I know I'm not the only one who hates telemarketers. For one thing, telemarketers are evil -- like biting insects. Everyone wants to swat them, but they skitter away. Also, there are too many of them, so your efforts eventually feel futile.
Rather than resign ourselves to being harassed, consumers banded together in protest, and the Do Not Call Registry was formed in 2003 -- but that wasn't enough. The Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the states enforce the National Do Not Call Registry, but putting your phone number on it no longer seems to be effective. You also have to take the time to report telemarketers who ignore the DNC; otherwise, they just carry on.
[ Also on InfoWorld: Telemarketers aren't the mobile industry's only problem. According to the Better Business Bureau, cell phone makers and carriers top the list of consumer tech complaints | Frustrated by tech support? Get answers in InfoWorld's Gripe Line newsletter. ]
Many consumers, myself included, cancelled our landline to escape the swarm of telemarketers. Do the Baby Bells know how many customers they lost forever because of these pests?
Now we hide behind our cell and VoIP phones. But even though the FCC bans automatic dialing to cell phones and it's easy to put your mobile number on the DNC, the insects have found us again, and there's no escape. Not for me anyway -- I always have my cell phone with me. It's a much more immediate and personal form of communication than that landline ever was.
These days, when I get a telemarketing call, it's not just interrupting my supper -- it's interrupting my life. So here is my gripe: Telemarketers are back, and this time it's personal.
When I got a press release recently announcing a product designed to stop this invasion, I set up a conference call right away to hear more about it. I found myself having a delightful conversation with PrivacyStar CEO Jeff Stalnaker. The company makes an application ($2.95 a month after a 30-day trial) for BlackBerrys that not only blocks telemarketing calls, but automates the process of reporting the calls to the Do Not Call Registry.