Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:26:53 -0700 (PDT)
From: HAncock4 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Senate bares frustration with customer service of cable
industry, including Comcast
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that U.S. senators blasted
Comcast, AT&T, Charter Communications, and Dish Network over
millions of dollars in pay-TV billing overcharges, promotional
pricing, bill haggling, and other loathed customer-service
practices during a hearing on Thursday that included officials
of those companies. The hearing aired the findings of
the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which
reviewed 93,000 documents and spoke with dozens of company
executives over the last 13 months. Senators said the
companies should simplify bills, be more transparent,
and refund overcharges.
For full article please see:
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:49:51 -0500
From: email@example.com (Gordon Burditt)
Subject: Re: Are telephone surveys statistically valid?
> My question: These days, lots of people have abandoned
> their residential landline. Given that, are landline
> surveys still statistically valid since so many voters
> no longer have a landline?
Are *any* telephone surveys statistically valid? I see a number
of problems (even if they call land lines and cell phones):
- People self-deselect themselves by hanging up when they
hear that it's a survey. This is probably correlated to how much
they are pestered by telephone solicitors giving surveys disguised
as sales pitches, which relates to economic status.
- Some people won't "talk" to a robocaller, which may be
correlated to how much they are targeted by robocallers, which
may be correlated to economic status.
- Calling random phone numbers may result in more calls to the
(relatively) wealthy families with more phone numbers than the
(relatively) poorer families with only one phone number (landline
or cellular). Of course, some of them may belong to teenagers
and children, who generally aren't wanted in political polls.
- Certain people on the lower end of the economic spectrum (e.g.
the adult(s) who doesn't/don't usually carry the only cell phone)
may not be reachable by an incoming call unless you know who to
ask for, and maybe not even then, if the phone is at someone's
- Some people won't give out personal information on the phone,
which likely correlates to the person's perception of how much
they have to lose by giving it out. Identity theft is a much
bigger issue than it used to be 10-20 years ago.
- Many surveys won't continue if you don't give them personal
information (age, sex, family size, income level, political party,
etc.) (the survey taker hangs up) Some surveys apparently require
that I tell them whether I'm a man or a woman even though it's
quite obvious from my voice and even if they have my first name
(some names could be male or female. As far as I know, mine isn't
one of them). One survey asked whether I had a phone, and I asked
in response if they intended to steal it. (They didn't take that
as a "yes".) What did this guy think I was using to talk to him?
A carrier pigeon?
- Some of the questions are horrible, and I'm likely to
interpret them literally, like "what would you say your age is:
18-29, 30-39, 40-49, ...". The correct answer is that I'd say
nothing. I'd *never* say it as a range.
- There are so many people asking you to take surveys now (including
most salesclerks urging you to take the survey on the company
website) and so much blatant campaigning for a higher rating (say,
"highly satisfied" or "5 stars") that the word has gotten a bad
image. I don't trust the results of such surveys because of the
bribes (often coupons) given for a good rating (particularly bad
for the Facebook "like").
- Some people may still have a landline but not necessarily
answer incoming calls on it if their cell phone is working. It's
for calling 911 in a power failure or if your cell phone battery
is dead, and because the phone company hid the option to order
DSL without phone service on it.
- Even (especially) surveys that include cell phones can get
the caller's number onto a (personal) block list which, after a
few dozen calls, might start to block a significant number of
calls. I don't know the extent to which block lists are exchanged
on the Internet. I do know that I can look up missed-call calling
numbers on the Internet and find out something about why they are
calling, and perhaps block them.
- Some people (cell phone users especially) don't answer calls
from numbers they don't recognize. Isn't Caller ID (number)
available on pretty much all cell phones? And even if you don't
pay for Caller ID (name) a smartphone (or even not-so-smart phone)
looks up the phone number in your contact list and displays it.
- I won't allow a survey taker to put words in my mouth. So if I
don't like the choices, I'll make up one of my own and stick to
it. "If the election were held today, which Presidential candidate
would you vote for?" Richard Nixon, deceased. He's much better
than any of the live candidates. Smells better, too.
Question: Some low-income people (in the USA) can get a subsidized
cell phone with a limited calling package for almost nothing or
nothing. Can they still get a subsidized landline? Or does the
program give out only cell phones now? Could it be that all of the
people with subsidized phones have cell phones only? That would
be a significant bias for landline-only surveys, although there are
other biases that might partially cancel that one out.
End of telecom Digest Sat, 25 Jun 2016