This Is Why You Don't Answer Anonymous Telephone Surveys At Work

Jay’s roommate says he was bored at work recently and decided to go ahead and take part in a random telephone survey. Now he’s been fired.

Here’s Jay’s email:

I live with a roommate that was recently let go from his job in the sports industry. He worked in an office/warehouse setting for a company that handles sports equipment for various teams in various leagues. Now you might assume this was a layoff due to the economy, cutbacks, etc., but I assure you the company is very healthy with good sales despite the current economic conditions.

One day while sitting at his desk, he answered a phone call from someone claiming to be doing a survey of local businesses. With nothing occupying him at that specific moment he decided to participate after being ensured it would be very quick. (I completely agree with everybody wondering why he would ever decide to participate in a phone survey, and his response to that is that he was bored at that moment and thought they were official.)

Anyway, after answering a few questions such as is so and so the business address and other yes or no questions, they started asking other in-depth questions. After realizing this was not just a quick survey, he decided to just hang up and didn’t even think further about it. Until a couple of weeks ago that is.

He was called into his boss’s office to answer why he had authorized a new telephone service for the company. Having no idea what he was referring to, my roommate asked for any kind of proof of him authorizing the new monthly charges. His boss produced a recording of my roommate answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to questions he was never asked, such as ‘are you authorized to make decisions on behalf of the business’ and ‘are you willing to join our service’ , etc.

It seems after his boss found out about the new service, he called the phone service ‘survey’ company and was provided with that recording. Needless to say, my roommate was shocked at the recording and very emphatically tried to tell his boss that he didn’t answer those questions and would never agree that he was authorized to make decisions on behalf of the business as he was there the shortest amount of time (1 year).

His boss then told him that he would try to get it sorted out and get his $30 back (!) and to not make that mistake again. Well after thinking about it, the boss apparently decided that he did not believe my roommate and thought it best to let him go.

So now my roommate is left without health insurance and no way to pay bills or rent this month all because he was naive enough to answer yes confirming his business’ address.

Jay wants to know whether his roommate has any recourse to getting his job back, but I doubt it. His employer, however, would be doing everyone a favor if he focused on the scam and reported it to the phone company, the state attorney general and the FTC.