I want to share a recent experience that involves a cell phone spammer. I would never think I’d be writing to tell you a positive story, but in the light of what happened I think it would be worth sharing. Last week, on 8/16 to be exact, I was spammed with an unsolicited text message to my cell phone. I recall reading a post on Consumerist about the Attorney General for Illinois along with Cingular would be suing a cell phone spammer. I also recall your Executive Email Carpet Bomb postings and decided to try it out.
This was not that easy, since the company I would be writing to, is based in Italy with operations in the US, but a search on Google gave me what I was looking for, and managed to get the names of many executives on their site as well. I ended up writing to the CEO, their PR Dept, the Customer Care Dept, Channel Marketing, and a few other people “at the top”.
Yesterday, I got a call from their Customer Service Manager Paola Gutierrez from their USA division. You may think I provided them with my cell phone number, instead I created a “temporary phone number” that forwarded my calls to my cell (craigsnumber.com). By doing this, I was keeping my *real* number secret, until I had to provide it to somebody that could actually do something meaninguful. After all, why would I want to give my number to a spammer, right? I went on to explain what I already knew about their company. They have been, and continue to be the source of many complaints of unsolicited messages and that I had already complained to the FCC and my phone company. I also told her I wanted to be compensated for my time and the sending of unsolicited messages.
Paola said she would investigate the issue and call me back, which she did 3 hours later. She advised me that my number was recycled and the previous owner had used their services in January 2006. She also told me that they had been sending messages every month since that time. I have had the number only for 6 months, but I cannot recall receiving their messages, or maybe I simply ignored them. My cell phone company charges me $10/month for text messages (2 lines). I was pleased to hear that this company would reimburse me what I paid for text messages for the last 6 months. A check for $60 dollars may not sound like much, but I feel like the little guy who scored a direct hit.
I am sure many other people have complaints about this company (Buongiorno USA, a.k.a. Blinko). They not only send unsolicited messages, but a search on Google has many listings about unsolicited messages and unauthorized charges on their phone bills that come from them. Paola went on to say that this is an issue that “the company was trying to deal with”. She also apologized profusely about my negative experience and out of no fault of my own, Blinko had spammed me.
If my other fellow readers have been spammed by Blinko or Buongiorno USA, here’s a list of their execs:
email@example.com – CEO
firstname.lastname@example.org- Head of Customer Service 305-695-3478 extension: 23
Blinko specializes in sending infuriating text spam ads, like “Text ‘GARLIC’ to 666 for free anti-vampire charms, NOW!,” tricking unsuspecting vampire haters into signing up for costly monthly services that renew automatically. Most third party text peddlers are willing to refund recent charges when confronted by angry consumers; Franz probably could have resolved the situation with a phone call, reserving the EECB as a weapon of last resort. Though in this instance, its deployment worked out well.
(Photo: El Tuercas)