Cold-calling phone company hit with record fine


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/11/cold-calling-phone-company-hit.html


#2

In Trump’s America, Rudd would be hailed as a marketing genius and invited to the White House for a photo op.


#3

At least 25 times a day, my phone rings with either a cold call scam artist,a robocall sales pitch, or those weird calls where the phone rings and nothing is there but silence. If I could call in a drone strike on the origins of those calls I absolutely would.


#4

My Arabic speaking friends love cold callers.


#5

Personally I would sentence people like Rudd to be locked in a cell where they would receive adequate supplies of food, water, and exercise. The only problem is that they would only get them by answering the phone. One call in a hundred would give access to services; all the others would be nuisance calls. And the service calls would start with a “Hey…” and ten seconds of cod marketing before a real person came on the line.

I guess in the US it would be classed as cruel and unusual punishment.


#6

My favorites are the ones that start off with “Hello. Is this ‘so and so’?” Then, when you answer “yes”, the caller saves that “yes” as proof that you did order whatever they were selling.


#7

I hope whoever levied the fine said “KEURBOOOOOOOOMMMM!” in a dramatic way after revealing it. And then highfived a fellow commissioner.

Also claiming the shitty thing YOU do is “just part of life” does nothing to redeem you. It just means you’re personally responsible for one of the shitty things in life so fuck you and your shitty company. You’re the exact reason why the governments have to regulate companies to death because you’ll never do the right thing on your own.


#8

I’ve used the US FCC site to report a vacation package company that calls me weekly and refuses to accept my do-not-call request. As soon as I ask them to take me off their calling list, their canned response is “I can’t hear you well” (same exact words each time) and they continue their pitch, even right after I verify they can hear me fine. I block the number but they keep rotating to a new calling number (or spoofing, who knows). I’d continue the call to get transferred to someone higher up the food chain but they want me to answer some questions (“is that okay?”) and I am very careful to never use the words ‘yes’ or ‘okay’ so they can’t claim later that I agreed to sign up for some service.

F’ing scammers.


#9

I always answer that with “Speaking.”

Not to avoid scammers; that’s just how I learned how to answer “Is [My Name] there?” or “Can I speak to [My Name]?” or similar questions from observing other members of my family.


#10

Talk back to them in a made-up nonsense language. They willingly hang up and don’t call back.


#11

You have to be careful with that. Centuries ago, there was an island that was being raided by the Norse, so the inhabitants started talking in a made up nonsense language that was a messed-up amalgamation of Greek, Latin, German, French, and even, I think, a bit of Gaelic thrown in, in an attempt to confuse them and drive them away.

Fast-forward to today, and that same made up nonsense language is accepted as the international language for commerce.


#12

Maybe stop answering your phone if you don’t recognize the number? Or when you find out it’s them, put the phone down and walk away or just start chanting “nonono” over and over or the favorite vulgarity of choice.

There is no reason whatsoever to be polite to people who interrupt you without your permission. Whether they are selling “Jesus” or pork chops, you ow them nothing.

Start filing complaints with the FCC also, every time.

I favor sowing confusion. If I get one of these, my first response is “How do you intend to pay for this consultation? There is a $500 minimum and my fees start at $250 an hour, by continuing this call you agree to pay these sums do you have an account with us?”

Then act as if they were overdue in paying you and get angry. A bit of role playing can be fun as this is stuff they don’t have scripted answers for and some of these outfits do not allow their “workers” to go off script…

Make their life a living hell. You owe them nothing. I don’t even accept the “They are just trying to make a living” argument about the poor fool on the other end as that applies to drug dealers, professional shoplifters and scam artists as well and I just do not care.


#13

At least drug dealers are selling something people want. You don’t have to cold-call to move, say, MDMA.


#14

I think we’ve tossed that prohibition out the window with privately run prisons. We do have the death penalty. I wouldn’t mind sentencing Rudd to that. Maybe he hasn’t killed one person, but he has annoyed people 100 million times. I submit that annoying people 100 million times is equivalent to, say, murdering 10 people, and justifies whatever penalty serial killers get. If the criminal chooses quantity over quality, that’s his problem.


#15

This is usually what I do. This might be easier for me, though: my area code’s in Texas, but I live in Maryland. (I’ve had the same mobile phone number, on 6 or 7 different phones, since 2000.) If I get a call with the TX area code it’s a 99/100 chance that it’s either a telemarketer or a wrong number.

But when I do answer, I’ve noticed it doesn’t take much for them to give up and disconnect (e.g. acting like I don’t understand). Time was when one could string them along because they didn’t want to give up on a potential mark. In contrast I got a call a few weeks ago where the person mentioned such-and-such opportunity, and wanted to verify how old I am:

“You want to know how old I am?”
“Yes, I…”
“Well that’s a hell of a question to ask a complete stranger. How old are you!?”
[click]


#16

That’s why I answer, this is $NAME. The fact that they mispronounce my name about 50% of the time makes this easier. They never even attempt my surname, which isn’t that weird, just sound it out, FFS.


#17

To quote one of my favourite writers for things like this: “Say it with me people: a fine is a price.”

As long as the profits can outweigh the costs, the companies don’t care. The only change from the Pinto scandal is that companies now build “loss of sales from negative consumer reactions” into the costs. Hell, they probably even find a way to write those fines off when calculating their corporate taxes.


#18

Only because we don’t kill people like you often enough, Greg. It’s very bad taste for a preventable evil to talk as though it’s simply an unavoidable feature of reality.


#19

The 8th amendment can be…flexible…in application to particularly powerless or unpopular cases.

Unfortunately, American telemarketers aren’t generally powerless enough to qualify for imprisonment at all; much less judicial logic-chopping about precisely how many randomly spaced ringtone exposures per 24hr period qualifies as ‘cruel’ rather than merely annoying.


#20

My guess is that a cold-caller would try to keep the conversation going until they hear “yes”!

:slight_smile:

On my last visit back east, I saw my mom answer the phone, yell “Drop dead!”, then hang up. “One of those bastard’s, again.” she said. It was a scam artist. I think.