Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wait. Wait. Don't Hang UP!

The other day I received two solicitation calls on my cell phone.  I thought it was smarter than that.

The greater nuisance is that I seem to routinely receive about three calls on my land line where no one is on the line when I answer.  I accuse my older son of screening my calls with Caller ID to only answer when he wants to talk to me, but, while I don’t do this myself, it wouldn’t make much difference since the “hang-up” calls have ID of “Private”, “Unknown”, or on occasion “Blocked”.
And I subscribe to the national “Don’t Call” list.

That was a joke!  Several years ago people were told that if they no longer wanted solicitation calls, they could subscribe their telephone number to a national service that would make it illegal for a business to call residences unless they had a business relationship with them.  Marketers quickly learned that they could buy lists from venders and thereby establish a “relationship”.  What other explanation as to why I continued to get calls from services asking about a time share my oldest son sold twenty years ago?
And then the cell phone explosion took over.  We began to receive emails that would suggest we were soon to begin receiving solicitation calls on our mobile phones unless…well you can fill in the blanks as to unless what.  But these were pooh-poohed as cries of “Wolf!” and in fact that seemed to be just an unfounded fear.

But the land line calls continued.  And lately they seem to be increasing.  I learned that if someone is on the line you can effectively have short conversations by either hitting the “2” button, which disconnects many calls, or looking at the caller ID (any 877 or 800-series number is suspect) and letting the call go to voice, or answering and reminding the caller that “we do not take solicitation calls at this number, and please remove me from whatever list you got my name from.”
Seemingly, unsolicited facsimiles must have a “take me off your list” feature attached to the message, as do many of the lines where I dial the caller ID I see on my screen.  And this week I received my first two solicitation calls on my cell phone.  This frightens me.

But not as much as the calls that I answer, where the caller ID is “Private” or “Unknown” or “Blocked” and when I answer there is nothing but a “click”.
I have been told that these are most likely from a service that establishes the best time for a marketer to call and expect a pickup.  This information would be extremely interesting to a company seeking to solicit to a residence in a certain zip code or service area, and would have commercial value to such a company.

An interesting twist I recently heard is that with so many people forsaking their landlines and having only mobile phones, it has become increasingly difficult to cull demographic information from a phone. I make daily calls to people living in my area with area codes from Boston, or San Francisco, or Chicago, since that is where they originally set up their line.  This frustrates political pollsters who depend on determining a person’s income, and possibly even their ethnicity, creed, or political value from an area code.
Maybe that fact alone may cut down on nuisance calls, but I doubt it. I just interrupted this post to answer a call suggesting I might benefit from health plan, being offered in my locale.

I’ve decided that for my next post, since it will be near Valentine’s Day, I’ll share with you my feelings and findings on “love @ 75”.  Yes, it still exists.


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