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Thread: Ringless voicemail

  1. #1
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    Default Ringless voicemail

    [IMc - Yet another thing where Trump's FCC is poised to assist corporate exploiters. Note that the rational about how this can be a good thing - messaging in busy medical or law offices for example - are made utterly bogus by the fact that real messaging is more efficiently handled by texting, which virtually every modern office, contractor, trucker, installer, or whatever already uses.]

    No, Your Phone Didn’t Ring. So Why Voice Mail From a Telemarketer?

    By TARA SIEGEL BERNARD
    JUNE 3, 2017

    Frank Kemp was working on his computer when his cellphone let out the sound of Mario — from Super Mario Bros. — collecting a coin. That signaled he had a new voice mail message, yet his phone had never rung.

    “At first, I thought I was crazy,” said Mr. Kemp, a video editor in Dover, Del. “When I checked my voice mail, it made me really angry. It was literally a telemarketing voice mail to try to sell telemarketing systems.”

    Mr. Kemp had just experienced a technology gaining traction called ringless voice mail, the latest attempt by telemarketers and debt collectors to reach the masses. The calls are quietly deposited through a back door, directly into a voice mail box — to the surprise and (presumably) irritation of the recipient, who cannot do anything to block them.

    Regulators are considering whether to ban these messages. They have been hearing from ringless voice mail providers and pro-business groups, which argue that these messages should not qualify as calls and, therefore, should be exempt from consumer protection laws that ban similar types of telephone marketing.

    But consumer advocates, technology experts, people who have been inundated with these calls and the lawyers representing them say such an exemption would open the floodgates. Consumers’ voice mail boxes would be clogged with automated messages, they say, making it challenging to unearth important calls, whether they are from an elderly mother’s nursing home or a child’s school.

    If unregulated, ringless voice mail messages “will likely overwhelm consumers’ voice mail systems and consumers will have no way to limit, control or stop these messages,” Margot Freeman Saunders, senior counsel at the National Consumer Law Center, wrote in the organization’s comment letter to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of more than a dozen consumer groups. “Debt collectors could potentially hijack a consumer’s voice mail with collection messages.”

    The commission is collecting public comments on the issue after receiving a petition from a ringless voice mail provider that wants to avoid regulation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. That federal law among other things prohibits calling cellular phones with automated dialing and artificial or prerecorded voices without first obtaining consent — except in an emergency.

    All About the Message, the ringless voice mail provider petitioning the commission, uses technology developed by another company, Stratics Networks. All About the Message’s customers use the service to deliver messages for marketing or other purposes right to consumers.

    Will Wiquist, a spokesman for the F.C.C., said the commission would review the record after the public comment period closed and consider a decision. There is no formal timeline for resolving such petitions, and the commission cannot comment on the petition until a ruling is issued.

    “They are all poised to launch a cannon full of calls to consumers,” said Peter F. Barry, a consumer lawyer in Minneapolis. “If there is no liability for it, it will be a new law that needs to get passed very quickly.”

    Even consumers on the “Do Not Call” list could potentially be bombarded by telemarketers, advocates said. “The legal question is whether the people sending the messages would be required to comply with the Do Not Call list,” Ms. Saunders said. “We read the law to possibly not apply if they are not considered calls.”

    This is not the first time the commission has received such a request. Nearly three years ago, it received a similar petition from VoAPPs, another voice mail technology company, which wanted to allow debt collectors to reach consumers through voice mail. But the petition was withdrawn before the commission could rule.

    More specifically, All About the Message wants the F.C.C. to rule that its voice mail messages are not calls, and therefore can be delivered by automatic telephone dialing systems using an artificial or prerecorded voice. In its petition, the company argued that the law “does not impose liability for voice mail messages” when they are delivered directly to a voice mail service provider and subscribers are not charged for a call.

    “The act of depositing a voice mail on a voice mail service without dialing a consumers’ cellular telephone line does not result in the kind of disruptions to a consumer’s life — dead air calls, calls interrupting consumers at inconvenient times or delivery charges to consumers,” All About the Message wrote. The company’s lawyer declined to comment.

    If the commission rules against it, All About the Message said, it wants a retroactive waiver to relieve the company and its customers of any liability and “potentially substantial damages” for voice mail already delivered.

    The company has reason to ask. Even though it started business just last year, one of All About the Message’s customers — an auto dealer — is already facing a lawsuit involving a consumer who received repeated messages. Tom Mahoney, who said he received four voice mail messages from Naples Nissan in 2016, is the lead plaintiff in a suit filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

    According to the suit, the parties in the case have reached a tentative agreement to settle all claims. Lawyers for both Mr. Mahoney and Naples Nissan declined to comment.

    The suit said that Mr. Mahoney’s daughter had received similar messages — advertising zero-interest auto financing — and that neither he nor she had given the company consent.

    Josh Justice, chief executive of Stratics Networks, said its technology — which can send out 100 ringless voice mail messages a minute — had existed for 10 years and had not caused a widespread nuisance. It was intended for businesses like hospitals, dentist’s and doctor's offices, banks, and shipping companies to reach customers, for example, and for “responsible marketing.”

    “The concept of ringless voice mail was to develop a nonnuisance form of messaging or a nonintrusive alternative to robocalls,” Mr. Justice said.

    He contends that telemarketers should be able to use ringless voice mail messages as long as they do so responsibly — that is, skipping over consumers on the “Do Not Call” list, identifying who is leaving the message and giving people a way to opt out. But he said he did not believe that ringless voice mail needed to be subject to the same regulations as other calls — unless regulators find that the messages are generating complaints or being used inappropriately.

    Consumer advocates and other experts argue that the courts and the F.C.C. have already established that technology similar to ringless voice mail — which delivered mass automated texts to cellphones — was deemed the same as calls and was covered by the consumer protection law.

    “These companies are only spinning an incorrect interpretation of the regulations and the definition of the word ‘call,’” said Randall Snyder, a telecommunications engineering consultant and expert witness in more than 100 cases involving related regulations.

    “Definitions of words in regulations and statutes are legal issues,” he said, “but there is certainly lots of common sense here.”

    The Republican National Committee, which is in favor of ringless voice mail, goes as far as to argue that prohibiting direct-to-voice-mail messages may be a violation of free speech. Telephone outreach campaigns, it said, are a core part of political activism.

    “Political organizations like the R.N.C. use all manner of communications to discuss political and governmental issues and to solicit donations — including direct-to-voice-mail messages,” the committee said in its letter to the commission.

    For now, consumers who receive these messages can file complaints with regulators; they can also provide comments on whether they believe ringless voice mail should be subject to consumer protection rules.

    But Ms. Saunders said blocking messages might be impossible: It is the phone that blocks calls, and these messages go right to voice mail. (More advice — on how to register for the “Do Not Call” list and how to avoid robocalls and texts — can be found on the F.C.C. website.)

    Justin T. Holcombe, a consumer lawyer and partner at Skaar & Feagle in Woodstock, Ga., said the commission’s ruling would have implications for just about everyone. If ringless voice mail could avoid consumer protection rules, “it would be a free-for-all,” he said.

    Mr. Kemp, the video editor in Delaware who received the ringless voice mail message, said in recent weeks that he had been targeted by robocallers advertising vehicle financing, even though he owns his truck outright. His strategy? He goes through the menu prompts, acting as if he were interested; when he finally reaches a live person, he angrily demands that his number be removed from the caller’s list.

    “Hasn’t worked yet,” he said, “but it’s a good stress reliever.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/b...eter.html?_r=0

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ringless voicemail

    The current FCC could care less about the consumer. If a ruling might make corporate America 25 cents - they will go for it, even if it causes a huge PITA to the consumer.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ringless voicemail

    I don't know what it is but since we moved to SoCal we have become INUNDATED with every conceivable telemarketer calling at all hours. We do not have a landline, so all the calls come through our cell numbers. It makes running a business that relies on phone communication extremely difficult. Both numbers are on the DNC Registry. After every call I place the number on block, but it's really just a wack-a-mole effort in futility.

    I finally went to verizon and they explained if you are on the DNC and you are still getting calls those solicitors are probably scam companies and simply don't worry or care about DNC list. So the calls continue. Occasionally if I have the time I screw around with them. I will talk like a slow stoner and ask question after idiot question usually until they hang up on me. If they aren't smart enough to have set up some block from me calling them back, I'll call them back 100 times in a row just to give them a taste and hope that the squeaky wheel gets the grease and they remove me.

    I have literally hundreds of numbers on my block list.

    I would actually welcome ringless voicemail since with the iphone and the google voice work number we use both give textual voicemail I can simply glance, block and delete without having to actually listen or talk.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ringless voicemail

    I get ringless voicemail every morning once I turn the phone on. Also, soon after I deplane while traveling, I usually have received several ringless voicemails.
    But mostly, voicemail is effete for me. Most of my communication is either email or text.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ringless voicemail

    And here I thought I was losing (what little is left of) my mind when I'd discover some witless wombat voicemail mysteriously appearing on my queue. Bloody wankers.
    Hands too small: Can't build his Wall!

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ringless voicemail

    I treat it the way I do email, delete, delete, delete. But If some mob decided a living could be made tracking them down and breaking their knees with a sledge…………………………..

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ringless voicemail

    That such a course is even being considered is just another symptom --

    "When there is an accumulation of money and power into fewer and fewer hands, people with the mentality of gangsters come to the fore. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" -- Lord Acton
    David G
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ringless voicemail

    How to turn the tables? THose 'bots' that were used in the last election - the ones that allow you to send out 100,000's of messages for little or no cost - would seemingly have an application here. Program it to send spam back to these numbers, automatically, and it might have a deterrent effect. But ultimately it comes down to our legislators representing our interests, rather than those of the moneyed.
    Last edited by George Jung; 06-19-2017 at 10:44 AM. Reason: ...although skuthorps approach is laudable, possibly effective, and certainly worth consideration....
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ringless voicemail

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    How to turn the tables? THose 'bots' that were used in the last election - the ones that allow you to send out 100,000's of messages for little or no cost - would seemingly have an application here. Program it to send spam back to these numbers, automatically, and it might have a deterrent effect. But ultimately it comes down to our legislators representing our interests, rather than those of the moneyed.
    Years ago, I started getting calls from a fax machine in the middle of the night. I got the # that was sending them & faxed back saying "Please take my # off your send list - it's a private phone!". It was ignored. I did it twice more & still ignored. I then created a word doc that had a page saying much the same thing & then copied & pasted it so as to make it 1,000 identical pages. I then sent it as a fax.

    I got a call about 6AM from a guy in the print shop asking me how many pages he was going to get because it had taken over their fax machine. I asked him how many had printed & he said "About 200" & I told him he only had 800 to go. 20 Min. later I got a call from a VP who was furious - threatening to send me a bill, sue me, etc. I explained why I'd done it & told him to please take me to court. I never heard back nor did the fax machine ever call again.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Ringless voicemail

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Years ago, I started getting calls from a fax machine in the middle of the night. I got the # that was sending them & faxed back saying "Please take my # off your send list - it's a private phone!". It was ignored. I did it twice more & still ignored. I then created a word doc that had a page saying much the same thing & then copied & pasted it so as to make it 1,000 identical pages. I then sent it as a fax.

    I got a call about 6AM from a guy in the print shop asking me how many pages he was going to get because it had taken over their fax machine. I asked him how many had printed & he said "About 200" & I told him he only had 800 to go. 20 Min. later I got a call from a VP who was furious - threatening to send me a bill, sue me, etc. I explained why I'd done it & told him to please take me to court. I never heard back nor did the fax machine ever call again.
    Luv it!
    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Ringless voicemail

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Years ago, I started getting calls from a fax machine in the middle of the night. I got the # that was sending them & faxed back saying "Please take my # off your send list - it's a private phone!". It was ignored. I did it twice more & still ignored. I then created a word doc that had a page saying much the same thing & then copied & pasted it so as to make it 1,000 identical pages. I then sent it as a fax.

    I got a call about 6AM from a guy in the print shop asking me how many pages he was going to get because it had taken over their fax machine. I asked him how many had printed & he said "About 200" & I told him he only had 800 to go. 20 Min. later I got a call from a VP who was furious - threatening to send me a bill, sue me, etc. I explained why I'd done it & told him to please take me to court. I never heard back nor did the fax machine ever call again.
    Looks like yer 'the guy' to come up with a solution!
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Ringless voicemail

    Ringless voicemail brought to you by soulless marketers.

    What's so funny about peace love & understanding?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Ringless voicemail

    With so many ways of electronic contact I decided voicemail was the one to go. It takes too long to process even legitimate messages, and it is the most susceptible to abuse (even before this ringless nightmare). I shut mine off a year ago and told my friends, now they just text. My life is much more manageable.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Ringless voicemail

    Quote Originally Posted by jack grebe View Post
    Luv it!
    I did one better I printed out 4 SOLID BLACK with knockouted white type that said F*** YOU!!! I taped them together in a continuous loop, fed them into the fax machine and hit redial whenever I felt like it. I especially enjoyed doing it late at night when I was on a late night press ok
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