If Santa Claus wanted an easy way to separate the nice from the naughty for his list, all he’d have to do is look at the numbers culled from recorded phone calls. And no, not the sneaky tracking you’re thinking of — when you call a customer service line or your credit card company and hear that “this call may be recorded” notification, there’s data to show if you drop an f-bomb (or two or three or four) during that call. And Ohio has the sassiest mouths in the nation. [More]
Michael doesn’t remember registering his gift card with GameStop, and he didn’t associate his cell phone number directly with it. He might have used his PowerUp card to make a purchase using that gift card, but didn’t realize that he was linking them up. Or that GameStop would call him up to pester him about his unspent gift card balance. [More]
Looking to dial up another income stream, Skype plans to start running ads on its home tab, and promises they’ll be unobtrusive solicitations from the likes of Groupon, Visa and Universal Pictures. [More]
Here’s a weird possible scam going around. Our reader Chris writes, “Every day for the past week, I’ve been getting an automated call that asks me, ‘This is Survey 2010. Do you have a small dog?'” [More]
Jon neglected to return a couple DVDs to the rental store on time and had to suffer the telephonic wrath of someone who bombarded him with 8 consecutive calls from both the store phone and his personal cell. [More]
Curt says his roommate can’t shake a pushy debt collector who won’t get it through his head that he mixed up his identity with some guy who owes AT&T for DSL service. He contacted AT&T but the company seems unwilling/unable to call off the dogs. [More]
Dawn tells Consumerist that she had a potentially embarrassing experience recently involving a phone call, a celebrity-endorsed beauty product, and a shared phone line. She called to ask some questions about Joan Rivers’ Great Hair Day, a special hair powder marketed to women with thinning hair. Much to her horror, even though she didn’t provide the company with her phone number, they called back within minutes to talk about the product, without even checking to see whether it was Dawn who answered the phone. Nice. [More]
A man in New Mexico is suing Verizon Wireless over a series of harassing phone calls made by Verizon bill collectors last year. The man, Al Burrows, says the calls were concerning a relative’s unpaid cellphone bill. When he hung up on one of them, the disconnected Verizon rep called back, said she knew where Burrows lived, and added, “I am gonna blow your mother fucking house up.” [More]
I’ll keep this short because it’s Apple-related and we all need a break from that company: Apple has removed its ban on using your iPhone’s 3G “connection” to place VOIP calls, so now you can use an app like Fring to place overseas calls even when you’re not around a Wi-Fi hotspot. Call quality in those moments will naturally depend on AT&T’s ability to provide a good 3G connection, so keep your expectations low, but still it’s good news for any iPhone/AT&T customers looking to save money on calls. [More]
In the wide world of scams, this combination of a phone call and computer malware is sort of a novel twist. Jay likes to string phone scammers along to waste their time, so he managed to get quite a few details about how this particular scam works. If you’ve got naive family members with access to computers, either take away their computers or tell them never to download software from a stranger on the phone. [More]
Apple made it clear last year that Google Voice is not welcome on the App Store or your iPhone. “Fine,” said Google. “We’ll go through the browser!” Today the search engine revealed a new mobile web interface that uses some fancy HTML5 magic to provide voicemail, calling, and text message functionality. If you don’t already know, you can turn any page in Mobile Safari into an App icon on your home screen (click the “+” icon in Safari), meaning now you can have a legitimate Google Voice “app.” Below is a video tour. Update: There’s a down side to this: Cy writes in to let us know that this fancy new version actually breaks functionality for iPod Touch owners–the old web-based version let Touch owners make calls, but this one doesn’t. [More]
If you need an affordable way to reach someone in Haiti for the next two weeks, use Google Voice. The company is making all calls to Haiti temporarily free:
To help those families, we’re offering free calling to Haiti through Google Voice for the next two weeks. To place a call using Google Voice, use the Click2Call button on the website, the Google Voice mobile app, or dial your own Google Voice number and press 2 to place an outbound call.
Today the FTC banned pretty much all telemarketing-based robocalls starting Tuesday, September 1st, 2009. At that point, “violators will face penalties up to $16,000 per call,” notes the Los Angeles Times.
Hey, AT&T customers: be very, very careful when dialing three-digit numbers. If you’re trying to dial, say, 211 or 311 (local government information), 611 (AT&T Wireless customer service) or 711 (TTY relay), and you dial 411 for directory assistance by mistake, you’ll be charged for it even if you realize the mistake and hang up immediately. And you’ll need to live with the consequences of your error, since, according to reader Stephen, AT&T will not refund these charges.
Megan sent us this transcript of a recent phone conversation she had with someone from a mysteriously generic “cardholder services” that called her.
The Better Business Bureau has released a warning to be aware of scammers calling to threaten people with arrest “within the hour” for defaulting on payday loans. What makes them stand out from normal debt collecting scammers is these callers have huge amounts of personal info on their victims, including Social Security and drivers license numbers; old bank account numbers; names of employers, relatives, and friends; and home addresses.
If you’re an E*TRADE customer who lives in California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, or Washington, you may be eligible for a class action settlement regarding the undisclosed recording of phone calls. The deadline to file your claim form is September 25, 2009. [Settlement site]