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Robotic telemarketers

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Rushing to answer a ringing phone can lead to real disappointment when the other person on the line is a telemarketer. What is even more aggravating is to hear a robotic voice instead of a real person. One woman is so frustrated with robotic telemarketers, she's in an uproar.

"It's very aggravating because normally when a person calls, you can just say ‘Take our number off the list', but when it's an automated system, there's no accountability," said Deborah Brunt, an Oklahoma City resident.

Brunt has been getting those kinds of calls a lot recently.

One day, Brunt received a recorded message that sent her over-the-top. The message said they were from DirectTV and to press one if she was interested in signing up for their services. Pressing one eventually connected Brunt to a live person.

When Brunt asked for a name, the telemarketer told her his name was Mickey Mouse.

"Just like that, with sarcasm in his voice," Brunt added.

Brunt asked "Mickey Mouse" to take her name off the call list, but she was hung up on before she could finish the question.

She then tried to call the local number back, but couldn't get through. Telemarketers can change the number that comes up on consumers' caller IDs. This trick makes it appear as if the call is local.

"When he said ‘Mickey Mouse,' I decided OK, I'm not putting up with this!" she said.

NEWS 9's Amanda Taylor and the Consumer Watch Team investigated and found DirectTV did not make the call. Their spokesperson said they never use an automated system.

In most cases in Oklahoma it is illegal for any telemarketer to call you using an automated system. There are a few exceptions, including:

• If the call concerns a specific purchase or request you have made.
• If the calls are initiated by a live operator.
• If the call is from a creditor.

Taylor said if none of those situations apply, just hang up the phone. You can file a complaint with both the Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General, Consumer Protection Unit, and the Federal Trade Commission.

If there's something Amanda Taylor and the Consumer Watch team can help you with call
841-9921.

Originally Aired :11-29-07

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