Thursday, January 5, 2012

Please, do not plow my phone!

Today a snow plow visited our tiny street. Fourteen times.

According to the FTC there are more than 300 million numbers listed on the Do Not Call registry with an average of 8 million added each year. Yet only a mere 35,000 or so businesses bothered to access the registry in 2010 before launching their telemarketing efforts.

Today’s weather was sunny with temps reaching into the low 40s. It’s been at least two days since it snowed and most of what was left melted yesterday when temps touched in the mid-30s.

So it was nothing less than with amazement that I watched as the plow kept going up and down our street scraping wet pavement.

This week we’ve gotten calls from various vendors and organizations – all unsolicited – asking us to buy or give.

Our phone numbers are listed on the Do Not Call registry. We marvel at the calls with a mixture of amazement and annoyance.

I’m assuming the plow driver was merely killing time until the end of his shift. Why he picked our street for this I don’t know. But his efforts were pointless. He was wasting time, fuel, and taxpayer money while causing unneeded wear to the street.

But he just kept plowing, back and forth, up and down the slushy street for about an hour. The sound was as annoying as fingernails on a chalkboard.

Telemarketers who ignore the Do Not Call registry are a lot like that plow driver.

They call over and over, ignoring pleas to remove numbers from their list and to not call again. In fact, the FTC fined one consulting company $500,000 for training reps to ignore such requests:
“According to the complaint, Americall’s training manual instructed its reps that, absent additional information, people who say ‘Don’t call again,’ ‘Don’t call me back,’ or ‘I do not accept solicitation call [sic]’ shouldn’t be placed on the entity-specific Do Not Call list of the company on whose behalf Americall was calling. That, says the FTC, violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule” (
Worse than the live reps who come on the line unintelligibly spitting out their spiel are the robo-calls. With a live caller you can at least talk to them and hopefully convince them to not call again. Or, at the least, vent some of your annoyance.

With robo-calls, you can try pressing 9 to have your number delisted, but there’s no guarantee it will work.

When a telemarketer ignores a do not call request, they are essentially plowing a bare street. The behavior is not dissimilar to the definition of insanity; doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

What they are accomplishing in most instances is increasing the frustration of the called which in turns drives away the very business or support they seek.

Even those who are excepted from the Do Not Call requirements should reconsider calling.

Do not call means very simply, do NOT call! If a person has gone to the trouble of adding numbers to the registry it’s pretty clear they don’t want to be solicited by phone. This is true even if for a worthy cause or a company the called has done business with.

Simply put, making sales calls to people who don’t want to be called makes as much sense as plowing a snowless street 14 times on a sunny day.


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