Stop telemarketers with the TeleZapper
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Hang up on telemarketers--automatically! Here's How

David Coursey,
Executive Editor, AnchorDesk
Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Lately, I've been enjoying a new--and extremely pleasant--experience: The telephone rings, I answer it, there's a little beep, and the caller immediately disconnects. I hang up the phone with the smug satisfaction that comes from winning another battle with a telemarketer.

This is all made possible thanks to a little gizmo called the TeleZapper...I paid $49.95, and I'm sure it's discounted someplace. But if you get enough annoying marketing calls, it's worth at least twice the price.

HERE'S HOW it works. You connect the TeleZapper between your telephone wall outlet and a telephone. You can plug it into any empty phone jack in the house, as long as it's close enough to an electrical outlet to plug in the power supply.

Now, big telemarketing organizations use computerized dialing systems. You can recognize these computer-generated calls by the slight delay between the time you pick up the phone and the telemarketer appears on the line. (Pre-TeleZapper, I had already learned to hang up on these calls before the telemarketers started talking.)

The TeleZapper emits a tone that these dialing systems recognize as an indication that the line has been disconnected. When the dialer hears the TeleZapper tone, it immediately hangs up and (this is the best part) removes your number from its database.

AT FIRST, I was concerned that the device was connected to only one of my phones. I thought I'd have to answer all calls from that phone if I wanted to nuke the marketing calls. I'd even planned to use a cordless phone for the purpose. But not to worry: The TeleZapper people engineered the device so it responds to a phone pick-up anywhere in the house. So no matter where I am--or what phone I answer--TeleZapper emits its little beep.

I'd expected some of my "real" callers to notice the beep and comment on it, but so far that hasn't happened. What I have experienced, repeatedly, is the pleasure of hearing the compu-dialer click off the line when I answer.

Besides making me happier, it also prevents me from occasionally erupting at the humanoid on the other end. I'm sure my karma has also improved as a result of not visiting my disgust on some poor kid sitting in Colorado Springs or someplace, avoiding a career in fast food.

AS MUCH AS I LIKE IT, TeleZapper has a few limitations:

First, it's a single-line device. Two lines? Buy two TeleZappers.

Second, if you use an answering service provided by your local telco, the TeleZapper won't work on calls the answering service picks up. Someone (or something) has to actually pick up the telephone in your house for TeleZapper to work its magic.

Finally, and more seriously, the TeleZapper could prevent you from getting calls you want. Why? Because some computer-generated calls come from public safety agencies, blood banks, and other organizations you might actually want to hear from. If it weren't rude to shout, I'd put the following in all caps: If your community uses an automated calling system to warn residents about weather or other emergencies, think twice about installing the TeleZapper.

NONE OF THESE exceptions apply to me, so they aren't a cause of concern. If the local Red Cross chapter I work with ever automates its volunteer call-out system, I could be in trouble. The only limitation I've found is that not all telemarketers use computerized dialing systems. If a real human being dials the number, the TeleZapper won't work.

Whatever their limits, such devices may be superfluous in the future: The Federal Trade Commission has proposed the creation of a national database of people who don't want to receive telemarketing calls, with serious penalties for violators. And I'm sure that the big call centers are working on countermeasures against devices like the TeleZapper.

But in the meantime, after two weeks with the TeleZapper, I'm incredibly pleased with its positive impact on my ongoing battle with telemarketers. Now if they could just build something to attach to my mail server that would eliminate junk mail--call it the SpamZapper.

Stop telemarketers with the TeleZapper

Stop telemarketers and buy your Telezapper today!
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