DeskTop: Of soft phones and hard complaints

If you've ever been ripped off by someone and you want to get the goods on them, you can use your PC to get a little justice for yourself.

phone computer 88 (photo credit: )
phone computer 88
(photo credit: )
In our never-ending quest for truth, justice and the American, Israeli or any other country's way you care to insert, we shall today examine methods whereby you can recoup losses from slimy telemarketers or other businesses that promise you the world, but deliver something somewhat less spectacular. If you've ever been ripped off by someone and you want to get the goods on them, you can use your PC to get a little justice for yourself. Computers can do that? Yes, they can. Let's say you purchased and took delivery on a living room set that looked nice on TV or in the store, but is a lot less in the comfort or style department than you bargained for. It's clear you were shipped something completely different than what you ordered. And these people are adamant in the pursuit of their so-far successful rip-off; no amount of pleading will get them to fix their mistake. And when you bring up the idea of pursuing legal action against them, they just laugh - loudly. But armed with a PC, a softphone application and a sound recorder, you can finally stick up for yourself and put the fear of the law, if not God, into these malefactors. First, you need to download an application that will let you make and receive IP phone calls via your computer. The most popular of these programs is Skype (, which lets you make calls to any phone in the world (for about two cents a minute). I recently started using a similar service, called Gizmo (, which lets you make PC-to-landline calls too, and can also provide you (for a fee) a phone number based in the US, Israel or one of dozens of other countries, allowing you to receive calls forwarded to a Bezeq phone (small fee applies). Once you've set up your softphone, download a recording program, such as the free MP3MyMP3 (, which lets you record any sound heard on your PC - including incoming/outgoing phone calls made by Skype or Gizmo. MP3MyMP3 is also ideal for recording music you listen to on your computer from Internet radio and music sites, like the thousands on-line at Once installed, give the offending party a call, and grill them using a list of tough questions you've prepared - questions designed to make the merchant admit his culpability in the debacle that is your new living room furniture (try out your questions on friends first to see if they are "nudniky" enough). Once the cat is out of the bag - i.e., he's admitted that you are right - feel free to tell him he's been recorded, and that while the recording itself may not be admissible in a fraud trial, the consumer affairs department in your town - or the press, for that matter - may find it very "informative." That should do the trick. Http://