There was an item on the radio today about an idea for frustrating telemarketers. An American, Roger Anderson, has devised a system that automatically responds with voice recordings that waste cold callers' time by engaging with them, and then stringing them along. The details are on a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jollyrogertelephone/.
Annoying telemarketers is hopefully but one step in ridding the world of this modern-day scourge. I have been giving some thought to other strategies we could employ.
Simply banning cold calling is not likely to work. The telemarketers, who have no ethical standards at all, will simply go overseas. They may have done that already. Who knows where they are calling from? However, that doesn't mean to say that we should tolerate this shameless behaviour being conducted openly in New Zealand. How about declaring the NZ Marketing Association as a terrorist organisation? That would automatically drive it underground and significantly restrict its funding.
But the real effort has to be made against the amoral businesses that employ telemarketers. This should be made a crime. Why have successive NZ governments done NOTHING to restrain this intrusive practice? Suitable punishments, for all individuals involved in recruiting and contracting with telemarketers and all directors of the company could include:
- Hefty fines. I have in mind $10,000 for every annoyed householder;
- Computer-generated telephone calls to their home, office and mobile telephones at random times, 24-hours per day, inviting them to buy things they don't want;
- Publishing their home telephone numbers so that any member of the public who has received an unwanted call can ring up the people who caused it to happen and see how they like it;
- Requiring them to wear a large sign, front and back, with the message “I HAVE ALL THE MORAL SCRUPLES OF A SOW ON HEAT”. (If we ever catch an actual telemarketer this message should be tattooed on each cheek – all four of them); and
- Compulsory training in ethics, a subject of which they are apparently completely ignorant.
Sharia law may have some interesting punishments to add to this list.
And if all of us, just once per day, telephone the Marketing Association on 09 361 7760 and ask politely for them to cease all direct marketing in New Zealand, they might eventually get the message that the practice is unacceptable.