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I spend some of my time battling telemarketers. I wrote a program that opens the modem and snoops Caller Id. If the advertised number is in the FTC's Do Not Call complaint database, then the program automatically files additional complaints.

One of the complaints that is automatically filed is another Do Not Call complaint. The complaint form has a checkbox that says:

Have you done business with this company in the last 18 months or contacted them in the last 3 months?

What does the word contact mean in the legal sense?


The area I am not sure about is, can I gather information about the caller and avoid falling into a "contact" trap. That is, can I call the number back and:

  • learn if the number is a working number
  • learn if the circuit is in a fast busy state
  • learn the nature of the call by listening to automated messages

I am also interested in how the following affects a "contact":

  • use Caller ID Blocking (*67) to call the number back
  • use a burner cell phone/different number to call the number back

I may be splitting hairs, but I don't believe silent observation is a "contact". Otherwise someone could claim looking at a stranger across the street is contacting the person.

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