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View Full Version : Dealing with computer-dialed sales calls


cristina61
09-30-2008, 07:07 PM
Recently there was a thread here discussing door-to-door sales people, and a few people (including myself) posted about these super-annoying telephone calls -- you know, the ones that are dialed by computers and are usually, but not always, just recorded messages (so you can't talk to a person to tell them to stop calling you).

I also saw a similar discussion not too long ago on Ravelry, and one person there described her method of dealing with these phone calls. I thought I would give it a try myself. I just put it to work today, so I should find out before long if it works.

You know when you accidentally dial a number that doesn't exist (this is in the US, I'm not sure how it works in other countries) and you get those three tones and then a recording that says something like, "The number you have dialed is no longer in service; please check your number and try again"?

I found a place on the internet where you can actually download those tones (and a lot of others). Then I changed the outgoing message on my answering machine -- when my machine picks up a call, the tones are played, followed by my normal announcement. It might confuse my friends a little bit, but when a computer hears those tones, it's fooled into thinking the number is no longer in service, so it disconnects . . . which means I don't have to listen to the sales pitch!

After a few months, I should stop getting calls like this completely!

At least, this is according to what the person on Ravelry said. I figure I'm so sick of those calls that I'm willing to be the guinea pig and test it out. If it really does work as well as she claimed, I'll let you know!

Jan in CA
09-30-2008, 07:35 PM
I've never heard of that technique before. Unless the call is one that comes all the time though how would you know? I know that for the most part it seems as if every call is different. They are incredibly annoying and a sneaky way to get around the 'do not call list'. Let us know how it goes!

cristina61
09-30-2008, 08:15 PM
Yeah, I tend to screen my calls anyway and only pick up when someone I know (or want to talk to) starts to leave a message.

I mentioned in a different thread that when I'm NOT screening I can always tell when a computer is calling me this way: if it's a computer-dialed call, when I pick up the receiver and say hello there will be a pause of 2-3 seconds before I hear either a person speaking or a recorded message. It's that pause that tells me to disconnect the call.

Anyway, I'm not sure yet if this new method is going to work, but I'm eager to find out.

suzeeq
09-30-2008, 09:41 PM
I hang up on 'em. If you have that on your answering machine or voicemail though, doesn't it take a while for it to kick in and the phonebot has gone on to the next call?

JustAFloridaGirl
09-30-2008, 09:51 PM
I hang up on 'em. If you have that on your answering machine or voicemail though, doesn't it take a while for it to kick in and the phonebot has gone on to the next call?

I think the computer just starts when it recognizes that the phone line has been picked up, regardless of whether it's an actual human or an answering machine. I've come home to answering machine messages that seemed to start in the middle of the sales pitch, so I figure it started talking when the answering machine picked up, talked through the answering machine message, and just kept going until the answering machine cut the call off.

Also, I'm not sure I would trust doing this. Yeah, friends and family who call on a regular basis may persist through the tones to listen to the rest of the message, but co-workers, bosses, potential employers, and distant relatives may hang up immediately. I know I hang up the instant I hear those tones, without waiting to hear the rest.

rachael72knitter
10-01-2008, 06:10 AM
Report them. A law was just passed deeming these types of computerized solicitation calls ILLEGAL unless it is for political campaigns.

Jan in CA
10-01-2008, 04:02 PM
Report them. A law was just passed deeming these types of computerized solicitation calls ILLEGAL unless it is for political campaigns.

I don't have caller ID and some of these call numbers won't even have any number when I *69 them. Ugh.

BTW..here's the ring tone. I may just try this, too.
http://junkbusters.com/sit-tone.wav

knitpurlgurl
10-01-2008, 05:42 PM
I have a little device called a TeleZapper (http://www.telephoneworld.com/phone_systems/customer/product.php?productid=44696&cat=512&page=1) that is hooked to my phone that sounds a tone every time the phone is answered to the other end. The computer dialed calls click off.

rachael72knitter
10-01-2008, 05:56 PM
I don't have caller ID and some of these call numbers won't even have any number when I *69 them. Ugh.

BTW..here's the ring tone. I may just try this, too.
http://junkbusters.com/sit-tone.wav

You might have to listen to the whole thing to see what the name of the company is and report just the name to your attorney general. You can also look up businesses and phone numbers on this link to see who it is calling you-

http://www.whocalled.us/
http://www.whojustcalledhere.com/

cristina61
10-02-2008, 05:51 PM
I don't have caller ID either, and with the warranty calls they don't give you a company name; they just tell you to press a digit to talk to a representative, which I've never wanted to do (they also tell you to press a different digit to have your name removed from their "list," but I know for a fact this doesn't work).

It's been a couple of days since I changed my outgoing message to include the tones, and it's still too early to tell how successful it is. As far as legitimate phone callers, the tones haven't caused a problem -- most people seem to ignore them and leave a message as usual. Nobody's even asked about them!

I've gotten two computer-dialed calls and both of them were as JustaFloridaGirl said, they started talking as soon as my machine picked up, so I only heard part of the message.

I normally get a lot of hang-up calls too, but there haven't been any in the last two days. So I'm going to keep my outgoing message as it is for awhile longer and see what happens. Basically at this point (two days in) I'd say it's not a total success but it hasn't caused me any problems, either.

I'll keep you posted!

ArtLady1981
10-02-2008, 08:36 PM
I think a computer-generated phone call hangs up on your phone when it realizes that an electronic device of any kind answers the phone.

*My remedy is this: pick up the phone, set it down...give it a few seconds to "register"...then hang up. The computer is satisfied that a call was connected...and takes you off the auto-dialer.

You know, most of the times if you DO pick up and say hello...no one is there! Eventually someone at the other end of the line in the war room sees a light go "on"...and they pick it up to talk. But by that time I'm already gone.

*I have taken myself off the auto-dialers this way numerous times. An auto-dialer is too stupid to know that no conversation took place. All it knows is that a person picked up, not an answering machine nor a voicemail service.

And, if someone at the other end is there, I love the thought of them listening to Judge Judy with me! :thumbsup: One time I left the phone face down of the arm of the sofa for several minutes...just letting them listen to Judge Judy! Teehee! :teehee: