[thechat] Spam Phone Calls

Martin Burns martin at easyweb.co.uk
Sat Nov 16 17:18:00 CST 2002

On Sat, 16 Nov 2002, Joe Crawford wrote:

> On Sun, 17 Nov 2002, Syed Zeeshan Haider wrote:
> > Do these Spam Phone Calls really exist in your country (specially USA)?
> > If they do then:
> > Are the answering machines only remedy of such calls?
> > Are there any laws to prevent such calls?
> The "Spam Phone Calls" do exist. Often automated, but not necessarily. The
> field is called "Telemarketing" which is part of "Direct Marketing" --

That is to say it's an ugly subset of Telemarketing, and is absolutely
neither best practise nor actually cost effective when viewed long term
(which is how *all* DM is properly viewed). Done professionally and costed
accurately, calling a genuine, qualified prospect will cost tens of
pounds. If you're spending that much, you really, really don't want to be
pissing people off, unless setting fire to large bundles of banknotes is
your major hobby.

Just a case of a small number of dumbfucks giving the rest of the industry
a bad name. Can't speak for anywhere outside the UK (plus Germany &
Holland), but here, direct marketeers are generally very professional, and
realise that spamming people is just plain stupid because it doesn't make
any money. If it's not based on return on investment & lifetime value of a
customer, it's not Direct Marketing.

> As to remedy, there are mechanisms to opt out, but essentially there's not
> much one can do but hang up.

Perhaps in some countries. In the UK, we have an industry organisation
called the Telephone Preference Service. This is an opt-out database, and
anyone making outbound calls is legally obliged to clean their lists
against it.  Calling anyone who's on the TPS db is an instant UKP 25k fine
- it's a criminal offence too, not a civil one.


Calling people at random (eg a sequential number campaign) is also
strictly off limits.

We also have a reasonably strong Data Protection regime, where data users
have to register what data they're collecting, how they're collecting it
and what they're planning to do with it, plus while they're holding it,
use it properly.


By the way, most Telemarketing software is set up such that there is an
automated dialer which will attempt to call the numbers in the database
according to a rule-set (eg "3 attempts over 5 days between the hours of
10am and 7pm") and the call will only get allocated to an agent if it is
answered by a human (ie answering machines don't count). This is vastly
cheaper than having the agents placing the calls.

"Names, once they are in common use, quickly
 become mere sounds, their etymology being
 buried, like so many of the earth's marvels,
 beneath the dust of habit." - Salman Rushdie

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