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Wednesday, January 6. 2016
2015 is the year when I learned to hate my telephone. The FCC's willful neglect of the do not call list has resulted in a large number of commercial calls on top of the charitable and political calls that swamp my line.
I watch caller ID closely and no longer answer calls with numbers I do not recognize, figuring that, if they are friends, they will leave a message on the answering machine and I can pick up, or return the call.
This no longer is sufficient. I have therefore purchased a CPR Call Blocker through Amazon, and it allows me to blacklist frequent political and other calls. It has been very satisfactory to hear yet another call from Newt Gingrich be shut down after the first ring! It shows the most recent call, and then you push the big red octagonal button that says "BLOCK NOW" and that is that!.
Even this device does not help with the anonymous calls with blocked caller ID, but it turns out the phone company can block anonymous calls and this also seems to have worked very well!
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Have noticed the same thing for a long time. The tools mentioned are fine for a home phone - wired service - but what about cell phones? How 'bout a few hundred thousand letters to congress? Especially in an election year. Think I will compose one right now.
I maintain control by simply never answering the phone at home. I let my answering machine do the work. Anyone "cold calling" hangs up right away; they don't want to waste time talking to a machine.
Also, my recorded message doesn't say who I am, it just states: "Hi, I can't come to the phone right now but leave your name and number and I'll get back to you." Family and friends will recognize my voice and know they've reached the right number, strangers can leave a message and take their chances.
We've had the same problem. I realized we needed to update our number on the list (it gets dropped after a period of time), and when I did that, the number of calls fell off after a month. We still have them, though.
Which is why I like Comcast's service because if the TV is on I see the number, and I can just let it ring. If it isn't on, service calls have a slight delay. The minute I hear the delay, I hang up.
Check out NOGOROBO. It's free and it works great. It doesn't work with every phone carrier, though. Consumer Reports gave it the top rating of all call blocking options.
Interestingly, Congress EXEMPTED political parties from the do not call restriction. Who'da thunk?
It gets tricky. I got one call 'about your debit or credit card' and quickly hung up. No message was left by the automatic machine. As it turned out, however it actually WAS my bank telling my card number was compromised and that they were giving me a new one (fortunately they followed up on the call with an email)
I use the Do Not Call system, but probably more important, I do not pick up my phone until the answering machine has requested that the caller leave a message. Like JJM, my answering machine doesn't identify me.
There are a fair number of no-message calls, I have noticed. Conclusion: the answering machine saves me a lot of hassle. Speaking of cold calls in the time before answering machines, I was at my brother's house when he got a call from a stockbroker soliciting his business. The connection was that the broker and my brother had children in the same elementary school class. My brother politely declined.
Yes, some of the messages are spurious: I delete them, often before all the message gets recorded. I got a message from a phony IRS spammer. I was tempted to call back and leave a nasty message, but decided to not take the time. I do not notice as many phone messages wanting to poll me compared to previous election cycles. Come election time there will be the robot calls from the Democrat machine wanting me to go out and vote for the right candidates. I will vote for the right candidates, who invariably will not be Democrats.
Why does anyone still have a landline phone?
Seriously, I can't think of a single reason to have a land line in 2016. Does anyone still have a typewriter? A tabletop radio? An icebox?
Aside from the fact that a home phone is ridiculously archaic, it is beyond inconvenient. Your communications ability is tethered to a box attached to a wall of your house. Maybe you have a portable phone which gives you an extra hundred feet of range.
Kind of like having a black and white console with rabbit ears. (Nobody under 55 understands what I'm talking about.)
I have a landline on MagicJack which means I can effectively take my landline with me wherever I get WiFi. And it's cheap.
I have a typewriter. I don't use it but I like the idea that if I needed it, I could use it.
Icebox - no. But you knew that.
Well, I'm "ridiculously archaic" then. I have a landline for two reasons.
First, it is through my landline that I have internet service. I do not want the "triple play" being offered by the cable/phone/internet company as that will cost me more than what I currently pay for all three being separate.
Second, related to the first is that I do not want my phone service/TV/internet all connected. When Hurricane Sandy hit my neighbors without a separate landline lost all three as well as lost their cell phones with the cell towers in our area being damaged. While it is true I did not have cable or internet due to the power being out and no cell service as the cell towers were out too; my landline was still working, and stayed working for the remainder of the week without power. All of my neighbors lost their phone service when they lost cable and internet; and their cell service was gone! Not a good way to keep in touch with the "outside" world to see what was going on.
It is in emergency times that that landline will be most needed and the landline doesn't drop calls just randomly like the cell phones do. So, for emergencies it is worth the few bucks that I pay each month for a landline.
So, yea, "archaic." My landline and my emergency crank radio are old; but still very useful when the chips are down.
As for the DO NOT CALL - now that's archaic as no one pays attention to it any more. It has gotten so bad that I get calls and texts on my cell phone from scammers/telemarketers. If I do not recognize the number I have learned to not answer. Most of those calls do not leave a message.
I still have a landline for two reasons. First, the mobile reception varies, and can be very bad in my home. Second, having a constant number at which the entire family might be reached is useful.
The fact it costs next to nothing to keep the landline helps justify it. Remember, people turn off their mobile phones, turn down the ringers, ignore or don't feel the vibration and frequently miss texts (I received a text today which was sent on New Year's Eve - a delivery problem which is admittedly unusual, but the fact it happens is meaningful).
So having a landline in the event of emergency is very useful.
The fact it costs next to nothing to keep the landline helps justify it.
Next to nothing is $45/month for me- about half of which are taxes.
Check out MagicJack. If you have internet service, you can get a year's worth of service for that $45 and port your number. I'm pretty pleased with mine.
take a look at nomorobo.com. knocks down telemarketers like nothing else.
Horrible to non existent cell service one house, unreliable the other. One house can only get internet via landline. Also prefer a landline as an emergency backup after what happened after 9/11 in my area when all cell service was down. But I don't use a landline routinely. I screen all calls. Although we use the "Do not call"and renew every year on all family cell phones and the landlines, we still get the loathsome political and fundraising calls and sales callsfrom India (outsourced by US businesses). One problem w blocking anonymous calls is that most people , myself included, make their phone number invisible to try and limit the number of spam calls back from merchants.
We have IP phone now, works ok unless the internet box tilts
but the new Panasonic wired phone has a call block button that
seems to work fine, 'blocked' calls ring once and then are disconnected. I may look into nomorobo if there are too many
escaped robocalls getting through, but the blocker built into the phone has cut down dramatically on the calls for now. The call block button is also on all the wireless remotes.
I turned off the ringer years ago. The telephone is for calling out.
Email is for communication in.