Here is a interesting story
Unknown, unavailable, out of area, anonymous, private. Clues to some Da Vinci Code mystery? Not exactly, but some experts say this string of words is now widely associated with another mystery. They're the display messages that appear when Caller ID doesn't ID the caller.Sounds like grounds for a class action lawsuit to me. Time for sarcastic laughter but watch out phone companies. Some lawyer will catch up with this in not very long.
But, wait a second, why doesn't Caller ID identify every call and caller?
Good question, says Greg Smith, president and chief executive of Accudata Technologies in Allen, Texas, who thinks consumers who regularly see these terms flash on their Caller ID displays should be asking that of their telephone carriers.
"The caller's number should always show unless there is some technical difficulty. But the 'unknown,' 'unavailable' and 'out of area' . . . you should never get those," he says. "We all do get them, and the reason we do is we are all getting cheated."
Telephone companies have the technology not only to identify the number in nearly 100 percent of the calls you receive, says Smith, but also to identify the caller's name -- or at least the name listed on the phone's account. But how often does that happen? Half the time? Less?
"It is a financial decision some of these telephone carriers make," Smith says of why Caller ID services sometimes don't deliver.
Wasn't the Phone company the bad guy in some 1960's spy spoof? I think it was The President's Analyst.
In the spirit of full disclosure, you should know that Accudata Technologies is one of about 20 line information database (LIDB) companies nationwide in the business of collecting, storing and delivering telephone information -- including providing names and numbers of callers displayed via Caller ID. When a phone company can't find a caller's name and number in its database, it has to reach into other phone-info databases, such as Accudata's, and pay a small fee.To me it sounds like the phone company doesn't want to be bothered and or are looking at the bottom line. I have the same problem here. My caller ID all too often don't identify who is calling. I get out of area, the town or city the call originates from, or says unknown caller. I've called Bell South, and they say its not their problem. So why do we pay for this service.
But some phone-service providers are unwilling to dip into the appropriate LIDB to provide the Caller ID info their customers are paying $6 to $8 for each month.
When calls come from outside the service provider's system, they require going to outside databases to fetch the info. At a penny per look-up, those Caller ID calls would cost a phone company about $1 a month per Caller ID customer.
Chicken feed? Not when you figure that the nation's three biggest telecommunications companies -- Verizon Communications Inc., BellSouth Corp. and AT&T Inc. -- provide local and wireless phone service to more than 200 million customers. The savings for not paying the penny can be millions to tens of millions of dollars each month.
But the telephone companies say there are calls that Caller ID simply can't identify by name or number. And then there's the Caller ID spoofing that's making news lately. Illegal telemarketers, con artists -- anyone -- can change how their phone numbers or names appear on Caller ID using spoofing technology available online. Callers can hide their identities or even make it appear that their calls are coming from your bank or the police.
Better yet, what do we do about it? This isn't the 1970's, we have choices for both local and long distance service. If you don't like what you receive from your phone carrier, then dump them. I did that with MCI about 7 years ago.
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