Advertising is everywhere, but does it have to clog up the phone lines? Scott G has a message for marketers using the phone as a sales weapon.

A toddler grabs a table lamp’s electrical cord, gives it a tug and the lamp crashes down on the little one’s head, opening a gash. Broken glass and shards of porcelain crunch underfoot as worried parents rush to give aid and comfort to their child. The cut is deeper than they thought and the bleeding won’t stop.

“Call 911!”

Just before the receiver is lifted, the phone rings. Snatching up the handset, the distraught parent says “This is an emergency!” presses down on the hook and releases it to make the vital call.

Scott G is doing a lot of phoning latelyBut the connection with the incoming call has not been broken. Why? Because it is a recording. An automated sales call for carpet cleaning, auto warranties, reverse mortgages, financial investments, credit cards, construction services, real estate, etc. No amount of clicking gets rid of the intrusion and the emergency call cannot be made from that telephone number.

Ah, you say, those poor people should have entered their number on the Do Not Call registry. Ah, but they did. Advertisers have found a loophole.

Court Action
The scenario above is a speculation on my part, but something similar has occurred and will happen again soon. I’m betting that the resulting jury trial will hold responsible the caller, the marketing agency and the phone carrier. If the insidious loophole keeps the caller and agency from being fined or put out of business, then juries are going to go after the phone companies.

The deceit begins with not identifying the advertiser in the recording and blocking the caller ID. Suckers, um, sorry, consumers are asked to leave their name and number for a call back from the offending firm. In order to go after the calling criminals, the state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission need the name of the caller, the name of the slimeball company, or at least the number used to make the intruding call.

That means consumers need to give out some personal information and, in effect, conduct their own sting operation to obtain the evidence to get these scumbags arrested.

Either that or it’s time for a class-action lawsuit against the phone companies who are allowing these practices to continue. Ladies and gentlemen, start your attorneys.

[tags]direct marketing, telemarketing, phone companies, automated calls, recorded sales calls[/tags]