Hooray for Verizon Wireless! Wait, what? The cellular carrier has just filed a lawsuit against Feature Films For Families for illegally telemarketing. Specifically, they’re accusing the company of using an auto-dialer to cold call hundreds of thousands of Verizon Wireless customers earlier this month, which is illegal according to NJ state laws (where the suit was filed) and the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
What’s up with this deceptive edit in the ShamWow commercial?
We were wondering how Feature Films For Families, the company that’s randomly calling home lines and cellphones to sell a movie to people who are on the Do Not Call list, was able to get around federal and state telemarketing rules. It turns out they’re hiding behind a non-profit, and non-profits are exempt from following the Do Not Call list. Something similar happened in 2006 between Feature Films For Families and a different non-profit named the Dove Foundation, and the state of Missouri fined them $70,000. It might be time for you to start filing complaints with your state Attorney General and the FTC.
Oh no, someone’s gone and made a terrible looking half-animated, half-live action, religious-on-the-down-low version of this beloved children’s book. That’s bad enough, but then they decided to direct-market it to households by cold calling strangers and offering them a “producer’s guarantee” that if they don’t like it, they can purchase other movies from FamilyTV.com for $4 each. Update: Here’s how the company producing the film is sneaking past the Do Not Call rules.
Several readers have pointed out that American Express has made some changes to its contract “in response to the challenging environment” — the most offensive of which seems to be a new clause that gives them the right to call — or text message — any phone you use to contact them including cellphones, for the purposes of offering you American Express products and services.
You know those annoying robocalls on your mobile phone about renewing your car warranty? The companies behind the calls use spoofing to remain hidden, but AT&T Mobility just filed suit in federal court to track down the culprits, then hopefully make them stop. This is great news, because judging from the quotes given to RCR Wireless, the FTC and FCC both don’t seem too concerned about the matter.
Asta la vista, robo callers! As of December, all pre-recorded sales calls need to have a way for consumers to opt-out of their mailing lists, either by pressing a button or saying something.No doubt this will happen at the end of the call. So the good news is that you have a way to get off their list. The bad news is…
This telemarketer has had it up to here with all of you people at home hanging up on her every time she needs to sell you something! Randall Whited in Austin, Texas, received an earful recently, when he answered the phone shortly after hanging up on the unnamed telemarketer.
Last week we reported that some types of unwanted robocall telemarketing will soon be banned. If you’re on the receiving end of Leverage Connections’ prerecorded harassment—they frequently operate under the generic names “Consumer Services” or “Credit Card Services”—you’ll finally have a way to formally complain to the FTC about them. Why would you want to complain? Because they’re the scammiest, most obnoxious robocall telemarketing company we’ve seen so far—even though what they do is apparently legal.
After reviewing the more than 14,000 comments left by living human beings, the FTC yesterday amended its Telemarketing Sales Rule to ban most types of robotic telemarketing calls. By this December, any recorded calls will have to lead off with an automated opt-out option; by September 2009, telemarketers will need prior written permission to contact someone—simply being a recent customer won’t cut it.
Would you buy DSL service from a company that either doesn’t care about Do Not Call lists or doesn’t know how they work? A man in Missouri was harassed to the point where he considered calling the police, because no matter what he did, AT&T wouldn’t stop calling. Every time he tried contacting AT&T to get it to stop, he ended up in automated phone systems with recorded messages, busy signals, and disconnections—but never a live person. Only after he wrote to a local consumer advocacy columnist did AT&T pay attention and turn off the telemarketing fire hose. AT&T didn’t, however, explain why they were targeting this person, or whether anyone else is facing the same barrage of calls.
Reader Brian says that he’s getting weird scammy calls about “lowering his interest rates” and would like to know what he should do about it.
The FTC fined a Dish Network telemarketing firm $75,000 for hanging up on customers, reports the Deseret News. The company used teleautobots to dial peoples’ homes, which were then supposed to connect to a live telemarketer when someone picked up. However, the system would sometimes get more live customers than there were telemarketers, leaving some customers with a silent line. Federal regulations stipulate that if you use teleautobots, you have to connect the customer to a person within two seconds. The FTC made this law because people, in particular women and old people, were worried they were being stalked when they answered the phone and no one was there.
As I enjoyed the New York Philharmonic’s production of Tosca this past Tuesday, I received a solicitation call. From the New York Philharmonic.
A zealous Discover rep tried to get Richard to sign up for a “protection program” by speeding through the details of the agreement as fast as possible—you know, the fine print part that makes it clear you’re agreeing to a paid service. When Richard made it clear that he wanted to hear the details again and that no, he hadn’t agreed to anything, the rep hung up on him. Discover, maybe you want to have a talk with your reps about their sales techniques.
Reader Ron is annoyed that Domino’s Pizza will not stop calling his cellphone 1-3 times a week to let him know the specials. Yuck!
Verizon announced last week that they accidentally sold over 12,500 private addresses and phone numbers to a phone book company in West Virginia. “We certainly apologize to those customers whose numbers were published. … We’re taking accountability for that,” said a Verizon spokesman. Translation: they’re calling customers to let them know what happened, offering to change their phone numbers for free, and offering to pay the fee to have an unlisted number ($1.98 a month) for a year. Since this is the second time Verizon has made this mistake in the past four years, we wonder if “accountability” can also include taking steps to find out how the numbers keep getting offered up for sale.