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Dear Qwest

A friend of mine just recently signed up for your land line telephone residential service. Within days, he has already been getting a slew of solicitation phone calls. He hasn't even had the chance to hand out his number, and already, he's getting quite the barrage of solicitors. Yet, I have a Google Voice number that hasn't seen a single unwanted call. I've only had it for a few months, but it's certainly been much, much longer than my friend's, and I'm handing it to anyone and everyone. I gave it to my school, a car repair shop, Apple Computer, a number of retail shops, friends and family, and so forth. I call tons with it too.

So, can you explain that to me? Why is his fresh number getting spammed, while mine remains completely spam-free? Is selling personal information part of your business plan too? Just curious. Oh, and by the way, I'm not a customer. I left your "Spirit of Service", because it wasn't any good.

{ 7 } Comments

  1. Aaron | October 15, 2009 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Before the comments come in, the solicitors are calling my friend my name. Sure, the number is recycled. I understand that. I don't understand how they can already be asking for him by name.

  2. Russ | October 15, 2009 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Yes, that is part of their business model. In fact, if you don't want it shared, there is an additional _monthly_ fee. Course, there is a federal do not call list, but that isn't instant and a certain percentage of solicitors ignore it, and "charities", people taking surveys, companies who you have done business with, and politicians can ignore it too.

    Its too bad its so damned hard for people to understand that I don't want them calling me.

  3. Rusty | October 15, 2009 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Well, the most likely explanation is that Qwest is selling a list of customers and phone numbers as a CD or even a download, to telemarketers for something like $0.0015 a phone number or so. The price kept low so that the can sell the list again each quarter, month, or even day.

    A 'diff' on two subsequent lists would show who had a new number, what their name was, even their city and street address in all likelihood.

    I suppose it is also possible that Qwest is simply selling a 'daily' update of that diff file for significantly more, perhaps even $0.50 a customer.

    Google is already an advertiser, so they may not be as likely to sell their customer list to telemarketers. Why sell your good customer list to competitors?

  4. TGM | October 16, 2009 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Do you guys have the equivelent of a Telephone Preference Service? (We in the UK have Once signed up, you can get companies in trouble for phoning you.

    I realise your query is about Qwest's views on privacy, and this is more of a cure than a prevention tactic, but it's worked wonders for me (when I received a recycled number with a lot of sales calls attached!)

  5. Joseph Hall | October 16, 2009 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    There is a fee for having your phone number unlisted, but Qwerst will still sell your number. However, when the line is ordered, you can demand that they do not sell your number to anyone. By federal law, they must comply. This is free. The agents that take orders know this, but will not tell you. The last time I got a voice number from Qwerst, this is what I did. It worked, and I never got a single sales call on that number.

  6. Steve Dibb | October 16, 2009 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Joseph, really? That is awesome, that's what I'm going to do. I was going to sign up for a landline with Qwest (not a fan of VOIP, no thanks), and I didn't feel like coughing up the monthly "unlisted number" fee. I'll have to give that a try.

  7. Steve Beattie | October 22, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Back in the mid-90s, before Qwest bought USWest, I worked for the IT department of a daily newspaper. Our circulation department even back then was able to subscribe to a service from USWest, where every month they sent us the list (on a floppy disk, no less) of new landline customers in our delivery region. Given the general lack of ethics by both companies, it's no surprise that post the Qwest acquisition, this practice continued.

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