I realize what I am about to rant about may not be the most important subject on the planet. Still, I find it to be a pain in the ass. Plus, I believe it’s something that could be easily stopped. The subject of my ire is what is called Robocalls. I currently am getting 4 to 5 calls a day asking if I want a business loan, health insurance, or a car insurance quote. I want none of these but still feel I must answer the phone in case it’s actually something important. We have an institution called The U.S. Congress that could put a stop to this, but they can’t seem to pull their heads out of their asses long enough to solve the big problems. There is a website from Consumer’s Union and Consumers Reports that is called EndRobocalls.org which is trying to end this annoying practice. Until technology allows us to reach our hands through our smartphones so we can strangle the person on the other side, I suggest you join this effort to stop this criminal offense against our ear drums.
Let’s talk about the people who run and work at these nefarious organizations. At best they are the ambulance chasers of mobile phone technology. They make cold calls to people hoping just a small percentage will respond favorably. These cold calls are often a shot in the dark. I still get calls about car insurance, even though I gave my information to an insurance website over three years ago. I get calls about health insurance policies even though I’m on Medicare. As soon as I tell them that, they hang up. Moreover, I found out the reason I get calls about business loans is because I have this website. I’ve had it for almost nine years and have still not made enough money on Google Ads to get a check. People need jobs. I get that. But why can’t they work for McDonalds or Kroger’s? They are always hiring. Therefore, I have no sympathy for the person who has interrupted my dinner. I consider them lowlifes.
Sometimes, I like to have fun with them. I will hit 1 on the dial pad so I can speak to a live person. I convinced one guy who wanted to give me a business loan that I needed 15 million dollars to expand my 14 Chinese restaurants in Columbus to 28. I told him my business plan was to double my restaurants by 2026. But with his loan, I could make this happen in half the time. I used possibly the worst Chinese accent in the history of communication. It was a cross between Chinese, Italian, and English. He seemed interested. After about 10 minutes I told him I only wanted to do business with smart people. I asked him if he was smart and he assured me he was. I then asked if he was so smart how come he had spent 10 minutes talking to a man about a 15 million dollar loan who had the worst Chinese accent in the world. There was a long silence. He then hung up the phone. I figured the 10 minutes he spent with me were 10 minutes he was not able to ambulance chase another person.
Of course, then there are the scams. You can usually be put on their do not call list. Often you can do this by hitting 2 on your dial pad when you receive the call. However, based on the number of calls I continue to get, that clearly doesn’t work. I can imagine a group of Robo callers sitting in the break room laughing about the “do not call list.” This doesn’t even account for the robocalls that are true scams. I’ve had a supposed representatives from Dell, Microsoft, and Quicken call and want to take control of my computer so they can fix the 329 problems they found on my PC. For a price. Find the actual tech numbers for these companies and call them directly if you have an actual problem with your PC.
These are the same people who try and sell you magazines to put themselves through college. The same group that scalps ticket telling you they are on the 50-yard line. The same unscrupulous idiots who stand on the street and ask you for money because they just ran out of gas for their non-existent automobile.
Something needs to be done and we may have a start. Here’s an email I received.
Huge news! After a year of organizing, you and thousands of fellow anti-robocalls activists just achieved a major win. On Friday, 33 companies, 2 federal regulators, and the Department of Justice sat down at a historic summit to face the robocalls crisis. By the end of the day, all the major phone companies, led by AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, announced the creation of a Strike Force to take on the robocalls epidemic.
I wish you could have been there to see it: in front of national press and the heads of the Federal Communications Commission, Stephenson and other phone company executives pledged to outline a clear line of attack against robocalls by October 19th.
We applaud AT&T for listening to the thousands of customers and robocalls activists who have pressed them to do more. And I want to be crystal clear: your activism got consumers a seat at the table. There’s simply no way that all these powerful executives and government officials would have come together to deal with this problem if you hadn’t convinced them — strategically, effectively, and repeatedly — that robocalls are a major problem demanding major solutions.
Over the next two months, we will keep up the pressure to ensure that the Strike Force doesn’t produce just another set of empty promises. Even when we have an actionable plan from the Strike Force, it’ll take continued oversight and perseverance to move from talk to action, and see a tangible reduction in the number of pernicious robocalls to our phones. But today, I hope you can savor a victory and sign of progress made entirely possible by your hard work.
Onward to victory!
Tim Marvin, EndRobocalls.org
Consumers Union, Policy and Action from Consumer Reports
If you’re as sick of this as I am it’s time to take action while it appears there’s some interest by the FCC and the Justice Department. The formation of the Strike Force is a positive step. However, we will need to keep pressure on the policy makers or this subject will be forgotten. I suggest you contact your congressperson, the FCC, and by all means vote. Hopefully, I can then sit down to dinner without telling some moron I don’t need a business loan.