The telemarketing arms race heats up

A maker of dialing technology products has crafted a new new telemarketer tool that trumps the popular TeleZapper. For a lot of people who bought a TeleZapper or made their own, this new telemarketing tool would definitely suck!

Worse yet, according to the news article, the new tool by Castel would also allow telemarketers to broadcast a caller id signal. By relaying the caller id information, the telemarketers could effectively negate the “annoynous mall reject” and Privacy Manager style services sold by the phone companies like SBC, Verizon and the like.

On the plus side, if you can imagine such a thing, the FCC outlines specific rules about broadcasting caller id information: the telemarketers must identify the name of the company who is paying for the Telemarketing (for example, “Mastercard”) and the number that would reach the program offices (ie the Mastercard phone number). So, at the very least you could see that it might be a telemarketer and then make your own decision to answer or not.

Of course, the obvious answer to deterring the 104 million calls a day to U.S. businesses and consumers is a nationwide “Do Not Call” list. Texas already has one, but a nationwide bill is not expected to be passed anytime soon. Why not? Who wants to be the politician who goes up against the three million jobs such a list might cost the telemarketing agencies or the $528 million in long distance fees the top 75 telemarketers spent last year?

Keep me on the Texas Do Not Call list, but –for the love of Pete, people– quit buying $660 billion of stuff from telemarketers, OK? If you don’t buy anything, they won’t try to sell you anything, OK? Get with the program!

P.S. Since we’re on the subject, some of you may be wondering how to file a complaint if you are still receiving telemarketing calls after you signed up for the Texas no call list. Complaints for telemarketing calls are handled by the Texas PUCT in the Consumer Protection Division. They have a “no-call complaint form” available online here.