True-Life-Tale Of Dealing With A Telemarketer Who Continually Ignored The Do-Not-Call List

I just got yet ANOTHER call from a third party selling life insurance policies for BoA. Sometime last month, I told them to stop calling me, and that just because I bank with BoA (I had…I terminated that week before last for reasons unrelated to this) doesn’t mean they’re allowed to keep calling despite my telling them to stop. If I had access to our call records at the moment, I’d list the time, date, and duration of each call, as well as the date I told them to stop.

I quit being amenable on the day they called for the third time before 3pm…

So today, as soon as I heard ‘insurance’ and ‘Bank of America’, I said, “Ma’am, allow me to interrupt. I know that you personally probably don’t have access to your company’s do-not-call list, but I’m on it. What’s the proper name of the company for which you’re calling, and a corporate contact number?” [Sitel, 304.697.3000; What shows up on called ID is Not Provided, 800.448.2755; when you call that second number, you get a BoA greeting that allows you to opt out of these calls by pressing two.] According to the FCC, telemarketers have to transmit caller ID information:

“If you have caller ID, a telemarketer is required to transmit or display its phone number and, if available, its name or the name and phone number of the company for which it is selling products. The display must include a phone number that you can call during regular business hours to ask that the company no longer call you.”

Once she provided me that, I asked for the call center manager’s name, and said to her ‘and I don’t necessarily mean your immediate supervisor. I want whoever heads the call center from which you’re calling’. I didn’t want her to think that I was going after her, and for her to keep information from me to try and cover her ass.

A Donald Sims got on the phone, named Demi Roseman as the call center supervisor, and said that they at Sitel were calling on behalf of Interaction Insurance Services, 866.879.0179. He was cordial, and although he tried to be wily by spouting off the name and number as quickly as possible, he did repeat both when I asked him to.

I hate Bank of America so much.

Because right now, North Carolina has a relatively awesome attorney general, I’m not only filing with the FCC: I’m filing a complaint with the AGs office. Even if the federal gov’t won’t do anything with the information I’ve gathered, Roy Cooper’s office will.

I know it’s not a ‘BoA carbombed my dead grandmother’s house’ story, but it seems it has been a while since I’ve seen a post about dealing with wayward telemarketers, so maybe at some point in the future, this will be something you can use.

If anything interesting comes of this, I can either send you an update out of the blue, or wait for a request from yall. I know you’re busy. At any rate, with stuff like this, I make the calls at my computer so I can email myself notes on the call immediately.

Lessons learned:

• Telemarketers have to transmit Caller ID
• If you’re on the do-not-call-list and they won’t stop calling you, ask for the call center supervisor and get the place’s name and number. Be persistent and don’t let them get away with fast-talking if you can’t understand them.
• Use this information to file complaints with the FCC through the Do-Not-Call Service.

See, getting on the do-not-call list is only one-half of fighting unwanted telemarketers. The other half is reporting those who fail to comply.

(Photo: amyadoyzie)

Comments

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  1. bpotterr says:

    I just recently asked these people to put me on the do-not-call list. My favorite part of these calls was always when, after the first time I said I wasn’t interested, they reminded me that I could meet with an unfortunate accident at any time. It almost felt like they were threatening me.

  2. ThyGuy says:

    Sadly, those companies that already ignore the DNC usually block their number, then tell their telemarketers to hang up on anyone who request that information. I was with a company that threatened to ruin a employees life if they ever gave anyone company information, even the police. Very damn scary to say the least.

    Another thing they do is give you the information about a rival telemarketing company to get them in trouble.

    You can make any legit company stop calling you by going to the police and having them enforce the cease and desist. The illegitimate ones are a hassle and half to make stop calling you. Unfortunately there are many, many telemarketing companies trained in getting what they want, without giving you a shred of information.

  3. ElPresidente408 says:

    Most financial institutions automatically place you on mailing/calling lists. You can opt-out of these but you have to make sure you do it for everything. For instance, I had to individually opt-out for all my credit cards, bank accounts, and I even sent an opt-out form to the major credit agencies (Equifax, etc). Since doing that I no longer get any more credit card applications in the mail and the phone calls have stopped.

  4. Xerloq says:

    You can always sue them in small claims court (via UCAN).

    On a side note, I used to work for Sitel in Omaha. I worked on an answering service for an insurance company (I didn’t do outbound stuff, so I never called you). Our “trainer” was noted for mispronouncing words. We were constantly chided for not providing good customer “satisfacation” (yes, sa – tis – fa -KAY – shun).

    I’m surprised they gave you the information on where they worked. We were strictly instructed to insist we were employees of the contractor (we were techincally contracted employees) and not Sitel.

    Also, remember the do-not-call-list does not apply to companies you do business with, or the third parties with whom they share your information. Make sure to opt-out of everything.

    Or get GrandCentral and block ‘em yourself.

  5. LittleBit12 says:

    The easiest way I’ve found to get these companies to stop calling is to tell them the number is a cell phone. It is a violation of federal law to use an auto-dialer or a pre-recorded voice message to call a cell phone.

    Not long ago, I was receiving constant calls from some insurance company. When I would answer, they would actually hang up. I found out the company name by looking up the phone number on the internet. The first time I called them and told them to stop calling me, the guy I talked to actually told me that I needed to buy one of their policies to stop the calls! I called back later and told them that they were calling a cell phone, and that they were violating federal law if they were using an auto-dialer, and that if I got one more call I would report them. I never got another call from them.

  6. a_m_m_b says:

    this mangy bs coupled with everyone-and-his-brother losing or selling your contact data is exactly why i still have a dirt cheap landline for a billing phone#. only friends & family get my cell#.

  7. bohemian says:

    How can I get a Grandcentral signup? I looked and they only had the option to request one at a later date.

  8. SEMMEagent says:

    @bohemian: Grandcentral was just bought by Google. I am pretty sure they are making it “invitation only” for a while.

  9. timmus says:

    Holy COW I can’t believe they didn’t just hang up on him. I’ve never heard of a telemarketer not disconnecting the call when they get grief.

  10. WV.Hillbilly says:

    A 304-697-xxxx number is located in Huntington WV.
    I’d contact WV’s Attorney General as well. He’s a real bastard.

  11. frogman31680 says:

    Just an interesting note… If you look at the Telephone Consumer Protection Act there are a lot of things that you could do.

    The first thing I always do is ask the sales rep that calls for his name and the company they work for. This is key, because they will tell you who they represent, save that info but also ask what company pays them. They HAVE to tall you this.

    Second, Tell a “Supervisor” that you want taken off of the call list for the company they represent and (this is key) ALL of the call lists for the call center. Since most call for numerous companies, you can kill many birds with one stone. They may say it takes up to two weeks and you may receive more calls, let them know that each call will be a violation of federal law.

    Third, keep a record of all the info you get. Even some of the comments that may have been said. This may come in handy.

    Now if you get another another call from that call center no matter from what company, you can file a lawsuit in small claims court against that telemarketing firm (or if you feel lucky the credit card company that they are calling on behalf of.)

    And since they called your house, you can file in your own county court. Why, because they are conducting business in your county. Even if they are from thousands of miles away.

    You can win up to $2000 big ones per claim. Just a small way to get back at them for the dinners wasted!

  12. BoraBora says:

    I had a boyfriend once that whenever a telemarketer called, he would patiently listen to their offer, and then say, “Why _____, that sounds really good……let me ask you something. What are you wearing?” The telemarketer would pause, not certain how to react, and continue, and he’d say “hmmmm…are you naked?” You get the drift. The telemarketer would ultimately hang up (or put him on hold indefinitely,) totally weirded out. Not sure how effective it was, but it was very funny to hear.

    I just choose not to have a land line.

  13. They have to transmit caller ID’s huh? Interesting…

  14. Andrew says:

    Another ploy they use on me is this:

    The phone rings, and I answer it. A recordings says something like, “want to make you manhood the awe of the neighborhood? If so, press 1 now to connect to one of our representatives! Press 1 now!” after a second, it repeats, ad nauseum until I hang up. They aren’t transmitting any caller ID and the recording has no information about who they are, or even where they are. I can get that info only if I “Press 1 now”. But, then, that qualifies as an established business relationship, right?

  15. emax4 says:

    Years ago when I worked for Dish Network, where we didn’t do any outbound calls unless they were technical follow-ups with the customer, I heard one disturbing story. Turns out someone had called us, as usual being that we were an inbound call center. As the Customer Service Rep (CSR) did her greeting, the caller blasted an air horn over the phone and pretty much gave the rep permanent hearing damage. It was just damage and not a loss, but it still sucked. I never heard anything else so I’m guessing the caller didn’t stay on the phone long enough for the caller ID to come up on the computer.

    Why not use this same technique against telemarketers?

  16. rbcat says:

    @emax4: I’m shocked that a call center has a phone system with enough dynamic range or power to allow that loud of a sound through. The two call centers I’ve worked at had phones that we had to strain to hear every call.

    @bohemian: If you want a GC invite, e-mail me (my username here, at wyvern dot org), and be sure to include what e-mail address you want me to send it to. I only have one left, and you can have it..

  17. ptkdude says:

    @emax4: I had an ongoing issue with a telemarketer calling me. I had even gone so far as filing a nuisance call complaint with BellSouth, but nothing was done. A simple whistle was all it took. I didn’t blow very loud at all so it wouldn’t damage his hearing, but I did warn him that the next time he’d end up deaf. Never heard from him again.

    The whistle also came in handy once when a fax machine called my number repeatedly for months. Eventually someone heard the whistle on their end while the machine was trying to handshake, and they stopped calling.

  18. G-Dog says:

    I just explode with swearing and threats that would get me arrested if performed in public. I mean vile stuff that makes “The Aristocrats” seem wholesome.My telepestering calls have been reduce to almost none, and I get to blow off steam.

  19. Rahnee says:

    “Aristocrats” is awesome.

    FYI, I called the Georgia DNC list people months ago to ask why I was still getting calls even though Ive been on the list since its inception. I was told that if I am a customer of theirs or have ever been a customer of theirs it is not considered a “cold” call and IS allowed by DNC list guidelines.

    I was not happy with that response but looks like the telemarketers have found a loopholed.

  20. textilesdiva says:

    Rahnee,
    That is simply not so. Under the federal govt rules (which trump state laws), “business relationsips” last 18 months, but in those 18mos, you can ask the business to quit calling you, and they must.
    Inquiries to a company also create an EBR, but this only lasts three months. They, too, must honor your request to not call you.
    I’m pulling all of this information from this.

    Emax4, the point of the DNC list is so that customers don’t have to deal with telemarketers at all. Sucks for them that I’m a student on summer break with lots of time to handle their BS. They count on folks not following up with complaints. If you piss off enough people, someone IS going to come after you, with the gov’t at least partially on their side.

    Timmus and Xerloq, I was equally suprised. I really do think that being courteous to the lady making the call, coupled with an acknowledgement that she’s doing what she’s told to, went a VERY long way. Being assertive and asking for JUST the right information probably helped.

    Charonno, do you get call logs of all phone calls from your provider? You may have access to their number if you do. If you can get the number, and describe to someone at the FCC what’s going on, they may do the legwork for you, because that’s a VERY egregious violation of multiple rules.

    Elpresidente, that was done AGES ago.

    WV Hillbilly, I’ll look into that.

    (Yes, this was me who wrote this up for Consumerist. Additionally, my mother, WAY back in the days, told me of her short stint doing telemarketing to pay bills. As a result, I do realize that not all the telemarketers do this because they like it. I treat individuals courteously until given ANY reason not to. For some reason, many people assume that being polite means you’re a doormat of sorts. Clearly, this isn’t the case)

  21. FeralKoala says:

    @textilesdiva: I am unlucky enough to have spent time in Huntington, WV, the location of this particular Sitel, and still have some contacts there, including in local and state government. If you think I might be able to help you get any more information you might need, give me a buzz at DYg3geUnK6vgzq0I@spambox.us.

  22. eli_b says:

    I use a cell phone instead of a home phone. I have no use for a home phone, not to mention the inconvenience of having random companies call, and my number listed in the 4 phonebooks we have in the area. I have to pay to have my number not listed in a phonebook? No thanks.

  23. jbl-az says:

    Most telemarketers will reply affirmatively if I ask them to put me on their “do not call” list, even though they are probably doing nothing. If I go further and try to get information about their operation, or worse try to remind them what is required of them, they usually just hang up.

    I think the difference in some cases is that they are identifiably working for a large company with a reputation to worry about — e.g. cold callers working for a chain of carpet cleaners don’t much care, but if they’ve contracted to your bank, they may be instructed not to piss off the bank’s customers — so in that case they might be more likely to respond courteously and provide the information you request.

    Dish was always notorious — I don’t know if they encouraged such action, but the local contractors / installers did a lot of cold call solicitation, seeming to represent themselves as Dish. Dish disclaimed any knowledge of their activities, but never tried to discourage them or sanction them in any way. (DirecTV may have been guilty of the same thing, but if so I think to a lesser extent.)

  24. reykjavik says:

    or….get a voip line and put their number on your block list.

  25. Red_Eye says:

    While everything TEXTILESDIVA said was correct regarding business relationships, keep in mind establishing that relationship is easily done. Fill out a contest entry? Bingo. Send in a warranty registration? Bingo. Call the company and request information.. Bingo. Also keep in mind that a lot of companies are about as interrelated and inbred ….

    For example send in a claim for some marlboro miles and youve probably setup a relationship with Nabisco…

  26. majortom1981 says:

    Why not just get caller id. If you dont recognize the number then just hang up.

  27. synergy says:

    Thanks to the person who wrote in!!! My husband works night and for a while he kept complaining that these insurance people kept calling when he was trying to sleep during the day. He got tired of asking them to not call us again. Now I’ve called the 800 number and hopefully they won’t bother his beauty sleep ever again. :)

  28. econobiker says:

    I had a roommate would tell telemarketers that he’d love to sign up because he would be going to prison soon and that he’d like to leave whatever the telemarketer was selling to his family as the family was in bankruptcy due to his legal bills. The telemarketers seemed to break off the calls rather quickly…

  29. greebs says:

    Regarding the persistant BoA telemarketer, here’s a solution I have found to be quite satisfying: Once you find out that the caller is about to waste your time, fight back. Simply interupt and quickly say, “Ooh, hold on a second…” and put them on hold…FOREVER! Time = $$ at a call center. You get the satisfaction of turning the tables, and they won’t be bothering you again anytime soon (if they’re somewhat intelligent).

  30. 7livesleft says:

    Talking smut to telemarketers seems to make them hang up quickly. Asking them sexual preferences, favors, and making suggestions on what you want to do to them is fun, and makes the call VERY short.

  31. unclescrooge says:

    I just had a lengthy discussion with another BOA telemarketer and then Bank of America’s customer service.

    When I opened my account several months ago, I specifically told the guy that my phone number was to be used to contact me for emergencies only. He said that he would note that and that was the end of it.

    Within three weeks the calls started. First one, then a couple of weeks later, another.

    Now I’m getting upwards of three telemarketing calls all from BOA telemarketers pushing identity theft service, home loans, refinancing, you name it.

    Tomorrow I am calling the intial branch that I opened the account at, and after that I am calling BOA corporate. The “banker” who opened this account mislead us on a large number of things including placing holds on our paycheck deposits for seven business days.

    This organization tries to hide its executives and it’s decision makers but the SEC requires that information to be disclosed so guess who’s public record that I’m going to be looking up on Hoovers?