What Part Of "Do-Not-Call" Do Skeezy Telemarketers Not Understand?

Meet Bluegreen, a Florida time-share company that regularly skirts the Do-Not-Call Lista by offering a $50,000 raffle. By entering the raffle, unsuspecting consumers give Bluegreen – and over a dozen of their affiliates – permission to contact them, even if they subscribe to the Do-Not-Call List. We explain how this is technically legal, after the jump.

Bluegreen says it has set up hundreds of similar kiosks in malls and other public venues across the country. Between the kiosks and its Internet marketing efforts, the Boca Raton (Fla.) company estimates it rakes in as many as 4.5 million “leads” each year, which it and more than a dozen of its affiliates use for telemarketing. David Bidgood, Bluegreen’s senior vice-president of national sales and marketing, takes umbrage at any suggestion that his company is deceiving consumers with the sweepstakes. “We’re doing [the sweepstakes] to try and make phone calls,” he says. “[The fine print] is there. They should read it, but most people don’t.”

Bluegreen, like many unscrupulous telemarketers, takes advantage of a provision of the Do-Not-Call List that allows businesses to contact people with whom they have an “established business relationship.” Merely signing up for the raffle establishes a business relationship, meaning that Bluegreen and their affiliates get to interrupt your dinner for the next 18 months.

Congress is preparing to reauthorize the Do-Not-Call List, presenting the perfect opportunity to close the loophole with an easy and reasonable fix. As suggested by the AARP, the standard of “established business relationship,”should be changed to “ongoing business relationship.” Problem solved.

Skirting the Do Not Call Registry [BusinessWeek]
(Photo: Getty Images)

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  1. SOhp101 says:

    Many people don’t realize that the DNC list only prevents companies from doing cold calls (i.e., they have no previous business relationship with you) to your number. Send any company your number and voila! They’re authorized to call you.

    While we’re on the subject, despite all of the e-mail circulation rumors (I just got one 15 min ago), cell phones still aren’t on the list. You can still put it on if you really want to for peace of mind.

  2. timmus says:

    I’m surprised the company even bothers operating within the scope of the law. All they have to do is telemarket with false Caller ID information using the name of a fictitious timeshare company. Any complaints to the attorney general will be lodged against that untraceable company. The only people who find out what the real company is are those that actually come in to sign papers, and then the business relationship has started anyway.

    I’m pretty cynical of the whole system — no agencies have ever taken any of my complaints about DNC violations seriously. I’ve gotten either a form letter or no reply at all.

  3. d0x says:

    My girlfriend signed us up for newspaper delivery on a sunday. She gave them her cell # for billing reasons and within 2 days we were getting calls from a number we had never seen before.

    Every day, 3 times + a day for 3 weeks (even on Sundays and after 9pm on weekdays), once she told me i looked the number up and found it was a telemarketing company who bought phone numbers from newspapers and then in order to avoid breaking the law before they tried to sell you something they asked a couple survey questions about the paper.

    Well I called them and told them to remove me from their list, then I called the paper told them since they sold my number they already made enough profit from me and I refused to pay the bill (all of $2) and then i told them to never bring me a paper again.

    The lady on the phone must have been drunk because she didnt seem to understand that getting phone calls all day everyday was an annoyance. We were also never informed our number would be sold out for profit 30 seconds after we signed up for the paper.

  4. NoNamesLeft says:

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE STOP USING THE TERM “AFTER THE JUMP”! It is so old and over used on your site.

  5. ju-ju-eyeball says:

    Why can’t congress just make it illegal to sell customer information? That will be problem solved. While they are at it, why don’t they just make selling over the phone and email illegal. Oh, what happy people we would be!

  6. mrmysterious says:

    HA! I just received a call from a “charitable organization”. The current national do not call registry is pretty useless. The old state level one that we had in Indiana was much tougher and much more effective.

    Seriously, if I put my number on the do not call list that means that no business should call me including opinion research firms, politicians, newspapers, not-for-profits, and everything else.

  7. Namrepus says:

    If my college hadn’t sold my name to atleast 50 different debt consolodation companies I woulnd’t be in the mess I am in right now

  8. spinachdip says:

    @NoNamesLeft: 1. This site has a lot of after-the-jump content, so I imagine the frequency of use is appropriate, though that depends on your threshold of overuse.

    2. Believe it or not, most of the phrases in the modern vernacular, including many of the phrases you use yourself, are decades, even CENTURIES old!

  9. badgeman46 says:

    I have a land line that I use only for my alarm system. So obviously anyone who calls it is a telemarketer. It has turned into a source of entertainment really! Use the Judge Judy soundboard from e-baums world for some fun. The good ol compressed air horn is fun too! My latest feat is recording one of these mindless crackheads droning on and on without letting you talk and then playing it when another one calls. You’d be amazed what its like when you turn the tables on them. But by far my favorite is, “Hold on” and I’ll put down the phone and let it sit for 5 minutes and pick it up and say hold on again. This is usually good for wasting upwards of 15 minutes of their time. Maybe I just love messing with these scumbags too much.

  10. ncboxer says:

    If you have an established business relationship with a company, you can still ask them to place you on their do not call list and they have to abide by it.

  11. “As suggested by the AARP, the standard of “established business relationship,”should be changed to “ongoing business relationship.” Problem solved.”

    You and I both know that is still too broad.

  12. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    And this is why I never enter raffles or free car give-aways at the mall. One time my friend and I were at the mall. She saw a free car raffle and wanted to sign up. I told her to forget it. It’s a scam. They’re just harvesting contact info and selling it to telemarketers. I guess I said it a little too loud because there were a few people that were filling out the entry form near by. They looked over at me, paused, looked at the entry form, then walked away and trashed their entry forms. Haha.


    @NONAMESLEFT

    Ugh.. I hate “after the jump” also. Actually, it’s a legit word. But it’s misused by blog sites. A “page jump” lets you skip or move to specific pages in a non sequential way. You often see this on gallery sites. Like this..

    First Page | 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 | Last Page

    But on blog sites, there’s no reason for a jump. What you read is the excerpt (or first paragraph) on the front page or in your RSS reader. The rest of the story displays when you click on it. So really, they should say “(continue reading)” with a hyperlink.

    But “after the jump” isn’t has bad as “deets” which is some stupid slang for the word “details”. You see this used mostly on those tech/gadget sites.

    “More deets after the jump”.

  13. hoo_foot says:

    The Do Not Call list = the only good thing to come out of the Bush Administration.

    Seriously, the only telemarketing call I received since putting my name on the list was from Comcast, of which I am a subscriber. I politely asked them to put me on their Do Not Call list and, amazingly, they complied. Haven’t a telemarketing call in the years since then.

  14. acambras says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat:

    More deets after the jump, natch. ;-)

  15. Bryan Price says:

    We’ve been getting barraged with phone calls recently. The biggest problem I have is that they are mostly recordings. And the charitable organizations that get a free pass on the DNCL are getting obnoxious by calling again if you say no!

  16. alhypo says:

    I don’t have much sympathy for people receiving phone solicitations after entering a raffle, drawing, free giveaway, etc. That is exactly the purpose of such programs; they are trying to get your information for the extremely low cost of a few measly prizes. I love the do-not-call list, but are we really so infantile that we can’t take a few basic precautions towards protecting our information?

    The odds of winning one of those raffles are usually pretty dismal, so you are not sacrificing much by abstaining from them.

  17. spinachdip says:

    I moved to a new apartment in June and got a land line for the first time in 7 years.

    Within 72 hours of installing the line, I got two calls from the Washington Times. After politely telling the second operator that she couldn’t pay me to subscribe and to never call again, I signed up for the national DNC list. I haven’t received a solicitation again

    Now, I don’t know how long it takes for the DNC or whether the list is working for me, I do know that the list isn’t not working for me. That’s good enough for me, for now.

  18. XTC46 says:

    One major problem with the DNC list is there are exceptions to it. For instance, not-for-profit companies do not have to follow it. I worked for one as a cold caller for a few months (wort job I have ever held) and asked about it and even had the law in the office so we could respond to people who threaten lawsuits. We did have an internal do not call list, but any customer who acted like a complete asshole usually got “mistakenly” added to the “redial-no answer” list (which would cycle their number through in the next couple of hours instead of the DNC list.


    and as much as people hate getting these calls, its not the person who is calling you at fault, hell they probably didn’t even dial your number (a computer dialed our because it was faster and with less error)They are just doing their job, so be nice to them. Unless they get pushy, then they are just assholes.

  19. quail says:

    Don’t people just know not to answer any unidentified phone number? I only pick up when I’m in the mood to play (bwahahah). Yea, I’m on the DNC too but it doesn’t stop political or nonprofit fundraisers. And when they change the loophole to “ongoing business” political and nonprofit groups will still be harrassing us.

  20. synergy says:

    I’ve gotten zero calls to my land and cell lines from telemarketing. I can’t think of the last time I got one. The only one I was getting repeatedly was one from Bank of America, with which I bank, for their insurance and after a commenter helpfully gave the toll-free number to request they stop, those have completely stopped as well. I also never sign up for anything and if it’s unimportant and they insist for a phone number, I give them a fake one. *shrug*

  21. darkclawsofchaos says:

    Get a digital answering machine. Telemarketers doesn’t talk into it, if a person really wants to talk to you they will leave a message. In fact, its a good habit to just let your answering machine answer the phone everytime and only pick up if you want to talk to that person

  22. nardo218 says:

    Um, duh. When you sign up for contests, you are giving you information to spammers.

  23. PenguinBlue says:

    Read the fine print or don’t complain.

  24. Melov says:

    People still use lan lines?

  25. Buran says:

    @spinachdip: That doesn’t mean you have to put in that BS every time. I’ve even seen sites use it to tell people to scroll past the sleazy ad banner placed right in the middle of what people came to read.

    Gee, if people stop reading at the banner, maybe there’s a reason…

  26. Snarkysnake says:

    Here’s a new angle to this racket : I get calls all the time from cold calling ,dirtbag boiler room operators trying to peddle their worthless investment schemes (almost all of these are frauds,BTW).But the twist is this: They will begin the call by saying “Hello Mr. ______,I’m Bill Skankmuffin from TigerBalls Investments and you might remember that we talked a couple of months ago about _______” From there ,they pitch their crap at me in big,steaming heaps.The fact is,they are reading this script about having talked to me before to cover their sorry asses if I complain and take action. Clever. So don’t expect the government to come up with a DNC system that will defeat these clowns.

  27. Rusted says:

    Landline is for the DSL. Cell is for talking. I’m on the DNC but it doesn’t stop everything.

    Also, isn’t it kinda stupid to sign up for raffles at a kiosk in a mall? It may be sleazy but I give those telemarketers credit for originality.

  28. SadSam says:

    We get a fair number of calls frome telemarketers disguised as survey/polling calls. My husband has great fun with these folks and spent 10 minutes on the phone with one of them answering questions about his preference for toliet paper. Most of the time we just don’t answer our home phone.

  29. GitEmSteveDave says:

    I once watched a investigative report on this lady who successfully sued Sears for calling her even after she asked to be put on the DNCL, and she caught some of the operators on tape not saying who they were calling from, being verbally abusive, etc…. When she finally got her settlement, part of it was like free car repair service or tires or something along those lines.

    BUT, she found out only later that by accepting the service, she opened herself up AGAIN to phone calls because part of the fine print on the service tickets said they could call, or have affiliates call about offers relating to services rendered. It was a very “Doh!” moment.

  30. CaptainSemantics says:

    Most non-profits that I have worked for will immediately take you off of a call list when you request it. Granted, I only work in the performing arts, so who knows what other non-profits do. My current job even has a special drop-down item on each customer account to sort solicitation requests, “No mail,” “No phone,” “No mail and phone.” But we don’t even do telemarketing. We tried it one year, but we felt too sleazy the whole time and it wasn’t worth the extra memberships we sold. We only do direct mail advertising, and if we get a call to be taken off the mailing list, we do it immediately. But we theatre people are such pushovers, so maybe we weren’t built for sleazy marketing tactics. That must be why we always have no money. :/

  31. GitEmSteveDave says:

    If I get a unknown phone number repeatedly calling my cell, I either

    A) Tell them I’m 16/17 years old, and then they usually stop right there because most offers can’t be agreed by a minor, and they record the calls on their side for proof.

    B) Depending on the sex of the caller, I either adopt a gay man or angry woman voice, and tell them they best “stop callin’ my man!” because I have their number, and I know he’s cheating on me, etc… My best hang up time has been 5 seconds.

    or C) Go for my “Special Ed from Crank Yankers” routine, and try to keep them on the phone as long as I can trying to make them my “friend” and telling them random facts about myself or what I’m doing. “I don’t need gas gift cards cuz I have a bike with lights on the wheels, and a bell, and a flag, and I go really fast!”

    I stop getting calls from the companies after about 3 calls.

  32. rich815 says:

    Drop the idiotic “after the jump” phrase.

  33. MeOhMy says:

    @Papa Midnight: Absoulutely! What constitutes “ongoing”?

    No, what needs to be required is a bold-faced statement that says
    “WARNING: BY SUBMITTING THIS FORM YOU ARE AGREEING TO RECEIVE TELEMARKETING PHONE CALLS AND HAVE YOUR INFORMATION SOLD TO ANY OTHER COMPANY.”

    No more euphemisms, no more weasle words, no more mouse print.

    And no more fake giveaways!

  34. StevieD says:

    My favorite revenge on telewhores is my very unlisted telephone #. The number is really unlisted for use by family to reach me after hours at work and bypass the business telephone system. But somewhere in the backrooms of the babybell somebody has failed to reprogram the babybell internal records of the number to my name. Thus the babybell thinks the phone belongs to Mr ZXCVB.

    Which also means that anybody calling me on that line thinks I am Mr ZXCVB.

    I love having fun with the telewhores.

    I named myself the warden’s office. I have told the caller that I am waiting for a call for a condemned prisoner and then yell to somebody in the background. …. “OK, Bob, it is a false alarm, go ahead and pull the switch”.

    I have told the telewhore that their call came at the right time to keep me from commiting suicide…. do you mind if I talk to you for a while… it would make me feel better.

    I have asked the telewhore for a blonde. A blonde? Yes, of course, a nice busty blonde… you are with the escort service?

    I have told the telewhore that I am a defense specialist and they have interrupted my converstaion with the President on how to handle the inbound missiles.

    I have told the telewhore that I am busy delivering my 11 year old daughters baby…. I mean puppies.

    I have told the telewhore that my prisoners are escaping and the telewhore can call me back after we round up all of the escapees.

    Bottom line, if they can waste my time, why can’t I waste some of theirs?