TeleZapper TZ800B Phone

TeleZapper TZ800B Phone

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This Product is Unnecessary.

Apr 12, 2002 (Updated Jan 26, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Works for some telemarketing computers

Cons:Cost $50 when your answering machine and a SIT tone does the same for free.

The Bottom Line: This product is a great idea but it's totally unnecessary to pay up to $50 from something you can try for free.


While this product can be a somewhat effective weapon in your battle against intrusive advertising and telemarketers, there is an absolutely free way to achieve what this product does.

A Familiar Annoyance:
It's an almost universal experience. You have just arrived home from a hard days work, settled into your favorite easy chair, prepared for a quiet relaxing evening at home. Or perhaps you have just gathered for dinner with your family. A scene right out of Ozzie & Harriet. The very picture of domestic bliss. Then it begins.

The phone rings, it's Sprint. Like an ex-lover who just doesn't get the point that "It's over", they want you to come back to them. They beg you to dump that cheap, trollop MCI who will only make you unhappy in the long run.

Or perhaps you left the answering machine on to "screen out" such calls. As you and your family enjoy perhaps the only "quality" family time of the day, your machine intercepts the next call. Your entire household sits silently as the machine plays out the message Proctor & Gamble has left for you. Apparently their market research has identified you as someone who would be interested in a free sample of their depends diapers.

Your mind recalls the scene from Apocalypse Now, when Marlon Brando laments, "the horror, the horror."

Such is the saga of the modern day anguish known as telemarketing. That is until the counter technology of the TeleZapper.

How it works:
The TeleZapper is meant to thwart the telemarketing scheme known as Predictive Dialing. This technique makes use of a computer that dials phone numbers from a list. When you pick up the phone it sends a signal that the computer recognizes, indicating to the system that a "live prospect" is on the phone. This eliminates "non-connect calls" and "no answer calls".

It is only after the system detects your pickup that you are connected with an agent who makes his or her pitch. It works the same way if your answering machine picks up the call.

It's called "predictive" dialing because the system attempts to predict when a telemarketer is done with one potential customer and then routes him/her to the next successful call.

The TeleZapper attempts to defeat this system by emitting the first tone in a three-tone signal used by Ma Bell called the SIT Tone or SIT cadence. SIT stands for Special Information Tone and is an International Telecommunications Union standard that precedes the announcement you get when you dial a disconnected number. I'm sure you've heard it before, "Daa, Dahhh, DAAAT, The number you have dial has been…disconnected."

The spoken disconnect message is, of course, not played so as not to confuse your actual human callers, but the first SIT tone is. It is a 918 Hz tone that lasts about 1/3rd of a second.

The makers of the TeleZapper claim that this tone is know to cause the telemarketers' "Call Progress Analysis Software" to mark your number as a disconnected line. The Predictive Dialer is expected to remove your number from its list after getting three "disconnected" results.

Why you don't need it:
Since the TeleZapper is merely adding the first tone in the SIT cadence when you answer a call, anyone with an answering machine can do the same thing by adding the SIT tone to the beginning of his or her answering machine message.

You can download the SIT TONE at any one of the following web sites:
http://www.scn.org/~bk269/zapper.html
http://www.navyrelics.com/tribute/signal_and_circuit_conditions.htm
http://www.davehitt.com/jan02/tmmmda.html

Once you do that, just place your answering machine near your PC speakers. Play the SIT tone on your computer and record your normal greeting. Leave about 1.5 to 3 seconds of silence after the SIT tone prior to speaking. The Predictive Dialer might otherwise interpret your voice as a successful connection.

As with the TeleZapper, human callers would hear the tone. A little annoying but you could reasonably expect your caller to speak after your answering machine greeting and he or she should leave a message. If any one you know finds the three-tone beep soooo confusing that they don't at least say, "Hello??" you would probably find it a chore to converse with them anyway.

Does it work?
At least one Predictive Dialing System company (Mosaix) claims to be unaffected by the TeleZapper. They further insist that the SIT tone itself will not circumvent their software. You can read their Sales Support Bulletin on the subject at:
http://www.mosaixusergroup.com/avya_SSB116.htm

I do not own the TeleZapper, for reasons I've explained, so I cannot give a first hand account of the effectiveness of the TeleZapper itself, but I can comment on the effectiveness of the SIT Tone in reducing the number of Telemarketer calls.

I added the SIT Tone to my answering machine greeting about one month ago and I notice a reduction in telemarketer calls. Previously I had been receiving about 4 to 5 calls a day and now the average seems to be closer to 2 unsolicited calls every other day, indicating that the SIT Tone is having some effect.

Another Anti-Telemarketer Strategy:

Have your number added to your state's "Do Not Call List":
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 "requires each company, with the exception of those making nonprofit solicitations, to maintain a list of those people who do not wish to be contacted by phone."

If you are contacted more than one time in a 12-month period after having registered your name and number on the "Do Not Call List", you can sue that company for $500 per call.

Currently 20 states have "Do Not Call" lists. Go to the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) website for a list of states. You will also find a link showing you how to be added to your states "Do Not Call" list: http://www.the-dma.org/government/donotcalllists.shtml

There is sometimes a small fee charged by the state to be added to the list. For example, my State, Georgia charges $5.00.

This method is likely to be much more effective than either the TeleZapper or a SIT Tone greeting on your answering machine, plus it carries the strength of the law on it's side.

For more information on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 go to: http://papa.essortment.com/telemarketersst_pxu.htm

Let me apologize in advance if, by the time you read this article, any of the above websites turn out to be dead links. At the time of this writing, all links are current.


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