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.
Leverage Connections will call you with a recorded message that says they’re calling about your credit card, and to push 1. If you fall for that and push the button, you’re connected to a commission-only employee who’s been told to hang up immediately at the first sign of critical thinking. This includes trying to finish the sentence, “Do not call me again.”
If you’re the gullible type, however, they’ll keep you on the phone and tell you how they can lower your credit card rate… for a fee. What they do, it turns out, is contact the credit card company and ask for a lower rate on your behalf.
Yes, this is the same thing you can do on your own. They’ll charge you around $1000-1500 for this service.
A reader wrote to us,
I have received 2-3 calls a week for over a year now. I have filed numerous, useless, complaints with the FTC, the Florida AG’s office, the California AG’s office ( I reside in CA) and the Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services. All to no avail. This company called me yet again this morning.
A person who claims to have worked for them says they hire off of CraigsList and “magic marker signs” around town. The interview consists of being asked if you can sell, and if you say yes you’re put on the phone (and told to hang up if the people on the other end start asking questions). He points out, “Thus, anyone could have access to your private information.” He also says,
I understand they’re an automated system that will call anyone and everyone, mostly elderly, and even those on the “do not call list.” We just hung up on everyone who did not say yes and hitting the #2 does nothing. There is nothing to stop the calls. We just hang up on any person who didn’t sound like they were interested.
Another person on the same forum says he contacted Leverage Communications via their toll free number:
I spoke to “Eli” who told me that they do not have to abide by DoNotCall regulations because they only leave a message – and by selecting the option you are actually calling them. He claims they are working on behalf of the major credit card companies.
…They have been calling me up to three times a week for the past year.
So will their calls dry up come December 1st, 2008? We doubt it, but they’ll be in direct violation of the telemarketing sales rule if their recorded messages don’t lead off with a working option to end calls from their company. Make sure you take careful notes of when they call and whether or not they offer an automated option to get off the list, and file a complaint with the FTC if you need to.
(Thanks to Michael!)
(Photo of telephone: Getty)