Paying to be annoyed

I’ve received a couple of recorded marketing calls on my mobile phone since I changed my number. I thought it was illegal to make such calls, so I dropped a line to Cingular. This is what they said:


So whose bright idea was it to change the rules so that people will (potentially) pay to be annoyed by telemarketers on their wireless phones? When did the rules change?

And who do we shoot for changing them?

Oh – If I get a call after my numbers are on the do-not-call list, how would I go about making a complaint? Do I get any money from the telemarketing company? Or does the fine go to the FCC?

Just go to the File a Complaint link on that site. I’ve done it many times. THey never called back either. The Direct Marketing Association in D.C. has an updated list of the Do-Not-Call numbers on their desk daily.

Er, really? I thought the plan to open up cell phones to telemarketing was an urban legend. Snopes says so, as does the linked page from the Federal Trade Commission.

Did the Cingular rep provide any cites for the regulation changes?

George Bush’s appointees on the FCC changed the rules. It was probably the ‘bright idea’ of the tele-marketing companies.

Additional comments on this should probably go into the pit, rather than GQ.

Do you have a cite for this? I’d be surprised as the FTC webpage linked to above appears to say otherwise, and I would expect them to keep their page current.

I saw a brief article about this today in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. according to the article, it is illegal in most cases.

So maybe they hit your cellphone by way of their general shotgun approach to marketing (I’ve had a couple - in Spanish, no less). The Do Not Call list should end this problem for you.

So hang on, just to clarify - If you have a cellphone, and I want to call you (say from my cellphone) that would cost me minutes that I’ve paid for, plus it would cost you minutes that you paid for on your own plan? And if you get unwanted calls like marketing or wrong numbers, you have to pay for them as well?

That’s a pretty ass-backward system. Everybody loses except for the phone companies.

I believe from their POV its called the perfect system.

The Cingular rep did not offer a site. What I quoted is what he sent.

Yeah, these were recorded messages in Spanish.

That’s mostly correct; only I think that Cingular-to-Cingular calls are free. (I’m not certain though.)

Let me guess – you’re not in the U.S.? When I lived in Australia, I was surprised to find out that calls I received on my mobile phone were free for me, and that I only paid for outgoing calls. I was used to the U.S. system where you pay for all calls (or at least minutes get used up on each call). I liked the Australian system better, although that said I still paid through the nose for service compared to the U.S. rates.


p.s. Furthermore, it costs more in Australia to call a mobile phone, no matter who is doing the calling. I.e., if I want to call you on your landline, it will cost $x per minute (or a flat fee per month, etc.), but if I want to call you on your mobile it will cost $x+y per minute. I normally gave people my landline number and had it forwarded to my mobile phone, so I ate the cost of getting calls on my mobile and others didn’t need to pay for it.


I can’t find any references to regulation changes on Google News, and the FCC’s page seems pretty emphatic that these kinds of calls are still illegal.

In Wisconsin our local Do Not Call laws are a lot beter than the Federal. Last year the telemarketing companies put a lot of effort into getting the Wisconsin law declared illegal or to get a ruling saying that the Federal law over rules our’s. This year I have heard about three attemps at calling that are illegal. It’s great to not be harassed, and all the states should pass the same law. It’s funded by the yearly fee for the list, and all unused funds are given back to the marketers at the end of the year. Now we need to get a list going for political calls. You shouldn’t have to listen to multiple campain calls that average five minutes.

Hang up.

They leave them on the answering machine and are up to five minutes each. The answering machine won’t erase until a message is played back fully once. You come home to a full machine and the calls that matter are not recorded, because the 15 minutes are used up.

Do you have the option of hitting 3 3 , that bypasses the voice message on my land line, but I dont know if cell voice mail boxes can do the same thing.