Wednesday, March 15, 2006
The Cell Phone "Do Not Call" List
Origins: Despite dire warnings about the imminent release of cell phone numbers to telemarketers that continue to be circulated via e-mail year after year, no such thing is about to occur, nor do cell phone users have to register their cell phone numbers with the national Do Not Call registry before a soon-to-pass deadline to head off an onslaught of telemarketing calls. The panic-inducing e-mails (which circulate especially widely every January, since many versions of the warning list the end of that month as a cut-off date for registering cell phone numbers with the national Do Not Call registry) have grown out of a misunderstanding about the proposed creation of a wireless directory assistance service.I had already formulated a plan to deal with telemarketers calling on my cell phone: I would take them to small claims court. My first idea was just to charge them for my costs on my cell phone plan, some piddling amount between .15 cents and a couple of dollars. I was going to promulgate this idea in hopes it would become a pop meme. I figured the massed effect of many people doing this would be too overwhelming for the telemarketers to continue the practice for long.
Cell phone numbers have generally been excluded from printed telephone books and directory assistance services. However, since the use of cell phones has burgeoned in recent years (to the point that many people no longer maintain landline phone service), several national wireless companies (AllTel, AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Nextel, Sprint PCS, and T-Mobile) have banded together and hired Qsent, Inc. to produce a Wireless 411 service. Their goal is to pool their listings to create a comprehensive directory of cell phone customer names and phone numbers that would be made available to directory assistance providers.
Yet the idea still holds a certain attraction to me. I doubt this could be adapted for landline use because such calls do not actually cost money to the receiver. Still, I think it's a tactic to tuck away for future use.