The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed lawsuits yesterday against several companies for spam “robo-calling” Americans more than 1 billion times about supposedly expiring auto warranties.
But some people are taking the law into their own hands, fighting back at telemarketers with civil disobedience — including the Rickroll.
Michael Silveira decided to strike back. The 22-year-old laboratory technician, who doesn’t own a car, says he was getting unsolicited sales pitches as often as twice a day on his mobile phone.
So last week, Mr. Silveira began calling back an auto-warranty company that has become the focus of an Internet crusade. He left it voice-mail messages that contained nothing but a recording of Rick Astley’s 1987 hit song “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
Using phone numbers for Auto One Warranty Specialists Inc. that users posted to a Web site called Reddit.com, Mr. Silveira joined dozens of activists who have peppered the warranty company with messages including elevator music, threats and offers of rude services.
“I thought, if you get a bunch of people together, you could blow up their voice-mail boxes,” says Mr. Silveira.