[The AntiTelemarketer's Source]
Info Courtesy of Dennis Hawkins

[Tired of Hang-Up Calls?]

Do you want to know who keeps calling you and hanging up when you answer the phone???
I'll tell you who, it was a telemarketer, that's who. You know, those scum of the earth idiots that call while you're busy doing something else in order to try to sell you something you don't want or need. MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW THAT TELEMARKETERS ARE THE SOURCE OF HANG-UP CALLS. [Photo of Broken Phone]



But why would a telemarketer call and hang up?

Because more and more scumbag telemarketers are using a device called an autodialer. This piece of technology from hell will actually dial four or more numbers AT THE SAME TIME for one operator. The idea is that half of the numbers will either be busy or nobody will answer. So in other words, out of 20 numbers simultaneously called, one lucky person will get the telemarketer and the other 19 will get NOTHING when they answer the phone. You know what I mean, the phone rings, you drop everything, you pick it up and say "Hello", but nobody ever responds. Its a great time saver if you are a telemarketer.

Another thing that makes autodialers bad is that they don't show up on your Caller-ID. Not only that, but because they are essentially computers, they will keep calling you until you are the one that answers the phone first. Their computers will never tire of dialing your number.

Without Caller-ID, how many people do you think actually know that hang-up calls are from telemarketers?

Call your local U.S. Congressman and ask him to propose legislation to ban the use of autodialers that dial multiple numbers at the same time.


Why doesn't a telemarketer's telephone number show up on my Caller-ID box?

The worst telemarketers are the ones using autodialers as mentioned above. Those sinister devices use a special kind of phone line called ISDN. Unlike a regular phone line, this type of phone line is all digital. This means that the telemarketer controls exactly what your Caller-ID box will say - which is nothing. Lets face it, if they allowed your Caller-ID box to have their name and number, you wouldn't need this web page to tell you who was calling all the time and hanging up.

Note that telemarketers don't "block" their Caller-ID transmission by dialing the blocking prefix code that most people are familiar with. Incoming calls that have blocked their Caller-ID will display something like "Blocked" or "Private" on the Caller-ID box. You can subscribe to "Anonymous Call Reject" from most phone companies and blocked calls will not get through. Telemarketers know this, and therefore they don't block Caller-ID, they simply don't send it across their ISDN lines. In that case, your box will say something like "No CID", "No ID", or "Out of Area". If you are not sure about the difference, the best thing to do is to experiment with your Caller-ID box until you figure it out. Different boxes work differently, so if I explained how mine works, it would probably not be the same for yours.

Telemarketers claim that most people actually want to receive telemarketing calls. This is the lie that they keep telling the politicians that control the laws under which they must operate. Big industries lie to Congress all the time. Remember when the cigarette companies told Congress under oath that "Nicotine is not addictive." However, if most people really do want to receive telemarketing calls, why does the telemarketing industry object to sending the word "TELEMARKETER" as the name on your Caller-ID box? It is already done for most pay phones (i.e.-"PAY PHONE" displays on the Caller-ID box when someone calls you from a pay phone.). But if telemarketers did that, people would never answer them, that's why. They claim that it is technically impossible to send Caller-ID information out on an ISDN line, but that is a complete lie and many legitimate businesses that use ISDN lines for regular purposes have no trouble sending Caller-ID information with their calls.

You can find your U.S. Congressman in the "Blue Pages" of your local phone book. When you do, ask him to propose laws that would require ALL telemarketers to send Caller-ID information that contains the name "TELEMARKETER" and a valid contact number for the Telemarketing Service Agent itself.

Want Proof?

Here is what you do. First, if you don't already have Caller-ID, get it. You won't be able to get the phone number of telemarketers, but since you'll get the phone number of everybody else, the telemarketers are easy to spot. Now, let me say that the lack of Caller-ID information is not proof that the person calling is a telemarketer, nor is a valid phone number proof that the caller is not a telemarketer. This is because many legitimate businesses use ISDN lines for normal telephone calls and some smaller telemarketers still use regular phone lines. One thing is for sure, if you receive a call with no Caller-ID after 6:00 p.m., there is a really good chance that it is a telemarketer. Telemarketers that use autodialers never send Caller-ID information to your Caller-ID box. If they did, too many people would find out exactly who keeps calling and hanging up.

Second, when you get a call with no information displayed on the Caller-ID box, make a mental note of the number of rings before you answered . The No-ID calls that you answer on the first ring will have the greatest chance of getting the telemarketer. If you couldn't get to the phone by the second ring, the chance of you getting a hang-up call is very high. This is because the autodialer that the telemarketer uses dials multiple phone numbers at the same time and will only connect to the first person that answers their phone. When an autodialer calls four or more numbers at the same time, it is simply a matter of probability that one or more of them will answer on the first ring, so if you waited until the second ring, you may find yourself in the larger group that gets silence when they answered the phone.

Do the Telemarketing Operators Know They're Dialing Multiple Numbers at Once?

I wouldn't bet on it, but I would have to say no. These people are paid below minimum wage to sit there and take abuse from people like me. Believe it or not, owners of telemarketing firms have a hard time finding unscrupulous people that will work under those conditions. Their solution is to hire (or be) an unscrupulous manager that won't tell his employees how the autodialer really works. That way, they can man their stations with reasonably honest, but ignorant, people. One manager actually bragged about hiring 20% more operators than he had telemarketing stations. In other words, he hired extra people so that all of his telemarketing stations would be manned even when several people called in sick. If too many employees show up for work on a particular day, they are sent home without pay.

If you explain how the autodialer works to the telemarketing operator, most likely they wont have a clue what you are talking about. Then ask them if they heard your phone ring when they just called it. They will answer no. If they heard all of those phone lines ringing at the same time, they would get suspicious. For that reason, they aren't allowed to hear anything until a second or two after you pick up the phone (assuming you are the lucky one). You can also ask them if they have ever wondered why they never seem to get a busy signal.

The next time you speak to a telemarketing operator with no Caller-ID information displayed, try to explain to them in a calm way how the autodialer really works. I have done this several times and one operator even set her headset down (with me still on the line) and quit.

Are These Telemarketers Breaking the Law?

Of course they are. Anytime someone calls multiple people with the intent of hanging up and not saying anything, they are guilty of telephone harassment. Does the law care? Of course not. They have more important things to do than to chase down telemarketers <GRIN>. Not only that, but you'll need to provide them with concrete proof that will stand up in a criminal court. The proof above is good enough for most people, but it is not sufficient for a criminal court. Don't expect any help from either the law or the phone company - they won't give it to you.

Now, an interesting twist is that using autodialers is not illegal in most states. Even if it is illegal in your state, the telemarketer can simply call you from another state where it is legal. What we need is a federal ban on the use of autodialers that work as described above.

In a new twist on the autodialer, some telemarketers are actually playing a recorded message when you are not the first one to answer to the phone. It usually says something like, "Please stay on the line for an important message from ____." If you stay on the line long enough, a telemarketer will come on the line to deliver a sales pitch. While this is an improvement over hang-up calls, the whole concept of dialing multiple numbers at once should be banned.

Contact your U.S. Congressman and ask him to propose laws against the use of autodialers that call multiple numbers at the same time with stiff criminal and civil penalties for violations. Since law enforcement gets to keep part of the fine money, catching crooked telemarketers will move up on their priority list.

Take me off your list please. <CHUCKLE> <SNICKER>

This is a continuing joke among telemarketers. Federal law already requires telemarketers to maintain a list of "Do Not Call" telephone numbers. This is a list of telephone numbers that telemarketers are not permitted to call again. The savvy consumer can ask to be put on the telemarketer's "Do Not Call" list when they are called. But wait, the crafty telemarketing operator is trained to guide you toward saying that you want to be taken off the list. They ask, "Would you like for me to take you off our list?" Most consumers don't know the difference and inadvertently ask the telemarketer to take their number off the "Do Not Call" list instead of putting it on. When you ask to be put on the telemarketer's "Do Not Call" list, they will usually respond with ignorance (as they are trained to do). When that happens, ask to speak with their supervisor and remind them that there is a federal law that requires them to maintain this list. Don't hang up until they agree to put you on that list.

Stop and think about this one for a minute. Does it really make any sense to ask the telemarketer to take you off their main list when they have already called you? Most of these slime balls rent their lists from other companies with a one use license. Even if they took you off today's list, the list they are using next week might have your name on it again. Note that, just like computer software, telemarketing lists are not actually sold, but instead are licensed - usually for just one use. Telemarketers do not own the main list that they called you from. Therefore, when a telemarketer asks the carefully worded question above, the term "our list" means the list that they own - which is the "Do Not Call" list. Who said telemarketers weren't crafty?

To make matters worse, the law doesn't require telemarketers to share "Do Not Call" lists with other telemarketers. Since a list house can rent the list to multiple telemarketers, the next telemarketer who rents it can call you again legally.

Ask your U.S. Congressman to propose modifications to the telemarketing law such that telemarketers must submit their "Do Not Call" lists to the company that they obtained the main list from in the first place, and to also make it illegal for that company to sell any list containing names of people that have asked to be on the "Do Not Call" list. Furthermore, ask him to propose a change to the law so that when a consumer asks to be "taken off the list" that it will legally mean the same thing as asking to be put on the "Do Not Call list".

Who gave them your number?

You did, indirectly. Any time you give out your name and address to one business, you run the risk of giving it to telemarketers as well. Since telemarketers like to use targeted lists, they will usually purchase mailing lists from magazines and clubs such as PC Magazine, AARP, and others. Have you ever wondered how Over-65 health insurance companies knew that you were over 65? Or how they knew that you might be in the market for computer accessories? When subscribing to ANY magazine or club, include a signed note that says: "You are expressly forbidden from selling or giving my name, address, phone number, or any other private information to anyone else. If you do not agree to these terms, cancel my subscription and return my check uncashed." Make sure that you staple your check to it regardless of any notations telling you not to staple it. This helps make sure that they will see the note.

Sometimes telemarketers will get your name from public records. In that case, there isn't much that you can do to stop them. You can ask them to put your number on their "Do Not Call" list, but honestly, their will be 50 new telemarketers right behind them.

Oh, and if you think that you can foil them by not supplying your telephone number, think again. Their computer will look up your number in a computerized phone directory. Of course, if you do supply them with your phone number, you'll save them a few milliseconds.

How Can I Stop Them?

Short of having your phone disconnected, there isn't anything that is fool proof, but there are several things that you can do that will help. Unfortunately, all of them cost you money. I personally don't think that this is right and refuse to do any of these myself on moral grounds. This assumes that you know that hang-up calls are from telemarketers, most people don't know the true origin of hang-up calls.

The best thing is to get an unlisted number. Since many telemarketers purchase main lists with your name and address but not your phone number, they need to have their computer look your name up in a computerized telephone directory as described above. But if you have an unlisted number, they wont find it. Unfortunately, unlisted numbers are expensive and they also keep your friends and people that you DO want to talk to from getting your number. However, you don't have to change your number, just make it unlisted.

A simple way to foil telemarketers is to use a fake name when subscribing to magazines. Don't give them your phone number no matter what. What do you care if your magazines all come with a fake name on them? Using a fake name for magazines is cheap but isn't perfect because some telemarketers look your number up by address and not by name. However, if you use a different name for each magazine that you subscribe to, you'll know instantly who sold it to the telemarketer when they call and ask to speak to one of your fake names. Also, it is a good idea to send a money order to magazines and clubs instead of a check. Most checks not only have your real name, but also your phone number, printed at the top. Some banks will print up emergency checks for you that don't have any name at the top. You can keep a supply of these for when you subscribe to magazines.

Some states have a "No Sales Calls" list that you can pay to get on. In Florida, it costs $10 per number per year. If you have ringmaster service, that means that you have to pay another $10 for each of the ringmaster numbers as well. I personally refuse to pay the $10 as a matter of principle. Essentially, you are paying crooks money to get them not to harass you in your own home. Nevertheless, I have known several people who paid to get on this list, but the telemarketers generally ignore it and call them anyway.

By and large, the most important piece of advice is simply to never, ever purchase, rent, or do business with a telemarketer under any circumstances - no matter how bad you actually wanted the product or service. Once you do, they will never leave you alone.

Telemarketers don't call U.S. Congressmen

For that reason, it is important that you let your Congressman know that there IS a problem and that laws are needed to restrain telemarketers. Telemarketers have a very powerful lobby in Washington that are convincing politicians that people actually wan't to receive calls from telemarketers. This is pure bull. It is going to take a lot of ticked off people like you and me to set the record straight and convince Congress to do something about this problem.

You can find your U.S. Congressman listed in the "Blue Pages" of your local telephone book.

FEEL FREE TO PRINT THIS WEB PAGE OUT AND SEND IT TO YOUR U.S. CONGRESSMAN. (Note that some browsers may not correctly print this page because of the white on black text. If you have trouble printing this page, use "Select All" from the EDIT menu and then "Copy" from the same menu. Then start up Notepad or other editor and select "Paste" from the EDIT menu. The entire web page will be placed in your editor where you can easily print the page.

Help Get The Word Out

The only way that anything will get done about this problem is if we get the word out. If you would like to help, place the quote "Do you want to know who has been calling you and hanging up when you answer the phone? Visit http://www.antitelemarketer.com/hangup.htm to find out." in your email signature file. This way, you will pass the word on to everyone that receives your email.

If you have additional questions about telemarketing that I haven't covered here, please feel free to send me email:

Only n/a people have visited this page. If that number seems small, see the section above titled "Help Get The Word Out". If nobody finds out that hang-up calls are really from telemarketers, nothing will ever get done about it.

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[The AntiTelemarketer's Source]