FYI… How To Bypass the Cellphone Greeting

Getting so frustrated when I call family, friends… anyone – I always heard just hit the number 1  on your cellphone when a greeting comes up and that would solve having to listen to the entire greeting… some which seem to last minutes.

Things have apparently changed so I did a little research…   I want to give credit here to “Pogue’s Posts” for this information…

I know I’m not alone with this irritation!

In my New York Times last week, I wrote about those inane, utterly pointless, time-wasting “how-to-leave-a-message” instructions foisted upon us by Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile. I calculated that they earn the carriers over $850 million a year, just by eating up our airtime.

Several of you asked how I arrived at that calculation. Here it is: I’m using, as an example, Verizon’s $60-a-month plan. You get 900 minutes for that, which comes out to 6.67 cents a minute.

Verizon has 70 million customers. If each one leaves a message or checks voicemail twice a day, that’s 70 million * 6.67 cents * .5 (half a minute listening to two 15-second instruction recordings) * 365 days = $852,092,500. And that’s just Verizon!

(Even if you omit free weekend calls, Verizon still makes $609 million—and makes you wait 3 hours a year, listening to that same message over and over and over again.)

So how do we fight back?

It turns out that each carrier offers a “bypass the instructions” keystroke that takes you directly to the beep. (It bypasses both the person’s own recorded greeting and the 15-second carrier nonsense.)

To be as evil as possible, the carriers do not promote or tell you about the existence of this keystroke. Furthermore, the key to press is different with each company:

* for Verizon

1 for Sprint

# for AT&T

# for T-Mobile

Every time you dial a number, you’d have to know which carrier that person uses. Which is, of course, impossible.

And you can’t just press *-1-# in a row, hoping to cover all bases—because if you press the wrong keystroke for the wrong carrier, you wind up boxed into that system’s voicemail menus.

If you’re clever, though, you can do the “one-star-pound” method recommend by this blogger:

STEP ONE. Press 1. If it’s Sprint, you get the beep, and you’re done. If you hear an error recording, go on:

STEP TWO. Press *. If it’s Verizon, you get the beep. If not:

STEP THREE: Push #. You get the beep for T-Mobile or Cingular.

You have to pause after each one, and you have to keep listening. But it’s one small way to fight back. Remember: One Star Pound.

Hey guys… if you have another suggestion or another carrier not mention here… Please leave a comment!  Thanks!