NYT's Pogue starts revolution vs. carriers' 15-second voicemail delay

You know that monotonous introductory message that plays every time you want to leave a voicemail?"At the tone, please record your message.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

You know that monotonous introductory message that plays every time you want to leave a voicemail?

"At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press 1 for more options. To leave a callback number, press 5."

Ever want to just skip over it...and, you know, leave a voicemail?

The New York Times' David Pogue does. In fact, he's fed up with the idea that the message -- which is 15 seconds long, he counted -- may really be an underhanded ploy by carriers to run up your plan's minutes.

Using some rough math, Pogue estimates that 15 seconds really adds up:

We’re PAYING for these messages. These little 15-second waits add up–bigtime. If Verizon’s 70 million customers leave or check messages twice a weekday, Verizon rakes in about $620 million a year. That’s your money. And your time: three hours of your time a year, just sitting there listening to the same message over and over again every year.

So Pogue's starting a campaign. A "Take Back the Beep" campaign, in fact. And he says the only way to be heard is to tell carriers yourself, using the methods below:

In the meantime, Pogue's got a little-known trick to skip the message:

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.

What do you think of the message? Much ado about nothing, or worth calling someone about? Say your piece in TalkBack.

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