Monday, January 17, 2011

Death to Robocalls

When I moved into this apartment about a year and a half ago, I received some last bits of mail sent to the previous tenant, DT. I expected this, and it wasn't a big problem. Eventually, I stopped getting mail for her, except the occasional "DT or current tenant" junk mail.

What I didn't expect was to start receiving collections calls for her. They started trickling in about a month or two after I moved in. It was weird, to be sure, but it made a bit of sense. The people DT owed money to googled her name and got my address, which used to be her address. Then they googled that address to find a phone number, and they got the current phone number for that address -- my phone number.

DT must owe a lot of money to someone, because the calls were coming four or five times a week. It got so bad that I changed my outgoing voicemail to something along the lines of this: "This is the voice mail of Andy Hollandbeck. If you would like to leave Andy Hollandbeck a message, please do so. This is not the phone number of DT. If you are looking for DT, she does not live here. I do not know who she is or where she now lives. Please remove this number from your database. This is the phone number of Andy Hollandbeck, not DT."

They eventually got the message; the collection calls from live people stopped. But now I have a different problem, one I don't know how to fix. The problem is robocalls -- those automated collections calls with one voice saying most of the message, and a second voice chiming in whenever the person's name needs to be used. They come every two or three days now, and robots don't listen to voicemail.

They usually come during the day while I'm at work, so I don't get them. Instead, they pile up in my voicemail, and I end up spending four or five minutes dialing in, starting each message, and deleting it. But today, MLK Day, I'm home, and I'm expecting a call from apartment maintenance (my furnace is out, but my space heater is doing an outstanding job), so I'm answering the phone.

So I pick up a robocall:

"Hello. this is an automated message for DK. If you are DK, please press 1. If you are not DK, please press 2..."

I press 2, and this is what I hear:

"This call is for DK. If you are DK, please press 1. If you are not DK, please disconnect now..."

Apparently, they weren't wasting enough of my time already. I am so glad they gave me the option to press 2 to hear about hanging up instead of just telling me to hang up. What I would like is a way to talk to a real damn person to get my phone number off their list. Grrrr!

I'm sure that, with a little research into the problem, I could find some resource that would let these robotic morons know that they can stop calling me, that I'm not DT. But I am loathe to give them more of my time than they've already taken.

I guess it's a good thing I'm not David Banner, eh? HULK SMASH ROBOCALLS!

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