Automatic hanging-up machine for terminating calls with phone solicitors

The "PX1020 Easy Hang Up" is a device for people who a) still have landlines and b) hate phone solicitors. Simply press the button and hang up, and the person on the other end is played a pre-recorded message (for example, you, telling them to remove you from their list). There's something attractive about the sheer bloodymindedness of this device. It reminds me of my autoresponder for crazy people who send in hatemail ("Dear upset person, my apologies that something I wrote upset you so much. Please feel free to read someone else, and/or discuss this in depth with your therapist. Please don't email me again. Thanks, Cory.")

PX1020 Easy Hang Up

(via Red Ferret)


  1. Cory, it’s TOTALLY unacceptable that you have an email autoresponder for crazy people!!! I find it incredibly offensive that you would not give each and every crazy person the time of day to read through all of their mental diarrhoea and provide each one with an individual response!!! Yadda, yadda, yadda…


  2. This would’ve been handy a few years ago, but Google Voice’s block feature has been a boon to limiting telemarketers. Cool gadget, nevertheless.

  3. I would like one of these for my cell and for my desk phone (though geared for specific people and or departments)

  4. I used to use one of these back in 2002.  I don’t remember how we got it but it was a great little device.  We haven’t had it for years though.  We still have a land line, sort of, but it runs through Ooma.  Features offered today make it much easier to avoid those type calls.

    1. Great idea – however I would worry that actual friends and family, business associates, etc. would hear the familiar “boo…da…BEEP” of the intercept tone and hang up believing my number had been disconnected.

  5. At my parents house (they still have a landline) they have The Phone Butler.  You plug it into one jack and can press the * key from any phone in the house and this little English gentleman’s voice comes on and says:”Pardon me, this is the Phone Butler, and I have been directed to inform you that this household must respectfully decline your inquiry. Kindly place this number on your do-not-call list. Good Day.” Still makes me smile.  You can still buy it here:

    1. It should absolutely be a standard feature, not only in every smartphone, but in every cell phone period.

      Ever since e-mail introduced the concept of spam filtering, it’s seemed perfectly logical to me to do the same thing with telemarketing. Yet no one has made phone-spam filtering standard.

      (Cynically, I suspect it’s because in the U.S., you pay for incoming calls to your cell phone.)

  6. It looks like a useful device for people who still talk through something with a phone jack on it. Know any?

  7. On the very rare occasions I used to get phone solicitors, my favorite tactic was the simplest.

    A few seconds into the conversation, just tell them “can you hold on a minute?” Then put the phone down and go do something else for a while.

  8. Many years ago there was apparently something of a newspaper war as I was getting calls practically every other day asking me to subscribe to one or the other. One day I realized that the quickest way to shut them up was to say “Oh, you mean you have a Braille edition? That’s wonderful!” You could practically hear the gears in their brains stripping. 

  9. Ahh…   How great it is to live in a country where a) landlines are still better than VOIP dreck and mobiles  and b) phone soliciting to private households is actually illegal. 

  10. Who gets live phone solicitors anymore?  I only get automated ones.  They don’t care if you ask what they’re wearing.

  11. Fear or hatred of telemarketers is a sign of our increasingly insular way of life. We now apparently assume that we have the right not to be talked to.

    1. Abso-friggin-lutely! Nothing I hate more than to be pestered by an annoying stranger while in the privacy of my own home.

    2. Fear or hatred of telemarketers is a sign of our increasingly insular way of life. We now apparently assume that we have the right not to be talked to.

      In our homes? I would hope that we have the right not to be harassed. Is this any different than a stranger standing under your window and yelling for your attention?

    3. Have you ever worked 2nd or 3rd shift? Those telemarketer calls jump up a few levels in annoyance when suddenly they’re in the middle of your sleep schedule.

    4. Hell, I don’t even answer the door if I don’t expect someone. Like I’m going to take a phone call from someone I don’t know.

      An Englishman’s home is his castle, what?

  12. I have called ID on my home landline, so usually I can avoid telemarketing calls (I’m on the national do not call list but there and plenty of devious characters out there), but my usual technique is to start saying “hello? …. hello?” after it’s obvious it’s a telemarketer. That way I don’t have to put any effort into disengaging myself from the call, and don’t end up feeling angry. The other party just assumes something’s gone wrong with the call, and since it was actually a computer that dialed me they have no way of calling back. 

  13. Who still has a land line?  I have DSL internet, which requires that I have a land line.  (And the house we’re renting is not wired for cable!)  Also, I live in a cellular dead spot — zero bars.  Google Voice and Skype … on top of my regular phone service.  :-(  

    1. I have DSL internet, which requires that I have a land line.

      I have a land line via cable, for which I get a nice bundling discount.

  14. I would buy this in a second if it could be customized for a specific message that comes up every few minutes or so such as “Your call is important to us! Please stay on the line and [INSERT NAME HERE] will get back to you shortly…” and I could somehow insert an SDHC card filled with MP3s to fill in the empty gaps with delightful music! Make it so… Someone!

  15. Wow. The geeks who think no one uses landlines anymore is pretty funny.

    For one, darn near any business with a physical location uses a landline. And, yes, plenty of regular old homes still use landlines. Sure, the occupant might also have cell phones, but there are still millions of people who also keep landlines. For many, it’s a simple matter of not having completely reliable cell coverage at their home. My home, for instance, is seemingly in some sort of mandatory drop-out zone for both Verizon and AT&T. We are in a classic “step outside to get a single bar” area.

    There’s also a certain aesthetic component. Landlines still provide far superior audio quality compared to any cellular connection. One never has issues with duplexing on a landline, too. The conversation can flow naturally.

    And, of course, in the event of a power outage in the area, the landline will still work, whereas the cell towers in your area will go black fairly quickly.

  16. Please note that the article’s phrase “remove me from your list” is the WRONG thing to say.  It does not work.  You need to ask to be added to their “do not call” list.  If you say that and they call back you can sue them and get money.  “Remove me from your list” doesn’t do anything – they can take you off and put you back on 10 minutes later without repercussion.

    1. You need to ask to be added to their “do not call” list.  If you say that and they call back you can sue them and get money.

      In the US, there’s a national Do Not Call Registry which you have to sign up for yourself.  If you’re on it and they violate it, you can make a complaint.  If a lot of people make complaints, the Federal Trade Commission may pursue it and fine them.  You don’t get any money.  Only residential lines can be listed.  Only sales calls (defined fairly narrowly) are exempt.  Surveys, charities, political organizations, mortgage re-fis, etc. are still able to call.  Anyone with whom you’ve done business in the last 18 months can call you.

      So in the US at least, there’s no such legal remedy as asking a caller to add you to their do not call list. You can ask them to remove you from their telemarketing list.

      1.  Asking a telemarketer to place you on their “Do Not Call” list is still a valid remedy and you still can sue them for cash damages if they fail to do so. 

        Although the national “Do Not Call Registry” is the newest and most effective blanket protection, especially against unsolicited cold calls, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 remains in force, and all telemarketers are still required to maintain a “Do Not Call” list of their own in addition to the national list.  They are still liable for damages if they fail to abide by it. 

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