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Take Back the Beep!

July 31, 2009

“Take Back the Beep” is an interesting campaign that has been started by cell phone users against the big cell phone carriers.  I have to admit I had never really paid much attention to the message that you get when you get somebody’s voice mail, it was just one of those things that you get used to and deal with.

Suppose you call my cell to leave me a message. First you hear my own voice: “Hi, it’s David Pogue. Leave a message, and I’ll get back to you”–and THEN you hear a 15-second canned carrier message.

* Sprint: “[Phone number] is not available right now. Please leave a detailed message after the tone. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press pound for more options.”

* Verizon: “At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press 1 for more options. To leave a callback number, press 5. (Beep)”

* AT&T: “To page this person, press five now. At the tone, please record your message. When you are finished, you may hang up, or press one for more options.”

* T-Mobile: “Record your message after the tone. To send a numeric page, press five. When you are finished recording, hang up, or for delivery options, press pound.”

When you think about it, this is really a waste of time in today’s day and age.  I mean who needs somebody to tell them that they are supposed to leave a message after the beep?  Or to hang up after you’re done leaving that message?

The other issue in all of this is the money that cell phone carriers make doing this.  It is in a word, staggering!

These little 15-second waits add up–bigtime. If Verizon’s 70 million customers leave or check messages twice a weekday, Verizon rakes in about $620 million a year. That’s your money. And your time: three hours of your time a year, just sitting there listening to the same message over and over again every year.

Yeah, that was $620 million/year for one cell phone carrier just from people listening to these messages!  That right there is enough to tell me that it’s going to be very hard to get them to stop this practice, even if it is the right thing to do.  I mean are they just going to walk away from $620 million a year because some people ask them to?  I suppose if enough people get on board and speak up then anything is possible but, it’s certainly not going to be easy.  So, if you want to get involved and stop giving your hard earned money to these companies for nothing, here is where you can make your voice heard:

* Verizon: Post a complaint here:

* AT&T: Send e-mail to:

* Sprint: Post a complaint here:

* T-Mobile: Post a complaint here:

Read the whole article about this rip-off here.

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