Ross Reeves • almost 10 years ago
Simple Solutions Work and Cost Less
I suspect the final solution will probably work about as well as the "Do not call" list, which I think everyone would agree is a failure and waste of money.
There are also so many loop holes that my phone rings off the hook with legal, but equally irritating calls from politicians, not for profits, businesses that you've done business with in the past, etc., etc.
I think the concept of a "white list" is unworkable, and would hope the few ideas I've seen regarding one are ignored.
The best solutions that I've found for robocalls as well as legal, but unwanted solicitations is to block the numbers. They are imperfect, but work to a degree without a new system or massive expenditures.
There are two ways that I've been able to do this. The first is with the carrier.
For my carriers, you can add call blocking as a feature. You are allowed up to 5 phone numbers to block. The carrier intercepts the call and sends a polite message to the caller, something along the lines of "their call is not being accepted."
The solution is limited, a real pain to maintain with the carrier, there are some numbers that you can't block, and if this was my only path would blow through the 5 number limit daily if not before noon.
The second solution is with a cordless phone that has a call blocking function. When I receive a call without caller id, it is automatically rejected. When I receive a call with caller id, if it's a solicitation, I can save the number to a call block directory on the instrument itself.
It's much simpler than the carrier's approach. The negatives are: it is limited to 30 numbers (again too few), and once blocking is established on a number it will ring once before the call is blocked.
I think the FTC should get out of the "do not call" business, and instead do the following:
1. Work with the manufacturers of phones; mobile, smart, cordless, wired, etc. and mandate that they provide a call blocking mechanism in the instrument.
2. The mechanism should allow any user to block any unidentified call, or any number that is identified.
3. The mechanism should be simple to initiate and maintain, and should effectively allow unlimited numbers (memory's cheap).
4. If a number is blocked or the number is unidentified, the instrument should not ring or send a message to the caller. A simple disconnect would work fine.
5. It should be the right of every individual to block any caller they want, and their responsibility to solve their unwanted calls problem.
If such an instrument were available, I would dump my current phones, and buy the new models immediately.
There are some apps that attempt to provide this functionality on smart phones with varying degrees of success.
If enough people felt the same way, there wouldn't be any issue about having to finance a "national solution" with loopholes.
At the present, "Do not call" doesn't work (I've been on the list for years with no success), reporting for "Do not call" is a pain and waste of time, statutes don't work, and I have little faith that the next system will work.
Put a simple requirement on phone manufacturers, and leave it up to the individuals to solve their "robocall" problems.
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