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How long, oh Lord, how long?

©03 The Media Desk

      The National Do Not Call List is taking a phenomenal number of calls and hits to the FTC website. Blowing away the argument from the telemarketers that it was only a small number of people who were upset about the intrusive, abusive, and annoying calls.

"Hello. This is Bob the Computer calling. Is your carpet old and dingy..."

      But there are still loopholes large enough in the law to allow a whole roomful of 'marketing specialists' to jog through on their way to the phone banks.
      The law was much tougher, but then the Politicians in a stroke of greed allowed their own calls to be made to the unsuspecting populace, then in a moment of philanthropy, they allowed charities to call. Then they decided that if you do business with basically anybody at all they can call you too.

"Good evening, please hold the line for an important message from..."

      What if you do not want politicians calling you? Or charities? Or anybody you bought anything from in the last couple of months? How do you take yourself off their lists?
      You can't.

"Hello, I'm calling about an incredible offer..."

      Now the question. How long will it be before the marketing companies start adding a charitable pitch to their calls to get around the law?
      "We're calling with an offer in which we will donate a percentage of our profits to the Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Trust for Ugly People."
      Don't believe it?

      How many of those offers do you get from long distance phone companies and catalog outfits and even Adult Web Sites where they spout off how much they donated to everything from September Eleventh Orphans to United Way pitches.
      Sit back and watch.
      Starting as soon as they can make the arrangements those portrait people and the seamless gutter crew and that guy that calls trying to sell you termite inspection will lead off with the statement that they support Uncle Bruno's Home for Former Mafia Soldiers, then they'll run off with the sales pitch. And then later when the numbers are released, if they ever are, the termite people will disclose they gave one tenth of one percent of their sales profits to Uncle Bruno.
      And then too, if you buy something at the store, and use your debit card, the store can get your number from the bank, then relay that to the manufacturer, who shares the information through their partnership with SunWorld Cruises… who calls you because you did business with their affiliate.
      But that angle will take longer to work. But they will do it… because these calls MUST be made.

      As with everything else Uncle does, it will about half work, then make things worse in the long run.

"You have been selected to receive a Free Cruise to the Caribbean for your..."

      And then there are the unintended consequences of the law.
      The list will become the ultimate call list for the shadier side of the industry.
      The Long Distance Phone Companies will have to raise rates because they will loose the revenue stream from the telemarketers, even though most of them are paying a tiny fraction of what you do at home, it is still a significant amount of money when you consider their call volume.
      Hundreds of telemarketers will be out of work, applying for unemployment and trying to find work at Wal-Mart or hustling for politicians.
      Actual charitable fund raising will get an even worse name as it comes out that monies supposedly earmarked for the charity named in the promotion was eaten up in overhead and embezzlement before it ever left the company.
      Using Voice over IP (VoIP- making voice telephone calls over the Internet), the telemarketers can set up shop literally anywhere in the world with a broadband connection and place outbound calls with a forged ANI (Automatic Number Identification- what shows up in your caller ID window) and place their calls with total impunity as US telemarketing laws do not apply in Sierra Leone. And this move will also increase fraud and Identity Theft as the entire transaction can be done electronically and there is naught the FBI can do about it. It is already happening with SPAMMERS as several outfits are now based in India, Panama and Jamaica using IP phones. See article: Caller ID can Lie to you!

      While it is a good idea, and it will cut down on some of the unwanted phone calls we all get at home, all it will do is make it worse in the long run. And eventually the telemarketers will just start calling businesses and doctor's offices and lawyers and politicians (WE HOPE!) and annoying them as the Do Not Call List is only for residential numbers, thusly raising the prices we all pay for everything else as the businesses have to have people or fancy phone systems to screen their calls.

      Hhhhmmmm.... ineffective, costs more, actually hurts some honest people.....

   we really expect anything less of the Federal Government?

      What will work? When the telemarketers call, keep them on the phone for as long as possible. Their call volume will go down and their costs will go up, and they'll take your number off their list after about the third or fourth call.



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