Robocall nightmare: Bird House gets 33 unwanted calls in 1 hour

August 23, 2019 06:58 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — How much do you hate robocalls? 

All the major phone companies signed a pact with state attorneys general and the federal government to put a stop to them. It could have helped one local business on Thursday.


Their records show one robocall every two minutes. And News10NBC was at the business counting the calls on Friday. 

It happened at the Bird House in Pittsford. We asked the manager to go through each call. 

"12:36. 12:38. 12:39," said Patti Pirz, counting off the calls saved on the business phone. "12:41. 12:46. 12:50. 12:53. 12:54."

"It was kind of funny for the first half an hour," said Pirz. "You're like - okay this is silly. I can't believe it's every two to three minutes. But by the end of two hours, I was kind of shaking."

In just one hour, Pirz says 33 robocalls came into the office phone at the Bird House on Monroe Avenue. She says the calls continued for another hour. It was only her and one other employee at the time so every single call took them away from work and a customer. 

"Horrible, stressful," she said. 
Brean: "Thirty-three robocalls in one hour."

Alex Quilici, YouMail CEO: "That's a bit extreme. It makes me wonder what these robocallers are trying to accomplish with this one business."

Alex Quilici is the CEO of YouMail. YouMail's website says it made an app that "stops robocalls with its highly accurate caller ID and smart blocking technology."

Brean: "How bad is this robocall problem?"

Quilici: "It's really bad. I mean we've been averaging roughly five billion a month, plus or minus, since last October. So when you add all that up in the past year we've had almost 60 billion robocalls."

The problem is that it's so unpredictable. After two hours of robocalls on Thursday, Patti didn't have a single one on Friday.

"Don't want to go through it again," Pirz said. 

This week the major phone companies signed a deal with attorneys general in every state to stop robocalls.  The companies have to put call-blocking technology at the network level, offer blocking apps to customers for free and monitor robocall traffic.    

Brean: "Is this going to work?"

Quilici: "I think you have to define work. My belief is these initiatives where they try to get fewer spoofed calls, where they try to find out who's making the spoof call, where they try to shut them down, it will have an impact it's not going to have an immediate impact. It's going to impact over time."

Verizon statement:

"Verizon fully supports the anti-robocall principles announced today. We're in the midst of an on-going battle with those responsible for sending annoying and often deceptive spam calls to our customers, and we're determined to fight this battle -- with the top law enforcement officials at the State and Federal level, the FCC and others in government." - Kathy Grillo, Verizon Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Government Affairs

Click here to watch News10NBC's story on apps designed to stop spam and robocalls.


Berkeley Brean

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