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wildpotato's avatar

Is it normal to have a large number of telemarketer calls and robocalls on a landline nowadays? And what can be done about this?

Asked by wildpotato (15224points) April 11th, 2014

This is the first time I’ve had a landline in over a decade, and it is quickly growing unbearable. I usually get 2–7 of these calls per day, most asking for someone (the same person) I’ve never heard of. This number is on the Do Not Call registry and has been for over 30 days. I looked at but it says my phone service can’t use it – and if I understand correctly, it wouldn’t stop living telemarketers anyway. Every call is from a different number and claim at least to be from different companies. I file FCC complaints on some of them – mostly on the live telemarketing ones where the person completely disregards my repeated and increasingly irate requests that they remove the number from their calling lists – but this is time consuming and obviously not a real solution.

Is this normal for landlines nowadays? Is there anything I can do, or do I have to just change my number?

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19 Answers

syz's avatar

Yes. That’s why I cancelled my landline.

The Do Not Call Registry helps, but it still wasn’t worth having a landline for me.

jerv's avatar

And no, changing your number won’t help. They often use a “War dialer”, so they are calling all the numbers!

gailcalled's avatar

I not only need a landline due to almost no cell towers around here but I also need a corded phone due to the many power outages during the nasty weather.

Most of the time on the cordless phone, i check the screen to see who’s calling before I pick up. If the corded phone (next to my bed) rings, I let voice mail pick up and then call back a minute or two later.

Smitha's avatar

Try purchasing a Call Blocker. You can choose to allow all callers through and selectively block those who are unwanted or block everyone and just allow select callers through.

hearkat's avatar

I have our mobile numbers on the Do Not Call registry, and I still get a lot of tele-spam anyway, so it’s not just a landline issue.

Coloma's avatar

Just do what @gailcalled mentions, if all others solutions have been followed.
Screen your calls, let them go to voice mail if you do not recognize the caller ID. I too lived in a canyon, rural property where there was no cell reception and needed a plug in phone for power outages as well, aside from my cordless phones. You do not HAVE to answer the phone, it is a choice, and I never let my phones control me.

You can call back anyone you wish to speak with in a few minutes, or when you are damn good and ready.

janbb's avatar

I have the same problem and keep thinking about giving up my landline. Not quite ready yet. I have Caller ID but you still have to go to the phone.

pleiades's avatar

When you sign up with the company, read all the fine print. You may find that they are in contract with a ton of ad agencies. (Service is cheap because those agencies pay them as well thus they can earn money)

jca's avatar

I’m on the do not call registry, and I get about 2 calls per day from telemarketers. Fortunately, whatever they use to dial doesn’t leave voicemails, so there’s usually no voicemail to have to listen to. When I am home and I don’t recognize a phone number, I just don’t answer it.

If I were sleeping and the phone rang and disturbed me, I would be very annoyed. Fortunately, it seems the telemarketers don’t call too early on a Sunday or whatever.

Coloma's avatar

I am always polite, a friendly, non-hostile ” Thanks but no thanks, have a nice day..”
I do not agree with being rude to these callers, they are working a legitimate job, telemarketing IS a viable appendage of marketing in general, and many of these people are very young or older, the only jobs they can get, and there is no excuse for rudeness.
My elderly neighbor is such a rude old bat, I hear her yelling at these people, incredibly rude.
I have no respect for those that are unnecessarily rude to these callers.

How would you like to work in a job where you were called names and hung up on a 100 times a day?

ibstubro's avatar

I do not have this problem with my phones, but I’ve had my numbers at least 10 years, land and cell.

I’m on the do not call registry, and have been since the beginning. I do not give out my phone number unless it’s required. Many times if it ”is required and I don’t believe they need it, I will fill in everything but the last 4 digits, then put 0000 or 1111 or something. I do not do surveys or enter sweepstakes or otherwise participate in “free” offerings that require giving a phone number. If asked at the register for my phone number, I ‘just say no’...they are going to take your money anyway.

It might just be a matter of time. The former owner of the number evidently allowed people to use the number and spread it around. For that reason, changing your number might not be helpful. I think your current practice of requesting to be removed and turning them in will eventually bear fruit.

As a former phone solicitor, I disagree with being unfailingly polite. I will scream and yell and curse at phone solicitors in the hopes that I will be removed from the list on the basis of unfair work conditions for the solicitors. It’s a job. Most of them will appreciate knowing if there’s not a snowball’s chance in Hell of you rewarding them.

Oh, and I would advise you to not speak first if you answer your phone. Some of those calls are just to record the chance of activity on the line within a certain time frame. The better the chance of having a live person answer the phone, the more the number is worth to number sellers. If I answer the land line, which is rare, I just hang up as quickly as possible if it’s a robo-call, never uttering a sound.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I also switched to a cell phone for this reason.

And I am polite to the callers until they talk over me, or ignore what I’m saying, or call back after a hang-up. Which they always do. Once they open the gates, I give them hell.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I have a Panasonic KX-TG7645 cordless phone / answering machine. It allows me to block numbers. Unfortunately it is limited to only 35. It is so satisfying to see that display light up with “Blocked”. My system is old so look around for something that offers many more numbers. It is 2014. There is no reason a phone can’t remember thousands.

When I do get a call that goes through I put the phone next to my radio, (usually on NPR talk radio), and walk away. That way the robocaller’s line is tied up.

Berserker's avatar

Someone would need to confirm this, but I actually just read this thing yesterday while looking up information about third party PC programs that gather your information for the purpose of sending you ads on Facebook, spam mail and…gives out your number to random telemarketers. Apparently.
How they know your phone number I do not know, but I’m guessing that they find out with IP addresses maybe?

Anyways this may not be your case, but if you’re the kind to download random programs on the net, (video rippers, cleaning programs, unofficial web browsers) this could be a cause. :/

wildpotato's avatar

Thanks for the suggestions, guys.

@syz My situation is as Gail and Coloma describe: no cell service at the house so I require a landline.

@gailcalled & @Coloma I hadn’t thought about needing a corded phone for power outages, good call. I’ll plug it in tonight.

+ @jca As far as screening calls goes, that’s a good temporary solution – but as @janbb points out, it’s still a pain to have to go to the phone. I’ve been reluctant to let calls go to voicemail because I have to call an access number to check messages and that’s a bit of a pain, but definitely less so than dealing with the sales calls.

@ibstubro Great tip, thank you. I’d figured it was better to pick up the calls and ask to be removed, but if they just use the pickup as a basis to sell your number and call you more I guess I was doing more harm than good.

@Smitha & @LuckyGuy Call blocking is a great idea. My phone is fancier than I have completely explored yet; maybe it has this feature. If not, I know what I want for Chanukkah.

@Symbeline I don’t download programs much, but I will keep this in mind in the future.

janbb's avatar

How do you block calls when you don’t know what numbers are going to be calling you?

ibstubro's avatar

GA @wildpotato. Yes there are robo-callers that are only collecting information on what time a live person will answer a phone at any given address. If you answered their call at 6:45 every Friday night for a month, your number would be worth (I’m making this part up) $1 as compared to 0.1ยข for a ‘cold call’.

Let the danged machine get it. If I’m standing there when the pone rings, I answer. Otherwise, I refuse to rush to answer.

ibstubro's avatar

I think you can only block numbers ATF (after the fact), @janbb. Unless you know spammers that are willing to give you numbers!

LuckyGuy's avatar

Since the NSA is recording the info anyway, I say we fund their department entirely from penalties collected from telemarketers who violate the Do Not Call list. The fine can be $16,000 per violation! Since I average about one every 2 days, simple math says they can collect a little under $3Million just from the slime bags who call my phone. Imagine what they could do if they put their minds to it.

Hey NSA! Would you like me to sign a waiver giving you permission? I’m in! My number is [Redacted]…. But you already knew that. :-)

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