Mobile phone carrier’s billion-dollar a year scam

Mobile phone carrier’s billion-dollar a year scam

Carrier ScamYou know those annoying voice mail instructions you hear when you call someone’s mobile phone? Those utterly pointless and annoying 15-second canned recordings that give you such valuable instructions as “hang up after you leave your message.”

I’ve always HATED these instructions that have wasted hours of my life over the years but have accepted them as a fact of life. Sure, you can press the “secret code” to skip the recording and go right to voice mail but the code differs by carrier and I always end up pressing the wrong code – which only serves to have the voice mail instructions repeated and waste more of my time.

Well perhaps there is some hope. The New York Times columnist, David Pogue, has used his power to launch the ‘Take Back the Beep’ Campaign to fight this time sink and multi-billion dollar a year scam. In this column last week launching the campaign, he estimated that Verizon alone likely makes an additional $620 million a year in eating up the 15-seconds or so with these pointless voice mail instructions. That estimate is based on Verizon’s 70 million customers leaving or checking 2 messages per weekday. That is an astonishing figure for only one out of the many mobile phone carriers.

Pogue was able to confirm with unnamed executives from some of the major carriers that this voice mail instruction strategy exists primarily to make them more money by eating up customer minutes. In carrier lingo, it serves to maximize the ARPU (Average Revenue Per User). Well, to be quite frank about it, this is complete BS and other major sites agree. Engadget, Gizmodo and The Consumerist among many others have joined the cause and are spreading the word about the ‘Take Back the Beep’ Campaign that seeks to end this practice.

For more information, check out Pogue’s first post that launched the campaign as well as his follow up post which offers some updated information.

In order to voice your complaints with some of the major carriers about this issue, use the links below:

Verizon: Post a complaint here:
AT&T: Send e-mail to:
Sprint: Post a complaint here:
T-Mobile: Post a complaint here:

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