The Phonex Times
Issue Number Ten
Fun things to do when telemarketers call....
I believe everyone would agree that the telemarketers life is not an easy one. While I empathize with the positions these poor souls face every time they put on their headsets, I recently had an epiphany on how to deal with the incessant ringing.
You see, my daughter is 18 months old, and has embarked on that most confusing and oxymoronic of languages, American English. While "mommy" sounds more like "ahmmy", and dog sounds more like "rog", she has mastered the word "hello".
When I answer a call at home, and recognize the momentary silence of that most evil of inventions, the Automatic Dialer, I immediately put my headset on my daughter. She automatically says, hello...hello, a series of nonsense, then looks back at me after she hears dial tone.
Ahh, sweet victory...
If you happen to reside in Missouri
In Missouri, Attorney General Jay Nixon has launched No Call, a statewide registry of people who are off limits to telemarketing phone calls. You can add your name to the list by placing a toll free call or by filling out a form on the website.
1/866-NO CALL1 (1/866-662-2551) or at www.moago.org
The new service was authorized by legislation last year which prevents some telemarketers from calling Missourians who sign on to the list. Telemarketers covered by the law must stop calling them by July 1, 2001 or face civil penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation.
People who sign up also receive additional information in the mail instructing them how to report violations of the No Call law.
I'm sure that most other states have this in place now, or will be soon. Check with your state Attorney General to be sure.
(Yeah, but my system is more fun.)
Quick Windows Exit
This is a nifty tip I picked up while perusing www.winfiles.com, a site maintained by cnet.com that has lots of free programs, tips and tricks for Windows users.
Usually, one has to click several things to turn off the computer when you are ready to go home for the day. With an icon on your desktop titled "Shutdown", it makes it easy to make a quick exit.
Know your partner
An English bank robber planned the perfect heist. Every detail was perfectly orchestrated; the ideal robbery time, a getaway car and even a reliable accomplice.
After robbing the bank, the man left with the money in a bag over his left shoulder. As he approached the spot of the getaway car, his accomplice promptly ran him over.
Long distance carriers boosting consumer fee
AT&T and Sprint recently boosted the Universal Service Fund rates that they charge to consumers and businesses, and WorldCom is expected to follow suit.
As you may remember, the Universal Service Fund (USF) is a congressionally mandated program in which the major carriers collect funds to subsidize schools and libraries, rural health care, high-cost areas and low-income people. This fund is then forwarded to the FCC for administration.
"The fees are a 'pass-through' to the FCC", according to AT&T spokeswoman Claudia Jones.
However, the long distance carriers are the sole monitors of the collections. Dian Callaghan from the Office of Consumer Counsel stated, "If they collect more than what they need to meet the USF obligations, they can keep the rest."
Business customers can expect the increase to be from the current 6.6 percent to 7.5 percent. Residential customers will see their fee increased from 8.6 to 9.6 percent. For an average $25 long-distance bill, this amounts to an additional increase of 32 cents.
The FCC said in December that it expected to collect $1.3 billion in fees in the first quarter of 2001, compared with $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.
"We counsel consumers here in Colorado to shop for long-distance resellers in part based on what they charge them for the USF reimbursements," Callaghan said. The charges can vary widely from 5.9 to 9.6 percent, according to Office of Consumer Counsel documents.
Joke of the day
A father of five children had won a toy at a raffle. He called his kids together to ask which one should have the present.
"There are three criteria," he stated. "Who is the most obedient? Who never talks back to mother? Who does everything she says?"
Five small voices answered in unison. "Okay, daddy, you get the toy."
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Updated April 16, 2002 ©1999-2002 Phonex Communications, Inc.