mechanism needs to be in place by December 1, 2008."
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FTC Bans Prerecorded Telemarketing Drivel

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  • Re:Useless (Score:5, Funny)

    by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @02:03AM (#24669285)

    Actually, that's not true.

    I know lots of people that enjoy telemarking calls. My grandmother was one of them. I think she was lonely or something, but she always wanted to talk to them.. She'd ask how their day was, blah blah blah. She'd invite the freaking mormons and JW's in to talk.

    Just because you can't imagine why anyone would want to talk to them doesn't mean everyone must be tricked into it.

  • Re:Useless (Score:4, Funny)

    by scubamage (727538) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @02:09AM (#24669321)
    Agreed, it depends on the day. When I used to skip all the time in highschool it was sometimes enjoyable to take a survey or just talk to someone. Gaming all day was fun, but it was nice to get some human contact - even if it was a marketer.
  • by mrboyd (1211932) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @02:16AM (#24669349)
    The politician who will vote to let you opt out of political telemarketing call will never be elected due to lack of funding.. aaaah paradox.. :)
  • by Vectronic (1221470) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @02:23AM (#24669399)

    Holy Shit Stephen Hawking!, you're selling inflatable underwear? I'll buy a dozen if you autograph them!

  • by donbriggs (936171) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @02:43AM (#24669517) Homepage
    OK, everybody hates them. Nobody likes them. Yet they keep saying "we provide a valuable service that people like, and it is not annoying".

    Here is the solution. We don't need to outlaw them. We need the law only two require two things:
    1. Telemarketers MUST display a proper number for caller ID
    2. Telemarketers may NOT block incoming calls
    Then we all install auto-dialer programs on our PC's. We record a long, babbling message stating: "Thank you for your recent call. This message is to inform you that we do not wish to receive any automated calls from you, or any of your business partners, or anybody else, ever again. You may consider this our opt-out message. For your convenience, this message will automatically re-dial you every 30 seconds until you opt out of OUR auto dial promotion. You may signify your intention to opt out of our special, valuable auto-dial list by not calling us again for 6 months. Once you have opted out of our program by not calling us for 6 months, your number will be automatically removed from our calling list. Thank you, and have a nice day."

    In other words, we would start clogging THEIR phones, and THEY would get pissed off. And the only way to get off of our autodial list is to stop calling us. You stop pissing us off, we will stop pissing you off.

    Comments? Questions?

  • Ban SPAM (Score:5, Funny)

    by amirulbahr (1216502) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @02:47AM (#24669533)
    Now all they need to do is ban SPAM emails...
  • by Centurix (249778) <> on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @03:22AM (#24669697) Homepage

    To cover phone calls from the mother in law

  • Re:Useless (Score:4, Funny)

    by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @03:24AM (#24669707) Homepage Journal
    See, now, for some of us this presents no problem.
    For example, I get into an argument with Kurt Cobain every time I hear "Come As You Are":

    "And I swear that I don't have a gun"

    Yes, you do.

    "No, I don't have a gun"

    Yes, you do.

    "No, I don't have a gun"

    Yes, you do...

    Years of Nirvana and /.ing have decoupled me from the requirement to have an actual person to talk to.

  • Re:Suckage (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @03:39AM (#24669773)

    I hope to hell that the FTC comes down *hard* on these people.

    Blacks and Indians?

  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @03:47AM (#24669807)
    Fix it yourself with Asterisk []. Numbers not on the white list are dumped into recorded phone tree maze with endless loops of meaningless choices and no way out except to hang up. It would be even better with a plugin that could try and string them on for a while without actually divulging any meaningful information by responding at pauses with phrases like "that sounds interesting", "uh-huh", and "I'm not sure" the goal being to waste as much of the telemarketer's time as possible on a dead end call (i.e. no sale) before they hang up in frustration.
  • by k4_pacific (736911) <> on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @04:05AM (#24669881) Homepage Journal
    I used to get calls all the time from "cardholder services". From what I gathered, it's basically a scam where they charge you and then call up your credit card company to ask for a lower rate. Apparently, people who went in for this had their cards billed for thousands. I've asked them repeatedly to remove me from their list to no avail. Here's how I finally got them to stop calling.

    First I pressed "1" for a live operator. Now to fuck with them and remain consistent, I made up a cheat sheet in advance. On it I wrote a fake credit card number, an expiration date, a fake "card not present" number, a fake SSN, fake balance, etc. They require you to have at least $3000 in debt and at least $2500 in available credit on at least one card to cover their fees.

    One thing they ask for is the customer service number for the card so they can call your bank, which they do while you are on hold. So, I used this page of bank ID numbers [] when making my fake credit card number, and I also googled my chosen bank's customer service number (I picked Wachovia). Also I rigged the number to validate by the Luhn algorithm [] in case their systems check for that. This way we have a very plausible but totally fake credit card number which will hopefully pass any initial consistency checking they may do.

    So I put this cheat sheet by the phone and waited for the call. Within a few hours, they called.

    I answer their questions. First they ask about my debt. I tell them $9000 across two cards. I mention my "Wachovia Mastercard". They acknowledge knowingly and ask me to "verify" the card number "starting with the 5" thus suggesting they already know the card number. All Mastercards start with 5. I give them the fake number. They ask me to "verify" the expiration date. I give them the fake date. They ask for the customer service number on the back of the card. I give them Wahovia's number. They put me on hold for five minutes to call up Wachovia and negotiate me a lower rate.

    "Wachovia says it's an invalid number. Can you re-read your card number?" I re-read the same number. They put me on hold again for several minutes. This repeats again. I reassure them that card is valid, that I just used it an hour or so ago, etc. They try again. They get a supervisor. He tries. It keeps coming back invalid. I waste forty five minutes of at least two people's time. Finally, as they apologize for not being able to help me, I calmly explain my ruse. What followed was a string of obscenities that even made my dog gag, followed by them abruptly hanging up.

    And they haven't called me since.

  • Re:Opt Out? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @04:34AM (#24670033)

    And if that doesn't work, use an air horn to blast the first human being you get connected to.

    Yes I know mean people suck, but I once reduced a telemarketer for Arthur Murray Dance Studios to racking sobs by telling her during a telemarketing call that I wanted to send them some money anyway, even though both of my legs were blown off in Vietnam.

  • Re:Useless (Score:3, Funny)

    by AP31R0N (723649) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @08:02AM (#24671293)

    i always heard that as god, not gun.

    Ah well. Excuse me while i kiss this guy.

    The sky... kiss the sky. My bad.

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @08:14AM (#24671381)

    I couldn't tell you how many times I've heard people boast about how they're "smarter than the collection agencies" after getting off the phone with a collector.

    I would assume that being "smarter than the collection agencies" includes convincing them to start calling a different (random) phone number instead. And ... apparently that works, too.

  • by b4upoo (166390) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @10:20AM (#24673193)

    I have an opt out button on my phone. It is automatic and activates every time I slam the phone into its cradle.

  • by BigBlueOx (1201587) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @10:48AM (#24673727)

    Hello. This is Barak Obama and I have an important ...

    Look, you freaking r-tard, if you call me ONE MORE TIME, I'm voting for McCain!! You got that, SFB?

    Hello. This is Barak Obama and I have an imp...

    That's IT!!! I warned you!!! Tard! Tard! AAAA! AAAA!

    Hello. This is John McCain and i have an important messag..
    Alright! Screw *all* you guys! I'm voting Communist! You hear me, brain boy?? I'm now a registered Communist!!! Take THAT! AAAA! AAAA!

    Hello. This is Angela Davis and I have an important message ...

  • Hi! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Number6.2 (71553) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @12:29PM (#24675891) Homepage Journal

    We've been trying to contact you about your website! It's due to expire in the Very Near Future, and if you don't renew, it could lead to service outages, legal costs, hair loss, or worse: Failure in Iraq!

    Please press 1 to talk to one of our Network Experts. Press 2 to a representative in our Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt division. Press 3 to talk to Phishing Expert, and press 9 to opt out of this call!

    Please, hurry!

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.