back to article Telco sets honey pot for nuisance marketers

A small telco has decided to turn the tables on irritating unsolicited calls by setting up a block of dummy phone numbers that play messages to trick marketers into lenghty and pointless sales pitches. The wheeze is the work of Andrews and Arnold (AAISP), a small business provider, and was prompted by a deluge of unsolicited …

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  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    How about ...

    ... getting the telemarketers to talk to each other?

    With 4 million lines, the chances are there'll be more than one illegal caller in the system at any given time. Instead of playing recorded messages to each one individually, it should be possible to connect 2 of them together. That way each will be talking to a real person and eliciting "normal" responses from them,.

    You never know, if they're any good, they might end up selling each other some unwanted stuff.

    1. Gordon Henderson
      Thumb Up

      Connecting them to themselves...

      I did something similar a while back - kept getting pestered by a company called (Ironically) "The Listening Company". Anyway, I detected their number coming in on my home BT line and bridged the call back out to their own 0800 number via VoIP... Haven't heard from them since...

    2. PsychicMonkey
      Thumb Up

      What a brilliant idea!

      Lets hope they guy who set it up is reading these comments!

      I love the idea of two marketeers talking to each other, not really listening to the answers and trying to sell!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wanted to do this

    With a clever answerphone message, no need to declare that its a recording or anything - what's the point, they're outside the law with regard to the TPS. We could have a competition as to who can get the highest call time.

    " Hello? .. yes, OK, what are you selling? ... sounds great, what do i have to do? Oh, hang on, there's someone at the door ...

    (interlude clearly audible to anyone with a headset, man delivering new luxury motor or something) .

    ....Right, back with you now, gosh, you'll never guess what's turned up, have you heard of the Toyota Prius? - insert worthy anecdote here - , so, sorry, what were you selling again? ...

    repeat and develop as necessary.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Funniest thing I've heard for quite a while

    4,000,000 lines and apparently some of the tele-marketers are calling up and trying their own version of a DDOS by putting them on hold to tie up their lines. I think the Rev has it right, Morons.

  4. noboard
    FAIL

    Is that all

    I've had them on the line for over half an hour, even went through to a supervisor as the guy was so desperate to make a sale.

    If I'm not doing anything when they call I always keep them on the line as long as possible as their whole business model revolves around talking to as many people as possible. If we all held them up pretending to want what they're selling, they'd soon go out of business.

    1. Disco-Legend-Zeke
      Pint

      "Can You Please Tell Me...

      ...the model number on your copier? It's right on the front."

      "hold on ill go look, it's on the third floor....

      tick

      tick

      KLIK (waterning farmville crops>)

      ...FIVE!"

      etc.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      I managed something similar

      I was at home when got a call from someone selling conservatories. Kept him going for about 15 - 20 minutes, asking about options, double glazing, heaters, etc. I think I spoiled it for him when I said "I know that building techniques have advanced, but just one little thing - exactly how are you going to attach a conservatory to my third floor flat?"

      I nearly had a little toilet accident at his reply :)

      Anonymous coz I don't want retribution

      1. Piers
        Happy

        Ha - you're A. B. aren't you?

        Haaaaaaaa!

      2. heyrick Silver badge
        Happy

        @ AC ("Third floor flat")

        Brilliant! I think I will file that for future reference. After all, it's a cold call on a phone number, how are they to know any different?

    3. John Tserkezis
      Thumb Up

      Is that all?

      "I've had them on the line for over half an hour, even went through to a supervisor as the guy was so desperate to make a sale."

      Well done!

      However, this was purely a recorded message, no smarts AT ALL. 3.5 minutes is quite good.

      Considering they had a human marketer on the phone for more than three minutes with an answering machine, that MUST say something..

      But yes, we used to take the micky out of them too. My boss (yes!) used to put the phone on hands free, and motion us into his office. We'd stand around trying to stifle the laughs while he managed to get the marketer to insult HIM.

  5. Chris Hatfield
    Pint

    utter genius

    What a superb idea! I'd love to make a (modest) donation to this project.

  6. Jolyon Ralph

    What I was going to do with my old ISDN phone system

    ... was program a dungeon game into it.

    "You are in a twisty cave of passages. Press 1 to go north, press 2 to go east, press 3 to go west, press # to kill the grue."

    The idea was that any sales calls for me could get transferred into the dungeon. If they work their way out, it dials to my extension and I'd talk to them.

    Sadly I never got time to get more than the first room done, so it was never used! Don't use phone systems any more (anyone want an old ISDN phone exchange?)

    1. Anon the mouse

      Genius

      in the evil sense...... surely a modern system could do this even easier for you.

    2. g e

      spooky

      I actually made a small dungeon once on an old Envox CTI system some years ago, was actually quite funny :o)

  7. Cliff

    @Pete 2

    Utterly, utterly brilliant :-)

    Nothing beats a bit of live telemarketer on telemarketer action

  8. Just Thinking

    Whats the point?

    I am not totally sure why telemarketers bother calling TPS registered numbers. They are phoning someone who has already said they don't want to be cold called, what possible chance do they have of making a sale?

    1. Arctic fox

      autodialling

      Says in the article. They anticipate that most of the calls will made with illegal autodialling rather than anyone being such a dickhead that they ring someone who basically has already said "f*** off.

      1. Dave Bell

        And the staff sound very foreign

        This is getting to be a nuisance, and it's hard to identify just who is making the call.

        I can't afford to mess around with these people. And "f*** off!" doesn't work. I think they have more nthan one list they're working through.

  9. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Happy

    I'd pay for this service

    Especially if the charged me for each minute of telemarketer

    time wasted

  10. dephormation.org.uk
    Happy

    Premium Rate Lines?

    Then telemarketing people could fund discount telephone services for AAISP customers, by calling premium rate honeypot lines.

    And there I was thinking telemarketing people were a pointless waste of space.

    Someone has found a use for them at last, genius.

  11. Ugotta B. Kiddingme
    Pint

    BRAVO!

    well done! Beer on me for the telco and Pete2 (for his even more excellent idea).

    Only suggested improvement for the telco idea is to remove the admission that the line is a honeypot. Let the bastards figure it out on their own.

  12. frank ly
    Happy

    Honeypot...

    ... sweet. :)

  13. A J Stiles
    Heart

    AAISP *rock*

    That is all.

  14. ender

    Re: How about ...

    From the blog:

    "Yeh, one idea if we get enough callers so there are always a few concurrently is drop them all in to one big conference call and stream it live on a web page."

    1. g e

      Utterly superb

      </nuff>

  15. ArmanX
    Thumb Up

    This could do so, so much more

    Three and a half minutes? Pah! With a little programming, these lines could potentially waste hours of the telemarketer's time! Start with "hello" and wait for the marketer to go into his monologue, and keep listening until the line goes silent. When it does, play a message like "Huh, that's interesting - can you tell me more?" At this point, you go into a loop, playing messages that ask for more information, details, pricing, etc; keep them suitably vague so they work for the largest number of callers. Meanwhile, in the background of the call, play some background noises - pots and pans banging, typing, baby crying, etc. Every two or three "keep them talking" questions, interrupt them speaking and play a recording that asks the caller to "Hold on, I have to (check my stove, feed the baby, answer a call on another line, etc.), could you hang on, won't be but a minute!", and then just wait for two or three minutes - and of course, ask them to repeat themselves when you "return". Every time it plays the "interrupted" message, double the time; eventually you'll have them on the line for quite a while.

    Given a few recordings, I'm sure you could tweak it to last the longest amount of time. I'm all for it!

    1. Christoph
      Grenade

      Even better

      How about some voice recognition software to pick out some keywords and feed those into an ELIZA routine?

  16. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Pint

    won't make a bot of difference.

    Why?

    Because most of them are calling from outside the UK using VOIP.

    You know this when you get a heavy Indian Voice saying this is Max and I want to talk about....

    The current one is Government Grants for loft insulation. I just gently put the phone down and walk off.

    Sometimes, these poor numbskulls are still at it after 5 minutes.

    Now if the TPS could stop these international callers, then that would be time for a pint of T.E.A.

    (just got mine from the brewery and is cooling nicely in the cellar)

    1. FARfetched
      Pint

      Put the phone down…

      I did that once after some teletwit fast-talked Mrs. Fetched into a 10-year supply of septic tank treatment. He called to confirm the order while I was eating breakfast one morning, I told him to cancel it. Right away, he started arguing with me, quickly building to a full-throated rant. I simply laid the phone on the table and went back to my breakfast. He continued to rant to an unattended phone (I could hear the squawking) for nearly 20 minutes, with me snickering on occasion, until Mrs. Fetched got mad and hung up.

      Beer, because you need it after dealing with a telemarketroid.

  17. Kevin Christoforou
    Happy

    4 million lines...

    I very much doubt they have 4 million lines / numbers available to them, more likely they are making a point, quite a valid one at that.

    1. Mike Kamermans
      Thumb Up

      4 million lines

      they're VoiP lines. Easier to get millions of than "real" land lines, but still a massive block of numbers to trap illegal telemarketeers with.

    2. John Blagden
      Thumb Up

      'point'

      or they could just have got a lot of free publicity.......

      Kudos anyway.

      If we could make baiting telemarketeers into a national passtime, it might stop the bastards wasting so much of OUR time.

    3. Cameron Colley

      Maybe, maybe not.

      If they have their own "area code" then they may have 9999999 numbers to allocate -- so it's not infeasible.

      Does anyone know whether they do?

  18. paulf
    Thumb Up

    Absolute Class

    Kudos to the guy for doing this. Hopefully he can forward on his file of criminal callers to the TPS and the authorities to do some, ahem, follow up on.

    1. TonyHoyle

      title

      TPS don't do anything - there used to be a form you could fill in that would elicit a response, but it was reorganised so that it all goes into a 'monthly report' (aka. the bin) now. Spammers know this, hence the thousands of calls AAISP get.

      They're opening the calls with a recorded message anyway which is already not allowed.

      I'm all for naming and shaming the companies they represent. Complete with recordings of their most clueless 'employees' (since you'll never find out who the call centres actually are).

      btw.The spammers are paying someone.. it's not free to make phone calls, and whether you start with VOIP for the international leg or not it's got to enter the UK phone system at some point - if it was VOIP end to end AAISP could just blacklist the netblock and be done with it.

      1. g e

        it's not about phonecall costs

        It's about burning the telemarketer's time.

        The more time they're talking to the bot, the more time they're not making a real sale, hence less revenue, less commission, less income.

  19. RevK
    Happy

    To clarify

    As a telco we have 4 million numbers due to go live to sell to customers (full UK geographic roll out). We plan to set the unallocated numbers when called from withheld numbers to go to the honey pot to see how many junk calls we trap. We do advise it is an unallocated number first but junt callers don't hear this and stay on the line. We may set up a web site so that people can make one sided conversations to try, and have a league table for who can keep them on the line the longest, etc. The numbers are not (yet) TPS registered, though our office ones are. Calling with a recorded message is illegal whether TPS registered or not unless they have prior consent.

    1. g e

      Big props

      Lovin' your style, RevK

      Can you divert them to one of my 0845 numbers? LOL

      Hangon, I'll just grab an 09xx 1.50/min line....! (I wish)

  20. The other JJ
    Happy

    @Kevin Christoforou: not 4 million lines but 4 million numbers

    They're a telco. They have substantial number blocks in many geographical and non-geographical ranges and they're simply putting the unallocated numbers to very good use. Their boss has blogged several times recently (revk.www.me.uk) about his time being wasted by dodgy marketing calls to his own TPS registered numbers and now it's payback time.

  21. Charles 9 Silver badge
    Happy

    Can't fault the guy...

    ...for doing something novel. Bully, I say. And as others have pointed out, there may be ways to expand on the idea.

  22. Dazed and Confused

    VOIP a Firebrick?

    Sounds like some of the ideas he put into his firewall box years ago to potentially keep hackers online, but slowly, rather than just dropping them. :-)

    Pity BT wouldn't fund their Ad campaign using the "sod.ms" domain.

  23. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    What a *brilliant* test environment

    For both real time speech generation and real time connected speech recognition.

    The challenge. The *most* convincing simulation of a caller with most authentic "voice" (neither robotic nor pre-sampled speech) and plausible questions and answers.

    Let the games commence.

    1. Sooty
      Joke

      neither robotic nor pre-sampled speech

      Do you get bonus points for the Indian accent?

    2. g e

      The great fresh smell of

      A Festival/Cepstral project in the making :o)

  24. Alan Esworthy
    Thumb Up

    Lovely

    Well done!

    My own non-technological approach is to spend about one minute providing promising feedback and asking a simple question or two, then saying, "Sounds like a good deal. Hold on while I get my credit card." Then I just put the phone down and go on about my business for a while before hanging up.

    Remarkable how few sales calls I get any more.

    1. A J Stiles

      More I have tried:

      * I'm not the homeowner, I'm burgling the house and I only answered the phone to stop it ringing.

      * The person they were asking for is dead. I am only around the house sorting through their personal effects.

      * Play them a snatch of that Kevin Bloody Wilson song. (You know which one.)

  25. Morpho Devilpepper
    Heart

    This is even better...

    ...than my old idea of taking spam faxes, filling them out with contact info from other spam faxers, and sending them in. That was fun though...

    Fight the good fight!!

    1. John Angelico
      Go

      Another fax technique...

      ...I heard about was to take a spam fax, make 3-4 copies, stitch them together in a loop through the fax machine feed tray and let 'er rip back to the spammer.

      It wouldn't be long before they were calling you to say "err, is there something wrong with your fax machine?" To which came the sweet rejoiner "No - it's working perfectly! We just thought you would like to see how much of our paper you have wasted."

      It was especially effective in the old days of thermal paper on rolls, because the result was a loooooong stretch of fax paper which wasn't any good for recycling. These days cut sheet fax machines are just glorified photocopiers and the effect is not so dramatic.

      1. CADmonkey
        Go

        For an extra twist of the knife.....

        ...make sure the pages are all coloured solid black.

        1. neb
          Grenade

          solid black pages

          i've done this and heard from the offender that it burnt out their fax machine

          sweet sweet rewenge!

      2. g e

        Quality

        Reminds me of the time I was trying to get hold of a crappy mgmnt co who were sposed to be booking our old band into a gig. They never returned phonecalls so I printed out a message in something like 120pt and taped the pages together into a 7ft sheet of paper and faxed it them.

        They called that afternoon...

  26. James Woods

    unfortunately

    At least in internet speak running a 'defensive network' is using the lords name in vain.

    The large isps do not want anyone running defensive networks. A few years ago googling "defensive network equipment" would get you all kinds of fun toys but now-a-days it doesn't seem to show much.

    You are to be a victim because those that control the systems know they are out of control but the $ keeps rolling in so why disrupt the balance.

    Who-ever does things like this is only going to end up investigated themselves and im sure loopholes will be found to shut (them) down instead.

    It's easier for these rogue calling companies to form than a reputable business or individual that's just trying to stand their ground.

    If your network attacks me because it's hacked, that's not my problem.

  27. David McMahon
    Jobs Halo

    Just hang up!

    As soon as the Voice Can't pronounce my Surname, the game is up and I just hang up! :)

    Jobs icon because as a leftie, he can't contact me on an iPhone!

  28. jim 45
    Thumb Up

    joy

    Pure joy. May the suffering of telemarketers only increase.

  29. BlueGreen

    ruining the hatefest

    TPS works for me. I get their company name then tell them I'm on the tps so why do ye call me?

    Out of maybe 3 unwanted calls in the past year, 2 were very apologetic and in any case I was never bothered by them again.

    In any case the people are just bods like you or me trying hard to make a living doing a shitty, poorly paid job. If they're nasty then it's open season, but otherwise just waste their time if you wish (it's their employers' time anyway) but don't make it worse for them than necessary either.

    Never done such work myself but worked with support staff and seen how easy it is to for some people to abuse them from afar.

  30. Fatman
    WTF?

    `Solicitor Be Gone`

    Years ago, a friend of mine who had his own private recording studio, put together this tape loop for the office answering machine. He called the `bit` "Solicitor Be Gone".

    Since he produced a radio program, and he was the main character VOICES (yes - that is plural), he had `fun` with the many 'characters' arguing amongst themselves, while trying to `direct` the call to the appropriate 'in house' person. Now, people who knew better, knew that in order to get the real answering machine; you had to press *666 during the 'message'. It drove telemarketers mad. That dude had one real nasty sense of humor.

  31. wobbly1

    a modest proposal...

    "...Telephone Preference Service, so any unsolicited marketing calls they get are likely to be the result of illegal use of autodialler software."

    Oh were that true. I find phones tricky and painful to use for a variety of reasons. Consequently my number has been registered with the TPS for the thick end of 6 years, there has never been a time when my current number has not been registered .

    I get 3-4 calls a week, admittedly most auto diallers, but large UK based companies ( I mean you, Brutish Teleprong) too, take the voluntary status of the marketing code and ignore it when financially advantageous . I interrupted one Australian twanged sales drone to explain that he had called a TPS registered number and to ask where they had obtained it? he lied that registration lapses after a year and what was my problem with his call. Expletives issued forth at this end and i terminated the call.

    Most "advisory codes " in UK society (especially those that value the consumer over vested interests) are used as "best practice" , but if a penny could be earned or saved by flouting them they go out the window.

    Make the code statutory with real teeth. Then that least those traceable companies could have their financial nadgers slammed in the door for it .

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      Once you've informed them that you are TPS registered...

      ...then the only conversation you should be having is about them telling you their company name. In my experience, the call stops there.

      Every couple years we go to the US and book some internal flights with an Easyjet-grade domestic carrier. Invariably we get cold recorded calls when we return, about condos in Florida or whatever. Those transatlantic calls stop quite quickly, when I put the phone down next to my desk and get back to work.

      Another ruse: When a call comes in, play a pre-recorded Fax 'handshake' signal. Apparently, the caller computer will identify your line as a data line, and remove you from its database.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Now that's a thought.

        I have a fax machine. Maybe the next time a junk call goes through the block list (I have a nice Panasonic phone that cheerfully sends busy tones to callers on the block list), I'll let the fax take it.

      2. g e

        Nice

        The post is required, and must contain letters.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    I see a drawback...

    I am all for wasting telemarketers time, but which number range have they reserved here? Is this why I could not get a new VoIP number anywhere near my current one yesterday? I wanted the same first three digits but could get nothing closer than the area code.

  33. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    There is actually an Asterisk plugin for this

    AFAIK, there is actually a plugin to set up this sort of stuff in Asterisk...

    I find there are two types of telemarketers. There's the desperate kind who has to do this job because they need to earn a living somehow, and there's the type who really loves the challenge. As soon as I find I have a type 2 on the line ("challenge"), he or she will have time wasted (if I have it to spare, which is why I'll set up the Asterisk plugin soon)..

    The problem is that the laws surrounding tele-selling are not only crap, they're also not enforced in any meaningful fashion. Using a blocked number should be illegal for this work.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    My method..

    me:Hello??

    Them: Hello there, can i speak to Mr/Mrs/Miss smith/jones/mcmahon etc.

    me: may i ask whom is calling, please?

    them: yes, i'm from pointless prattle and son.

    me: ah, please bear with me, i'll get them.

    them. Thanks.

    Me, meanwhile has just put the phone down (but not disconnected) and gone back to doing whatver it is i was doing before being interupted. Every minute, ill just shout, yes dear, its the man/woman from Prattle &sons again.

    8 mins is my record so it MUST be costing tham money to phone me at peak time.

  35. Fogcat

    Fun for all

    I best success so far culminated with a very cross telemarketer screaming obscenities down the phone at me for at least 3 minutes, with me chuckling and asking if that was the best he could do.

    Made my day!

  36. Ciaran McHale

    Telecrapper 2K

    Several years ago, somebody in America developed a PC-based hardware and software combination that he called the Telecrapper 2000. Basically, he recorded a sequence of short sound files (things like "Hello", "I'm sorry, it's a bad line; please speak louder", "That sounds interesting; does it come with a guarantee?" and so on). The computer had a configuration file that specified the order in which the sound files would be played. His computer detected a telemarketing call via a some sort of back list or white list, and when it received such a call, the computer played the first sound file, Then a microphone waited until the telemarketer said something and then paused. At the pause, the computer played the next sound file, and this went on and on until the telemarketer hung up. The computer recorded these conversations, and some hilarious ones that involved surreal and very silly sound files were uploaded to various websites.

    You can find a few of the recordings on YouTube. Start here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ko99DBKlCNk&feature=related

    Somebody did a cartoon animation of one of those recordings, and you can find it here.

    http://www.guzer.com/animations/telecrapper.php

    Regards,

    Ciaran.

  37. Velv
    Paris Hilton

    An even more painful experience for telemarketers ?

    Any volunteers out there want to have some fun?

    AAISP set up a website where volunteers can sign up to receive the calls on the honey pot lines. If you're bored one evening, sitting at home with no-one to talk to, you can sign in and just wait for the calls to arrive.

    And presumably since the telemarketers are already in breach of the law, you can talk to them about *anything* you like :)

    Paris - obviously ;)

  38. kain preacher

    Fax machine fun.

    I worked for a guy that got tired of junk faxes . He would use his computer to fax back 50 pages of of a black rectangle. 8.5x11 inches. He claimed that it caused thermal fax machines to over heat and catch fire . At the very least it ran them out of ink very fast .

    1. g e

      no ink!

      in thermal printers but that thermal paper sho' ain't cheap :o)

  39. ZenCoder

    I hate these people.

    I get a call asking for a woman I do not know from a medical supply company. When they found out it was the wrong number they then asked if I needed medical supplies for a specific medical condition.

    So in effect they identified someone by first and last name and told me that person's personal medical information. That's just wrong.

  40. Eden

    The most fun I had..

    The most fun I had with telemarketers was when I was using my phone+headset as a walkie talkie with mates airsofting.

    Got an incoming call and answered it assuming it was matey boy (it was my backup phone not my primary and only they had the number), just as we started storming a building.

    "Ring - click (auto answer)*

    GO - GO - GO (Smash as door is cicked in, and grenades go off to clear the first room)

    *Operator - Good Morning! Is this X, X.

    Me: CLEAR! - YOU, MOVE! YOU, WITH ME!

    *Operator - ....Hello

    Me: Who is this, how did you get this number?

    *Operator - This is xxx calling on behalf or Orange, would you be interested in saving money on your calls?

    *Sound of gun fire*

    Me: DOWN GET YOUR F****ING HEAD DOWN!!!

    *Return fire*

    Me: *GRENADE*

    *Grenades go off*

    Me: MOVE MOVE MOVE, WHERE'S ARE F*****ING BACKUP!! MAN DOWN MAN DOWN!!

    Operator: errr...is this a good time.

    Me: WHO THE F**K ARE YOU, Dave trace this F****ING CALL

    Operator: *click*

    Never got called again :)

  41. g e

    My approach

    I'm TPS registered but we still get the odd call, so when they say I'm calling to sell you Blahstuff I usually say 'Oh my wife deals with that, hold on' then put the phone down and carry on doing whatever I was doing. When the phone goes weewooweewoo I know they hung up.

  42. Parax
    Go

    Simples.

    If ever there was a perfect time for a recording of Rick Astley, surely this is it!

  43. Eden

    May I just say

    I'm sorry for the terrible spelling in my previous post, I was too busy smiling at the memory of the sounds of a very frightened cold caller to pay any attention to my typing.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    @Parax, re, Simples

    Just tell them another department handles these queries, and to call them on 0871 2377 537. Does exactly what you want ^_^

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    A view from the Dark Side

    Hello Ladies & Gentlemen. I am one of you who is also one of them.

    One of "Satan's little helpers" as Bill Hicks described us (Damm I miss the big guy).

    Over the last decade and a half I have worked for many of the largest hardware and software companies or their resellers. I may have spoken to you, although when you're calling on 3 different projects into the same company (and possibly talking to the same person) whatever name I gave you was not mine, even if you were a Group IT Director (as some of them were).

    I've enjoyed the challenge, the pay's regular and the out of hours socializing can be a lot of fun although my memories of them are a bit hazy. There's a sitcom to be had in this business that would make the antics of the IT crowd seem completely normal by comparison. I always fancied seeing a company being headed by Steve Coogan's "Super salesman" Gareth Cheeseman with regular movie references to films like Glengarry, Glennross, Pulp Fiction and Deliverance (Ah PSB humour. Nothing quite like it).

    99% of my work has been calling into businesses, with a more recent job calling people at home. You might feel the difference is like <grossly offensive simile redacted> but the difference is between night and day.

    The company I worked for used a Cisco VoIP system that crashed about once a week. Despite people views TPS requests were programmed into it and the number barred. However they still ended up on our paper listing (1 PC in the whole office) as they could not work out how to not print them out in the first place. When the branch office was shut down by the Police I decided that 6 day weeks in the company of some borderline sociopaths was not the highest achievement in life to aspire to.

    This is neither a call for mercy or a confession. As a method of finding specific potential customers for fairly specialised products and services it is a very cost effective method.

    Personally I have lived in the same place and had very few cold callers at home. I'm not on TPS but I've always been ex-directory and normal caller ID is disabled. I am very careful when I leave a phone number. Mostly it's been people I already do business with.

    I quite like the American fellow who'd started taking people to court saying they were making unauthorized use of his phone line for their business and he was going to charge them. He'd lost twice in court but the judge said of the second time that' someone had called him at home and if was in front of the judge again things might go his way next time. Always wondered what happened next.

    Black choppers because I don't feel too much love here.

  46. Alan Brown Silver badge

    recording...

    No requirement to tell the other party if you're the one operating the recording equipment AND answering the phone.

    As far as passing the details of criminals through to Ofcom, OIC, etc, there have been a big fat ZERO actions taken for TPS breaches. Uk.gov's chocolate teapot brigade are alive and well.

    What's sorely needed is USA style right of private action(*) AND stiff fines for breaching the do not call lists - Kentucky charges $50,000 PER CALL as a f'instance.

    (*) The USA's TCPA is quite effective even when corrupt american locally elected judges refuse to hear cases (if the plaintiffs can be bothered kicking it up the food chain they seldom lose and those cases which are lost are due to incredibly poor preparation)

  47. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    "Right of private action"

    Sounds intriguing. Lets face it governments don't want to be *bothered* to handle this sort of case (yet they pass the laws that require them to be). I'll guess a private citizen could have a prosecution case up and running long before HMG gets round to it.

    Problem. Unlikely to qualify for legal aid in the UK.

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