Want My Phone Business? Give Me One Feature

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It seems that every two weeks or so, I get a little mailing from Qwest asking me to change my phone service over to them (back to them actually).  I used to get the same mailing on roughly the same interval from Comcast when my phone service was with Qwest.  I changed recently because my 12 month introductory rate from Comcast had expired and when I called to see how to get it back to the cheaper rate / threaten to cancel, they offered to lower my overall bill back to about where it was if I would switch my local phone service to them.  So, for switching my phone to Comcast, I got back my good introductory rate, and I saved the $40 or so a month I was paying Qwest.

You see, here is the deal.  I hardly ever use my phone.  I doubt I’m alone.  I don’t make that many phone calls and I don’t get that many phone calls.  I have a cell phone, my friends have cell phones, my business contacts have cell phones.  In fact, before making the deal with Comcast, I was thinking about just canceling my local phone service.  The only reason I even hesitated is because I have a young baby (and at the time a nanny in the house with her) and I wanted to make real sure that 911 worked no matter what.  To that end I have an ancient rotary phone hooked up to the phone line with its ringer turned off, so if I ever had to, I could dial 911 during a power failure.  That means I don’t use voice mail, three-way calling, caller id, or anything else.  You would think that this would make my phone service cheap.  You would be wrong.

The local phone company offers a basic phone line for something like $19.99, but after you add on all the taxes and fees, and charge for being in or out of the phone book, and you are shelling out a lot closer to thirty-something dollars a month.  It is a waste of money.

But, if I do keep a local phone service provider, it will not be the one who offers me some bundle or temporary rate, it will be the one that offers me one simple feature.  I want to be able to get online to my account and block certain numbers, kinds of numbers, and whatever else from ringing through to my phone.  That’s it.  Kind of like what GrandCentral has in reverse.

With Grandcentral (now a part of Google) you can set at a granular per number level, where the phone call will ring.  So, you can set 555-555-1212 to ring your cell phone, and 555-555-1213 to ring your home phone or whatever.  I want that, only all I want from the local phone guys is to be able to block 555-555-1212 so they can never call my house again.

Why?  I’m on the no call list, but they have used their black hearts to figure out ways around it.  Plus, they know I don’t have the time to report and/or sue them, so they call anyway. 

“Hi, this is not a sales call.  We’re taking a survey…”  Yeah, and at the end of the survey about lawn care, wouldn’t you know it, they just happen to have a great offer for lawn care, and since I said that I would like my yard to be greener why do they just…” 

Whatever.

I get more calls for donations (non-profits are exempt), political stuff (political is exempt), or surveys (exempt) than I get actual phone calls from real people.  Remember that baby?  Guess who can wake up when the phone rings if she isn’t quite asleep yet after a hard afternoon?  And, guess who the jerks are that are calling? 

Seriously, let me block numbers one by one, and I will be happy.  In the meantime, I’ve downloaded the forms and will now be filing formal complaints against every caller because Comcast allows me to block any call from a blocked caller id so they have to let me get their number and they give me free caller id, so I have it saved without asking for it.  You’ve been warned.

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