03-17-2012 05:47 PM
Only being able to block 12 numbers is not even close to adequate - I sometimes get 12 telemarketer calls a day. Sure would be nice to be able to use a "wild card character" like an asterisk instead of a number - like (area code) ***-**** would certainly help in call blocking. Right now, I have 4 numbers blocked from a Portland OR area code, same prefix, different number. I am beginning to think it would be worth paying a monthly charge to block any amount of numbers that I want to block. The call blocking seems to work pretty good, we just need much more than just 12 numbers to block. I have been on the "Do Not Call" list for both of my telephone numbers for years and it's getting worse and worse - 6 unwanted calls already today... I am about ready to get rid of both phone lines and just use a cell phone...
03-18-2012 06:59 PM
Just found out that the "caller id manager" has been discontinued by both companies that made it! One spot said they could not keep up with the demand but cannot find any reason online for them to be discontinued.
03-30-2012 02:10 PM
I have listened to the recorded message and then pressed the appropriate number to talk to a person in order to ask them to take me off their list. Every time I have gone through that procedure, as soon as I say "Please take ..." they hang up on me.
04-03-2012 10:21 AM
Comcast company are not the sharpest tool in the shed, These phone call are dial by computers and you can get the telezapper witch block the 800 numbers telling the computer that your number is disconnected and then it will delete your number from the computer system that is calling you. After a while the calls will stop ringing your phone. Its really bad when Comcast can't answer your questions. Good luck and let us know how it work out for you. Spread the word because Comcast will not.
04-13-2012 01:06 PM
jimbo11 - I apologize for the delay to respond to your question about the Digitone unit. I have been sidetracked with another alternative entirely - Ooma Telo which I will describe in a separate post.
I put the Digitone Call Blocker 10 into play on March 31 2012 and tracked its performance for a week. It performed flawlessly to block both explicitly defined phone numbers and blocks of numbers blocked by wildcards (800*, 866*, 877*). So using a Digitone call blocker does provide a solution for the question of the OP (how to block 800 Service calls), but is not a free Comcast solution, it is a user supplied $100 solution.
The Digitone unit is compact at 4.75" x 3" and is supplied with a clearly written 10 page manual. The hardware has no sticker to identify where the unit was manufactured but the manual was written by someone with a good command of English and that understood the capabilities of the unit and how to explain those functions to a user. In a nutshell you can block any number that appears in the unit's scrolling and time stamped caller id list with a button press or place the unit in Program mode and use your touch-tone telephone keypad to enter programming commands and telephone numbers. So to block 877 area code calls for example: press Program button on the unit and watch prompts on unit's display to lift handset (press Talk) then enter block code (40) and number to block (877*) and asterisk to finish: 40877#######*
For my test I connected the Digitone to a wall phone jack and then my cordless phone base with answering machine to the Digitone. At other places in my home I have other corded phones directly connected to wall phone outlets. I subscribe to Comcast Digital Voice and have voice mail service. Using Comcast's Call Manager I blocked as many (12) explicitly specified low area code as I could and using the Digitone unit I blocked another ten or so explicitly specified numbers and wild card blocked 800*, 866*, and 877*. By default the Digitone suppresses the first ring of any call while it uses caller ID to determine if the call should pass through or be blocked. This had two effects attributable to my phone setup: the phones directly connected to wall outlets (not the Digitone) always ring at least once when a call comes in; if the call is blocked by Digitone that is all I would hear. The second effect was that legitimate calls that came through and left a message were directed to my Comcast Voice mail rather than the answering machine on my cordless telephone base. This was a result of first ring suppression; Comcast Voice Mail was grabbing the call because the ring count wasn't high enough to activate the answering machine. That was quickly fixed by going into Comcast Voice Mail settings and bumping up the numbers of rings before activation by one - so now the answering machine kicks in first again the way I prefer it.
During the one week test period the Digitone blocked 26 calls, 21 of which were all from the same number 877-437-1987 which is well known at 800notes.com. After the test I specifically unblocked this number (with the Digitone you can do this, even while keeping a wild card block on 877*) to see if I could find out what is was about. The third time they called I was there to answer and they requested someone by name. When I indicated that the person they were after did not live there, they said thank you. I haven't gotten a call from that number since then. Several 'suspicious' calls came on through the Digitone and registered on my cordless phone caller ID without leaving a message so I put them on my list of potential numbers to block in the future.
I blocked my cell phone number on the Digitone to hear what a caller would hear when blocked: the phone rings once, clicks then disconnects after about two seconds.
And finally a few comments to wrap up... I was concerned that wild card blocking 800* might block calls from a prepaid phone card like some of my friend use for long distance with caller ID indicating an 800 number possibly. This was not a problem when I tested it with my MCI prepaid card: caller ID showed the phone of the phone where I used the card. When a call is placed through or received through the Digitone it makes a distinct mechanical relay click sound - I wonder about the longevity of mechanical things that are used a lot so I guess I will just have to see how long the Digitone operates without failure. It is very easy to accidentally delete the caller ID history instead of just a single number from the history - the directions are good but you have to follow the directions carefully. I wish the blocked caller list could be sorted when displayed. Wild card blocking does not seem to work at a level lower than area code - I tried it at the area code / exchange level (eg programming command 40612924####*) where my cell phone is and the number was NOT blocked. I will verify this operation with Digitone support.
04-13-2012 01:26 PM
Thank you for the terrific in-depth review! The Digitone unit looks like a winner, in spite of (or maybe because of) its price.
With silly season coming up (oops! I mean the elections!), the $100 is looking like a good investment.
04-16-2012 01:06 PM
I am also continually annoyed by the "800 Service" calls. I agree, the ability to block only 12 numbers is useless. I'm not sure any amount is enough because, after I block the most recent 12, it stops for a short time and then they are back with a new block of numbers.
OK, maybe answering with a shrill whistle and/or one of those fog horn cannisters won't stop these "terrorists" either, but I think it might relieve some pent up anger over having one's peace and tranquility in one's own home continually disrupted.
04-19-2012 10:51 PM
04-20-2012 07:54 AM
If the calls are coming from Comcast, then you need to Call Comcast and request/insist that you be immediately placed on their Do Not Call list. Are you non-published (yes, there's a fee for that as almost any phone provider charges for it). Are you on the Do Not Call list at www.donotcall.gov ??
As I've posted before, there is HUGE money to be made for businesses by selling/renting/sharing information: company A sells info to "B", who sells it to "C", who sells it ..........
Notwithstanding all that, many companies use random dialing: they just put in a whole sequence of phone prefixes, etc. Also, credit bureaus are notorious for selling personal info.
Best solution: invest a few bucks (around $95-100) and get the CallerID with RingController: you can virtually block ANY number.
Since your phone number is "out there", you may have to consider changing your phone number if you don't go with the box I mentioned.
Please", "thank you" and "you're welcome" never go out of style.
04-20-2012 10:51 AM - edited 04-20-2012 10:52 AM
I have read the topic. All but one of the suggestions have been tried and I have been on the Do Not Call List for ages. I am wondering if you read it, however, because blocking numbers doesn't resolve it. This particular pest keeps using new blocks of numbers. They are endless.
The one suggestion I haven't bothered to try is the purchase of additional equipment (at an additional cost to me) for the ability to spend my days continually adding new numbers to block. Pointless, IMO, because they just keep switching to new blocks of numbers. I doubt I have enough time left in my life to block the entire world. I just want to spend the rest of my days here in this mortal world never receiving another call from "800 service."
The real solution would be the ability to block a specific caller ID. If something with that capability has been offered in this topic, I apologize for missing it.
04-22-2012 12:39 AM
Everyone on this thread including you is frustrated by the pitiful call filtering tools offered by Comcast and dismayed by the toothless Do Not Call List. Just for a couple days please record the phone number associated with those annoying '800 Service' calls you receive. When I collected such data myself I found that '800 Service' calls had associated phone numbers in the 866, 877, and 888 area codes. When you have that data, and you are finally really frustrated then you should try what you haven't tried yet - a standalone call blocker like a Digitone. In just a minute or two using wildcard blocking on a Digitone, you could block all calls from those area codes - 877####### blocks 10 million possible numbers. I have been using my Digitone about three weeks now and I have already concluded it was $100 well spent.
According to Digitone tech support, wild card blocking can be even more general than area code level: using an 8######### wild card block will block all one billion phone numbers in the 800-899 area code range. But don't expect that method will stop all the junk calls - when a new junk number comes in from some other area code (900 range area codes are popular with junk callers, too), put it in your log and block it with your standalone call blocker. Or you can block all calls by default and just let invited callers ring through..
04-22-2012 11:08 AM
We're not doing anything different, Robert. I've had the same phone number since 1980 and it's always been unlisted. Now on Comcast, it's both unlisted AND unpublished. My number has been registered at DoNotCall.gov since the very first day that service was created. I only give out my work or cell number when forced to give a phone number for an online purchase, etc.
These 800 Service callers are robo-callers. Scammers. They have autodialers. If you are stupid enough to answer your phone when one of them calls and THEN actually engage in conversation with them, they will consider your number a "live one" and add your number to a list which is then sold to other scammers. If you go even further and actually give your name to them, they've hit the jackpot: your name is then linked to your phone number and put on a marketing list which will reap them even more money. A lot of the buyers of these lists are bottom-feeder debt collectors, who, if your name is even close to someone who they're looking for, will pester you until the end of time. Of course, there are things you can do to put a stop to that (which I've had to do three times in two years), but it involves a little of your time, aggravation, and money (sending registered letters, return receipt requested). But that's stuff meant for another message board, like all the debt and credit problem boards out there).
So, that's my long-winded way of saying: people aren't doing anything special to cause their phone to be attacked by 800 numbers. They are just victims.
04-22-2012 11:22 AM
My home and cell phone have been on the do not call list since day 1 too. I do not give my cell phone number to anyone but family and my mom's doctors (and they know it is strictly an emergency number -- call me at home first). The message on my cell phone says put me on your do not call list (I only answer unknown numbers when my mom is in the hospital). Yet, I get calls on it, sometimes several calls in a day! And now I have started getting text messages which I delete without reading because my family knows I don't text.
04-22-2012 07:58 PM
I have been mulling over answering these calls with a very strong "XXZ Police Department, we have been told you are harassing this person..." and see how many words I would get out before being hung up on. Just wondering. :-)
04-22-2012 09:43 PM
04-24-2012 11:58 AM
I contacted Digitone to get clarification on the wildcard blocking limitations of the current model Call Blocker 10. Their indication is that wildcard blocking works at the area code or more general levels but NOT at the more specific exhange level. Hence:
8######### blocks all calls in 800-899 area codes range
877####### blocks everything in the 877 area code
877423#### blocks NOTHING
However Digitone Support stated that the newer model Call Blocker they expect to release this year will allow wildcard blocking at the exchange and even more detailed levels.
04-24-2012 12:20 PM - edited 04-24-2012 12:22 PM
Thanks for making that call, snowbank. Meanwhile, I still have hope for an ultimate victory with that much cheaper shrill whistle.
04-26-2012 11:41 AM
PhoneTray is another possible non-Comcast software/hardware solution for call filtering. According to a post on the Ooma forums http://www.ooma.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=116
04-26-2012 03:24 PM - edited 04-30-2012 09:53 AM
I have been using Digitone for about two months now with outstanding success. I was unaware, however, that blocking could not be accomplished at the exchange level. That would be a good idea for the new Digitone Pro model when it is available. The absence of this feature has not been a problem for me. In any case, this small device has been a savior!!! After years of relative quiet our number (same since 1988) has been inundated with nonsense calls. Sometimes as many as a dozen a day. In particular, it seems I have won the Jamaican lottery on a number of occasions. I should be wealthy beyond my wildest expectations by now.
In summary, look no further than the Digitone device. They have a patent on the "first ring suppression" feature which is all imortant if you are to live in silence. All the other devices I looked at only work after all of your phones ring once. That's lame. I have 15 specific numbers and nine area codes blocked at this point. The "quiet" time programming is also a super feature. Between 10pm and 730am nobody but specifically invited numbers (family) gets through. This is great to block the kids friends after a certain hour. You can define those hours.
I should add that you can block 80 specific numbers or entire area codes, allow 30 specific numbers through at all times, 10 specific numbers within a blocked area code and numerous other features that I don't have the time to discuss. Check the owners manual at digitone.com if interested.
Prior to Digitone I used PhoneTray Free for about two years. I still use it to show caller ID on my computer screen but have disabled call handling by it. It's a terrific program but still allows the phone to ring. That's the whole point though, isn't it? No ringing by undesired callers?
04-30-2012 09:18 AM - edited 04-30-2012 09:22 AM
Yes Snowbank I have been using Phone Tray Free for years and it is a wonderful free piece of software. You can block callers by name, number, area code, partial numbers, unavailable, unknown, out of area, etc. and you can block way more than just 12 numbers. The only drawbacks are it doesn't literally block the call, it disconnects the call after it has rung once. Also it will not work if you are already on the phone and a call-waiting calls comes in.
05-16-2012 12:44 PM
After I ran out of slots to block them I started using the call forward feature to let them talk to each other.
There has to be a better way. I do pay 5 times what the service is worth already. A little support seems reasonable.
05-16-2012 02:20 PM
Very creative, Patrick. If they come back, I'll try that next.
So far, I prefer the creativity to paying for yet another device to block them, particularly when there may be upgrades coming to that device which claim to actually allow us to solve this problem.
All of a sudden, for the past three or four days, the daily calls have stopped. I would like to believe my whistle did the trick, but I'm not convinced of that. I thought that worked once before and then they started up again. They may rotate their blocks of numbers and, if so, the ones I have blocked may be the ones they are using again.
The odd thing, however, I do get annoying calls from a couple of other call centers, one of them calling themselves FMR Associates. Those don't come daily, but they appear to have either stopped or become less frequent at just the time the 800 Service calls stopped (or paused).
I would love to think Comcast found a way to block these calls for all their customers. I won't be holding breath on that one either.
05-19-2012 03:57 PM
Saw your response to someone about waiting until someone came on the line to ask them to take you off their phone list. Last call I got, I said "Hello" and got "hello" twice in response. May have been an automated call. Also if they switch numbers (I have gotten calls from 1-800 Service" from several different 877 numbers), I have a feeling that taking you off one number, may not take you out of their system.
Is there a way to block all 877 calls?
05-19-2012 04:03 PM
I AM registered with the National Do Not Call Registry. What happens if you do not get a live person? Also, as I asked previously, will taking you off one "877" number mean that they have to take you off ALL of their 877 numbers, or can they continue to harass you using other 877 phone numbers.
We blocked one of these numbers using the method described by Comcast, but I have a feeling that they have a ridiculously large set of 877 phone numbers that they can use.
If I say nothing on the phone, can they still access any informatoin?
If I thought that there was a real person on the line, I would do what you suggest, and then get a loud whistle to use whenever they call again.
05-30-2012 11:02 PM
Using a whistle to respond to a telemarketing call seems like a justifiable and satisfying action but came back to haunt a woman in Germany sued for apparently affecting the hearing of of a telemarketer she whistled to: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20120522-42685.html
Your sonic blast would probably only affect some unfortunate individual in a dead-end job when it is really their boss you are after. If the telemarketer has a volume-limiting headset they might even have a laugh at you while you are deafening yourself, your family and your pets with your whistle.
07-22-2012 04:32 PM
snowbank, unless I misunderstand your sugestion for blocking all calls beginning with the digit "8" (8######### ) would it not block all calls coming from Vermont whose area code is "802", but it would have blocked the call that I just received from 855-825-6859. I don't know if any other states have an area code beginning with "8" or not.
07-24-2012 01:38 PM
Hello VtShriner -
You correctly interpret the way an 8######### block would work with a Digitone - it would block calls from Vermont area code 802 and a call from 855-825-6859. Although such a global (800-899 area code) block is possible with a Digitone I don't use one myself -its too blunt and would block calls from my friends in Utah that are in area code 801. Instead I block about 40 numbers explicitly (specifying all 10 digits) and block three area codes (800, 866 and 877) with wilcards like 800####### using my Digitone Call Blocker 10.
It turns out there are a lot of valid state area codes in the 800-899 range and only a few toll free area codes in there. I found a handy tabulation of valid area codes in numerical order here: http://www.prodial.com/areacodes-Num1.html and see that the following area codes are potential sources of telemarketing calls: 800, 822, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, 880, 881, 882, and 888. I will block those other area codes if I start to receive telemarketing calls from them. I see from your message that you are apparently getting 855 area code telemarketing calls, thus far I have luckily received none from that area code. It would be a trivial operation for you to block area code 855 with a Digitone but impossible with Comcast call blocking tools or or the call blockers built into any cordless phone I know of.
Using Blocks only with a Digitone is one way to block telemarketers without blocking wanted calls; the other is to use a combination of Blocks and Invites with Digitone. Invites have precedence over Blocks so as I understand from Digitone tech support you could globally block all area codes from 800-899 with a program code 40 and 8########## and then Invite area code 802 with a program code 50 and 802####### or Invite a single number with a program code 52 and an explicit number like 802-775-8309.
So as a simple and free solution try to Comcast call block tools to block 855-825-6859. If you get other calls from that (855) and other telemarketing area codes then I would think about a Digitone or some of the other hardware/software call blockers discussed in this thread for a more robust telemarketing call solution.
07-27-2012 12:58 PM
Thank you for such a well detailed summary of your experience with digitone. Wish I had read it before all the harrassing political phone calls I am getting. Even asking the person calling (which is rare, usually get a robocall) to please remove me from their list, it doesn't happen. I am considering writing to the local hews media in Houston and reporting that this is a form of harassment - and why would anyone vote for this candidate who obviously doesn't listen to the people he is supposed to represent!
Good work on the digitone. this is the first time i hav seen anything that seems promising.
08-13-2012 09:21 AM
Problem is, these 800 numbers keep changing. I'll get a series of calls from a certain number for maybe a month. Than it ends. But than I get calls from a different 800 number. So its sorta like Whack a mole. Even if you blocked 1 particular number, new ones appear. And its beyong 800 numbers also. I get calls from places like Nevada, North Dakota, even from Canada. Forget about asking to be taken off these calling list. Its like the internet. Ur probably doing more harm by picking up the phone and responding. I miss the old days when you only got friggen calls from people you knew!!
08-13-2012 09:23 AM
Do not donate law. That's a good idea. I'm unemployed. I don't need to have these people asking for money with my current situation. Like the PBA, really, cops need a hand out. My locals cops make triple digits. Give me a break..
08-15-2012 11:47 PM - edited 08-15-2012 11:51 PM
I agree that We PAY for our phone service. Others do not have the right to call us! It is a privilege!
We have the right to choose who calls us.
If all Comcast phone lines come with 900/976/700/500 Call Blocking activated so that calls to these numbers are automatically blocked, then as a company that should be listening to the needs of their customers, we should be given the capability to block 800/866 numbers (or whatever Area Code number we choose). I have seen the programming that blocks numbers on business telephone systems. The only reasons Comcast would have for not doing this would be: 1) because of pressure from the jerks that think they've got a right to calls us, or 2) they don't want to spend the money to make it happen.
By the way, I've seen all the responses of "program the numbers on your list of 12". No. This won't work, and I don't want to hear it from you. We need to have a wildcard capability for any length of number we put in. It's too easy for the jerks to set their ID to some other 800 or 866 number.
08-16-2012 02:28 AM
Comcast themselves make some of those annoying marketing calls...that's probably why they don't offer the ability to block as we wish. I also wanted them to block anyone in my home from dialing 411 since those calls run about $1.50 and they said they couldn't do that either.
08-26-2012 08:44 PM
I am also registered with donotcall.gov but I get lots and lots of calls from this 800 Service company as well. The call range from some "CardMember Services" which I have asked many times to stop calling me, to credit card collectors asking for someone who doesn't live here and to whom I have also asked to stop calling me, to charity organizations which I no longer trust after hearing how many of these nonprofits make tons of money and give little to the actual charities. Many times when 800 Service calls they just hang up. A few times I have even called the number back to explicitly ask that I be removed. Sometimes they have told me I would be removed, sometimes they just hang up and don't listen. But I never seem to be removed.
I do not feel it is my responsibility to "pay" to have numbers stop calling me. As someone else said, this is my phone number and not everyone should have a right to call me and interrupt my daily life just so they can try to make money. I do not even feel that charties have a right to call me, even though they may legally.
When I am home and I get a call from 800 Service I always try to register a complain on donotcall.gov, but sometimes I forget. Sometimes, like today, I answer and they just hang up. I don't know if their robocal system has a bug or someone on the other end recognizes I am not a woman and they hang up.
What *I* would like is a call blocking system that:
1. Does not cost me anything. Preferred, not required.
2. Automatically registers a complaint with donotcall.gov if the number matches some blocked pattern(s).
I have now registered so many complaints with donotcall.gov I have to wonder if the information is really being used to go after companies like this. I kind of do not want to just block their calls, because I have some hope that if I keep registering complaints eventually something will really be done about it. I would like to see companies like this be put out of business permanently. And if I can find a way to make the charities wish they had not called me, I would love to take some proper action to do so.
Like others, I wish Comcast would do a better job of protecting their customers against this issue. I think the current "call blocking" model could be greatly improved, and I will bet the majority of Comcast customers will use it if they make the improvements.
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