Heard of the Telezapper? Does it work?

Radio Shack is advertising a new gadget: the Telezapper, which reduces telemarketing calls by sending a tone back to the telemarketer which electronically tells their machine that your number is disconnected; then your number is dropped from their dialing list. Does anyone have any input about the efficacy of this? It sounds great, but I’m suspicious. First, it’s a Radio Shack product, and second, I can’t believe telemarketers aren’t going to join en masse and outlaw the device. Anybody have any info to share?

It’s major drawback is that it only works for companies that use predictive dialing equipment.

Personally, I think a simple “Put me on your do-not-call list” is more effective.

Damn it, it’s its, not it’s. :smiley:

I think it does work. Not always the case, but as DMC said, they have to use certain equipment.

I have worked for a fax company and have worked with machines that do auto dialing mass scale to send faxes and will drop phone number when the number is not a fax number.

As for legality, it is legal and telemarketers should not try to get around this as it is our right to not receive phone calls.

They did a test on it on the local news. The verdict was thumbs down.

I read how a device like the Telezapper works; they may or may not work on the same principle.

The device answer and makes that progressively louder “boop Boop BOOP!” tone like when you call a number that has been disconnected. If the equipment making the call is “smart”, it is looking for this tone so it can remove the currently called number from its list. It doesn’t want to spend time calling disconnected numbers, that’s not going to be a source of revenue.

Ironically, this method will work on only the more sophisticated telemarketing equipment. The cheap stuff that doesn’t try to detect tones won’t be smart enough to be fooled.

What is predictive dialing equipment? I have had a phenomenon since my wife and I moved to my current home; we seem to get increasing numbers of calls that hang up when we pick up. I have two hypotheses - (a) telemarketers had automatic equipment that called my house and determined if anyone picked up the phone, confirming that the number was “live” so it could be called later, or (b) my wife had taken a boyfriend, and he was hanging up when he heard me answer.

If predictive dialing equipment is what is described under hypothesis (a) above, I am going to be really mad. I can’t count the number of times when I have had to heave my bloated frame off of the couch to answer the phone, disturbing my repose, only to find a crank-style call. So is that what predictive dialing equipment is?

I bought the TeleZapper online from the company that makes it (Privacy Technologies) but have since seen them at Radio Shack. I got it for my father as a Christmas gift specifically so he could be my guinea pig which he was more than happy to do because he hates telemarketers with a passion.

The device works by making a tone when the phone is picked up by either a person or the answering machine that is the start on that three-tone sound made by numbers that have been disconnected which all telemarketer automated equipment recongnizes as a sign to take the number off their calling list (or so the Telezapper marketing literature claims). It does NOTHING to stop human telemarketers from calling, only those that use the automated equipment (which I would say is about 75% of them - you know because these are the ones with the long pause where you have to say “Hello” three times before the person comes on with their sales pitch).

Dad has been using it since January and he says he thinks he still gets a lot of telemarketer calls, though he admits it’s hard to tell if the number has gone down.

My parents have a TeleZapper. They think that it helps.

Alot of telemarketers have automatic dialing devices that dial 6 or so numbers at a time. If someone else picks up before you do, it simply disconnects when you answer, to try again later.

BTW, instead of using a special device like the telezapper, you can simply record the disconnect tone in front of your regular answering machine message. The effect will be the same. However, neither will work if the above mentioned computer dialing is done and someone else answers first.


It’s quite possible that you are dealing with predictive dialing equipment. It is pretty powerful equipment, but one of the many things that it does is make a phone call before the operator comes on the line. Some systems will play a recorded message while you wait, others don’t.

I still say the phrase “Put me on the do not call list” is the most effective method. It works with all equipment, even if the telemarketer is using a standard phone, and is 100% effective, unless the telemarketer likes being taken to court.