The call that I received last weekend:

I had a pleasant call from a gentlemen last weekend who asked if our company supported ROBO calls. I said, “No” and asked why. He indicated that he was ROBO called from one of our numbers. The offending ROBO spoofed one of our numbers to call this very nice guy. I explained how it happened and again assured him that we did not participate willingly.

As you are probably experiencing, your home phones, office phones and cell phones are all getting hit with what has been recently termed “ROBO calls”. This refers to the war between the robots and your telephone devices. Is this a twist on the Terminator movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger?

You may get local caller ID numbers, out of the area or unknown caller ID. You may hear silence or a recording with instructions on how to have your number removed from the robot’s list. You may think it is from Google regarding your web page.

I have many thoughts on this:

1) I theorize that if you press a number to be removed from the list, you are helping to populate the database of telephone numbers that receive a human response; you are helping them not helping your situation… just a theory.

2) It costs the originating company next to nothing to program a computer to make these calls and again costs them next to nothing to call your phones.

3) It costs you in time, it elevates your stress level, it takes you from your goals and life enjoyment to answer a computer (robot). It costs your employer your time and payroll taxes. I (again theory) believe that this is causing businesses across the United States BILLIONS of dollars in lost employee productivity.

4) Very little revenue is generated from this calling pattern. Please don’t buy from this kind of activity or your “Vote” may help propagate further calls.

Who is to blame?

First and foremost, the telemarketers. Bad telephone etiquette and abuses have been the cause over the years of illegally changing your long distance from your carrier to someone you didn’t request. They have shared your information with others for the purposes of marketing new products to you (shouldn’t happen without your permission). Net Neutrality abuses presently occur whereby your data is throttled depending on what data your network is requesting (I hate Net Neutrality, but agree with the principle). When the government steps in to fix these problems, it means more paperwork and filing for yours truly; it means bigger government.

Secondly, my industry with its vast lobbying influence has not done enough to encourage regulators to address this issue. We are losing phone lines and business because of this. We are making enemies of our customers. People don’t want to pay for this abuse.

Thirdly, the Federal Communications Commission is to blame. Except for last month when they fined a ROBO $120 million. Good GOING! They need to get heavy handed for a while and fix this both with securing Caller ID information (prevent Caller ID spoofing) and handing out steep fines to make this activity too expensive for the offenders. Click for a news story on ROBO:

So we at Bullitt are working on perfecting a service for our residential customers whereby the caller should identify themselves. Our customer phone then rings and gives our customer several options after the recorded voice identifies themselves:

1) Accept the call and complete the voice path
2) Send to voicemail (sorry mother-in-law)
3) Send to nonstop hold music
4) Play Dah-Dah-Dah, “This number is not in service”

If I sit here and contemplate it, it isn’t worth getting upset about. You are getting upset at a robot. A robot programmed to go to war with you. I figure that if I get upset it wins.

Good LUCK!



  1. Mary SAther

    One night I got a call from myself! I was so shocked I had to answer it! ROBO!

  2. Terry C

    Figure out a way to transfer the call to a 900 number that charges $700 or $800 dollars a minute. At least you get paid for your time and aggravation. Robo callers getting dinged a few times like this would shut down a bunch of them. 🙂

    1. Scott

      Terry, I TOTALLY agree! There needs to be some cruel and unusual punishment for these folks! We never had this when long distance rates were a cost consideration.

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