BellSouth’s Site Tracks Your IP And Then They Telemarket You

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Is a company allowed to call you up after you go to their website, even if you haven't even given them your phone number?

Is a company allowed to call you up after you go to their website, even if you haven’t even given them your phone number?

Claudia visited this pricing plan page on the BellSouth DSL site.

Within three hours, right after dinner, Bell South called Claudia, asking “to speak to the person interested in Bell South DSL.”

The funny thing is, Claudia never gave up her phone number or asked to be contacted. When Claudia’s husband asked how this could be, the telemarketer responded, “Yes sir, no matter where you go or what you do, someone is watching you all the time.”

Apparently, BellSouth (or it’s third-party telemarketing center) connected Claudia’s ip with her phone number. What probably happened is that at some point, Claudia entered her phone number somewhere online. It was connected to other personal information, like name, address, and/or email. The website recorded her ip. BellSouth bought her information from somewhere in a big batch and connected the ip on their site to the ip and phone number they had on the record they acquired.

Badda bing, badda boom, instant nuisance.

Here’s the thing, is this legal? Read Claudia’s letter and let us know what you think.

Claudia writes:

    “Dear Ben, here is my experience with Bell South DSL telemarketing.

    Apart from the obvious issues, I haven’t figured out how they connected my IP number (I’ve broadband internet via Comcast/Roadrunner) to my home phone number). And no, I didn’t give my number, click on anything other than the opening site that introduces the DSL price strategy or in any way indicate I wanted to be contacted via phone…

    For your consideration: Having just finished dinner Monday night, we received a telemarketing call from Bell South. The young lady on the other end wanted to speak to the person who was interested in the Bell South DSL. My husband asked ?is someone here interested??

    To which the young lady responded, “Yes, someone at your address
    visited the Bell South website a few hours ago.”

    “Really?” my husband said.

    “Yes,” she replied in a tone he wasn’t entirely in love with, “Yes sir, no matter where you go or what you do, someone is watching you all the time.”

    My husband told the young lady he was going to let her speak to the smart one in the family, that was me. Oh, well.

    The dialogue repeated itself, pretty much as before. The telemarketer assured me all sites track visitors. Upon my interjection that no site I was familiar with phones back (during family time) to sell goods or services after a visit, she insisted this wasn’t a sales call, just a follow-up to make sure the website hadn’t “locked up or frozen up
    while you were trying to acquire Bell South services, as sometimes might be the case.”

    Well, that certainly reassured me. Admission of such a possible glitch made me want the service even more. Then I asked her what led her to believe I was “trying to acquire?” Bell South DSL? This must have confused her as her until then aggressive, hard driving tone changed to one of uncertainty and disbelief.

    Well, that ended it for me. We may be twenty-three years late, but if I’m going to be monitored, watched, tracked, detailed, listed, sorted, categorized, sliced, diced and measured in every possible way then I want it done by confident, hard driving closers and not some namby-pamby twit without a comeback.

    So, I’m really still in shock and disbelief about the call, and would like to know or determine if this (along with the actual call to my home) is legal within current privacy laws regulating internet and commerce.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Ma Bell got the ill communication, indeed. — BEN POPKEN