Goddamn Political Exception To DONOT CALL

This healthcare debate has jammed my landline’s inbox with "urgent " phone messages from BOTH sides. Further, almost every call I take in person on that line is something to do with the healthcare bill.

BOTH sides think I pay for that line just to hear canned messages from John McCain or the local AARP director.

DO NOT CALL should mean just that. No political exemptions! Furthermore, I believe that all telephone campaigners operating under current law should adhere to the spirit of the law, obtain the DO NOT CALL list and, exemption be damned, DON’T CALL ANYONE ON THAT LIST!!!

Mmmm, donot call.

That damned 1st Amendment…

PS I agree with you. Same thing for charities; no exceptions. Makes me a heartless bastard I suppose.

This has nothing to do with the 1st amendment. It has everything to do with politicians always exempting themselves from legislation which would personally inconvenience them.

Maybe we should all “run” for office, then keep calling the politicians with stupid ideas every 5 minutes. We’ll be nice and not call anyone else, just those in office.

Last year I keep getting robo calls from some guy running for office, I think I got 12 or so over a couple of days. Problem was I was not in his district, I don’t know how he got my number. I emailed them, called them, but they kept coming.

That was funny, and I agree. Wait. Holy hell! Sam Stone and I agree about something?? There is hope for the universe!

I recruit people for focus groups and occasionally we have to cold call people because we don’t have enough people in our database for location/specific attributes. Plus, although I don’t do it too often, unless they’re short-handed in that department, we do phone surveys/opinion polls. Those aren’t covered by the Do Not Call list either because we’re not selling anything, and I’m always having to explain that to people. I get yelled at and hung up on a lot when I’m doing either of those.

With the surveys, all you’re doing is asking people their opinion on whatever the topic is. I would bet the same type of people who bitch and hang up, or hang up without saying anything (I hate those, because we’re just going to call you back unless you tell me specifically not to) are the same types of people who you’ll hear bitching things like “Nobody ever asked me MY opinion” or “Those polls are fake.” Excuse me Mister, I’m trying to ask you your opinion. That can get depressing.

Cold call hangups/rudeness on focus groups are not depressing at all though. In fact, truth be told, I get a bit of a thrill out of it. I call somebody to offer them money…WE PAY THEM for participating, and if I get hung up on or bitched out then hung up on before I even have a chance to explain what I’m calling about, I’m going to do some smirking and think to myself “You just lost out on $500.00* sir, have a nice day.” I’d never EVER say anything like that outloud. I’m very polite and good at my job, but sometimes, my inner voice can’t help but throw out a silent “dick, you don’t deserve the money if that’s how you treat people” toward the phone as I’m hanging it up.

*or whatever amount, it’s usually less, but we have offered that much.

Count me as someone else who believes that the DNC list should apply to everyone, including political parties, charities, whatever.

I’d be in favor if some sort of system whereby you could check boxes allowing such groups to call you, but if you don’t want them to call, then they should have to abide by the list just like for-profit companies.

The fact that i don’t want some politician or nonprofit group calling me does not infringe on their freedom of speech. And i feel this way about all of them, whether or not i agree with their particular message.

I’m totally against the DNC list.

Why?

Because it should be a do call list.

I shouldn’t have to “opt out” of something I didn’t “opt into” in the first place.

If someone is stupid enough to want telemarketing calls, they can actively sign up for the damn things. Make it so that by default no one can call – no exemptions. The only unsolicited calls I want are from the police, telling me they’ve found my stolen car, or someone telling me I’ve won something (for real!), or in general someone who isn’t trying to sell me something, or get something from me (my time or my vote).

Most people don’t want to receive annoying, unsolicited phone calls, so the system should cater to the majority. Make it a “do call” list.

The problem here is that you’re assuming it’s convenient for people to answer the phone when you call. I sleep in the daytime, usually, and all my friends and family know better than to try to call me on the phone before 3 PM. Even if my husband hands me the phone, there’s no reason to expect that I’ll be coherent. So no, I don’t want you cold calling me at 8 AM. When I was younger, I HATED phone calls during my child’s nap time.

Also, in my experience, a lot of marketing services used fake or very easy surveys to entice people into engaging a sales rep. I worked as a telemarketer myself (very briefly) and we called people up, asking them “Which president was shot and killed in the 1960s?” and when they answered “Kennedy”, we’d tell them that they’d won the opportunity to buy magazines at a very special price, and go into our sales pitch. I was on the receiving end of a lot of these calls, too. If someone called me up and asked me if I wanted to be part of a focus group, frankly, I’d be certain that this was actually a sales pitch aimed at getting me to come to an Amway/Quixtar recruiting session. I’m sure that your company is pure as the driven snow, but frankly, the marketing companies have poisoned the pool so badly for you that all you’re going to get are the hopelessly naive.

NO list should be opt-out. ALL lists should be opt-in. The potential target should have to check something, or in some way specifically agree to be contacted. For instance, I just bought something from Newegg today. When providing my contact info, I noticed a box that had to be unchecked in order to tell them not to spam me. Boxes should not be checked by default, a consumer should have to specifically check a box that allows commercial email.

Also, I don’t want any more recorded messages. A real human should have to be on that phone from the start, to deliver the message. This includes debt collection agencies…just having the message say “If you are not <deadbeat’s name> please hang up now” is not enough, as I find these messages on my answering machine all the time.

Don’t you know? The law is only for the little people! Afterall, this is the USA, dang it! (The United Screwing of America!)

Caller ID = awesome

Setting your phone to ring many times before it goes to voicemail so you always have enough time to find the phone and answer it = awesome

Having to sit next to a ringing phone while you wait for Toll Free Number to go to voicemail in case it’s actually something you need to hear = sux :frowning:

We’ve reached the point where the only calls we ever get on our land line are robo-calls or political calls. So we never answer it. It’s there in case we or a baby sitter need to call 911. So we have the ringer set to off and every other week or so I clear off the voice mails.

Do not call should mean no one ever cold calls my number for any reason. And any charity or political cause that I’ve given to in the past (that means you, Red Cross) should be smart enough to realize that calling me will make me wish I hadn’t. Ask me on my form if I want you to call–don’t assume I’m interested. I am not.

Do you folks have non-published numbers? True, it’s not free. But we don’t get these calls, and if that’s the reason why we don’t, it’s even more worth it than I thought it was before.

Honestly, I don’t assume it’s convenient. I don’t like bothering people when they’re eating or sleeping. We do ask if there’s a more convenient time and schedule call-backs.

I’m a night person too, and usually sleep during the day so I understand. Generally, with some exceptions, the day shift does the calling to businesses and rarely to individuals. My night shift calls individuals, but only until 9pm.

We’re not supposed to call anybody before 9:00am or after 9:00pm, and if it happened it would be a mistake and definitely not policy. We’re in the Central time zone and are always aware of time differences. If we’re calling the east coast we stop by 8pm our time, which would be 9 their time. If we’re calling the west coast, we stop at 10 (8 their time, but we only stay later on the rare occasions we’re calling Alaska or Hawaii).

I understand that. We’re not mind-readers and if I called at a bad time I’d apologize up one side and down the other.

I know. The assholes made it hard for all of us. I could never work at that kind of job, and I don’t blame people for being wary.

I understand that too, believe me. It makes me feel bad when people think we’re trying to scam them, but I do understand it. I try to get in quick with a “This is not a sales call” and if I have time after I tell them why I’m calling (say, in the case of a cold call paid focus group) I tell them I understand their feelings if it sounds too good to be true and give them our web site address and a toll-free number they can call us back after they’ve checked us out. If people are wary of going to a web site (and I understand that too) they have our company name and can Google us. We’re a nationwide company, in business almost 30 years, and easily found by any search engine. That happens a lot, where we get calls back from people we’ve cold called. Once they’re at ease, then it’s easy to explain what I’m calling about.

You’re right, so I’m always very careful to give them as much info as I can. I was mainly reacting to the real assholes who abuse me and my co-workers. There’s no need for that. We’re not selling anything and in some cases we’re trying to give money away! A simple ‘no thank you, take me off your list’ is fine. It takes 2 seconds, and we won’t call you again.

Speaking of, I once almost started a “Ask the Marketing Research drone” thread just to say one thing: to tell people that if the person on the other end just hangs up without saying anything, the number recycles and we’ll call them again. Why? We can’t read minds. We don’t know if now was a bad time but another time would be ok (that happens a lot). We don’t know if we have the right number. We don’t know if you’re even the person we’re supposed to talk to. We might want to talk to the Mrs. about shopping at a store she absolutely loves and she’d be happy to take our customer satisfaction survey, but the husband answers the phone, hears “Hello, my name is Equipoise and I’m calling from…” click, they hang up. We don’t know anything, except that we called a number and someone hung up. It might be because they’re not interested but we don’t know. Until we talk to a real person and get some sort of input, we have to keep calling back.

A simple “Take me off your list” will result in us taking your number off our list within 5 seconds and you shouldn’t be called again. For surveys, if we get hangups or answering machines (we never leave messages), we call back up to (I think) 7 times during the run of the survey. Sometimes people will yell “WOULD YOU QUIT CALLING!! I’VE TOLD YOU!” but when I probe a bit it turns out they never told anybody, they just kept hanging up. That’s not telling us.

For cold call focus groups, we always leave a message on the answering machine/voice mail with the company name, a brief explanation of why we’re calling, and the phone number. They can and most of the time do look us up before they call back. I love getting answering machines when I’m cold calling for focus groups. At least I get to explain myself.
Thank goodness most of our focus group calls come from the database, people who’ve signed up with us. We don’t have to go through the rigmarole of explaining who we are and what we do, or, as in the case of 80-90% of my focus group cold calls, explaining what a “focus group” is. It’s shocking how many people have never heard of a focus group.
Sorry for the hijack zenith.

Lemme guess, the money is “awsome”, right?

See, this is precisely why even companies like yours, which claim that they really don’t want to annoy anyone, still annoy the fuck out of people.

If you call someone and they hang up on you, then you should be responsible enough to recognize that they don’t want to talk to you, and take the number of your call list without calling back. You can spout all the bullshit you want about needing to talk to the right person, or making sure that they’re really not interested, but the fact is that, in cases like this, you know very well that they’re not interested, and you keep calling anyway.

If they don’t want to let you get through your spiel, that’s your bad luck, not their problem. You should still take them off the list. If it’s the husband who answers, and you really want to talk to the wife, then that’s your bad luck again. As far as you are concerned, once someone from the house makes very clear—by hanging up—that they don’t want to be called, then you should stop calling.

If i hang up on you, then it is, or should be, irrelevant to you whether or not my wife would like to take your survey. By hanging up, i have spoken for our household on the matter, and that should be the end of it. Same if it’s me you’re after, and my wife hangs up on you. Your only excuse for calling more than once should be if you get an answering machine or voicemail, or if they specifically tell you to call back at another time.

I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules, I just work there and have no input into the process. I’d give up after the 2nd time if it were up to me. I don’t work in that department much anymore, I’m in the focus group department now and I like it a lot better. As I said, most of the focus groups we recruit for use people from the database. Most of my work is calling people and saying “Hi, this is ___ from ___, we have an upcoming focus group, would you have a few minutes to go through a screener to see if you qualify?” and the almost universal reaction is “Yeah, definitely!” with the occasional “I can’t at this moment, but I’ll call you back” and no one is abusive and no one is surprised by our calls and everyone’s happy to hear from us. At least until they go through the screener and don’t qualify for that particular focus group, then they’re disappointed and I’m disappointed for them, but even then, it’s “I’m sorry, you don’t qualify for this particular focus group, but we’ll keep you in mind for future groups” and they usually say “Ok, great, thanks!” and that’s it. It’s a joy.

I never said you did, and it’s irrelevant. You said what rules your company works under, and i explained why i think those rules are bullshit, and why attempts to justify the ongoing calls are disingenuous.

I wasn’t attempting to “justify” them, I was just explaining some of the reasoning behind why, and mainly, to explain so that anyone reading this will know why it’s better to take 3 seconds and say “Take me off your list” than to just hang up without saying anything. I can’t speak for other companies, but ours, we abide by it religiously. A “Take me off your list” will ensure that you will get no more calls from us.

One of my most bizarre incidents involves our Congressman, Lee Terry, whose people dialed me up at my equivalent of 4 a.m. (Yes, I work nights ,too.) and invited me to participate in a “telephone town hall meeting”. I hung up and went back bed.

Three days later, I get a form letter from my old pal Lee thanking me for my participation in the telephone town hall meeting. WTF?

Oh, by the way, if you want me to participate in a survey, please email me. I can open an email when I’m wide awake and in the mood.