Home CallerComplaints: Fighting Telemarketers Through Crowdsourcing

CallerComplaints: Fighting Telemarketers Through Crowdsourcing

Despite the federal legislation of the Do-Not-Call list, many people still receive telemarketer phone calls on a regular basis. Although you can report the violators to various government agencies, few take the time to do so. But now there is a web site that can help: Callercomplaints.com aims to build the largest telemarketer database on the web, built entirely by user submissions.

About CallerComplaints

The idea behind the CallerComplaints web site is simple. If you receive an annoying call from a telemarketer, you can search the database to see if the number has already been entered and, if so, you can add your complaint to the file. If the number does not show up in the search results, you can enter in a new complaint.

For a complaint to be entered, you must fill in the phone number, the caller type (telemarketer, political caller, debt collector, prank caller, or unknown), the complaint details, and you must complete the CAPTCHA before clicking “File.” You don’t have to provide your name – that field is optional – and, if you know who is calling you, there is a box for that as well.

Filing a Complaint

There is also a section on the site called “spoofed numbers,” which categorizes the more unethical telemarketers who trick Caller IDs to display an incorrect phone number, something that is done so you can’t report them. On CallerComplaints, however, you can still file complaints against these spoofed numbers.

Users on the site can mark each other’s feedback at useful or report feedback as spam, but doing so doesn’t appear to actually have any impact on whether or not the feedback is displayed or how it is ranked.

How Filing a Complaint Helps

Instead of relying on the government to resolve the telemarketer problem, CallerComplaints wants to publicly shame companies instead. The web site’s content is designed to be easily indexed by search engines, so the next time someone searches for a number using one of the major search engines, they’ll find the complaints submitted about that number at the top of their search results, hopefully displaying the company’s name, as well.

Unfortunately, since many shady telemarketers have their calls masked so as to display as “unknown number” on Caller ID, neither this site nor the government’s Do Not Call’s complaint filing service can help resolve that problem.

In theory, the data collected by the site could be used to file joint-action complaints with government agencies, but CallerComplaints does not actually have plans to get involved to this extent to provide a service like this, leaving legal action in the hands of the government.

However, as an online database to research those mystery numbers, the site does a good job of making it easy to find numbers, file complaints, and leave feedback, which, at the very least, makes for a very cathartic experience.

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