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.
So apparently some marketing company is spamming phone numbers (they claim “at random”) with what is either an army of impossibly determined and stoic cold calling employees, or a series of computerized recordings, advertising on behalf of the production company for some new movie “The Velveteen Rabbit.” They’re also trying to include any number of suspicious guarantees and special “side deal” offers. They’re even brazen enough to talk about it in their manufactured “comments” section and mention it on their own animated short.
It seems like this has been going on for at least two weeks, judging from forum posts I’ve seen around the net while trying to research this and find out who called me, why they called me, and how the hell they got my cell phone number.
I immediately called the number back, and got sent to some “Your call is very important to us” queue, and after about twenty seconds it SOUNDED like I got a real person, but they refused to acknowledge my questions and immediately launched directly into another preprogrammed speech routine while ignoring everything I said, so it was probably just another computer recording. In any case, it’s annoying and frustrating, not to mention a blatant violation of my number being on the do not call registry.
On the forum Kevin mentions above, several people say they tried calling the number back only to get routed to a full voicemail box that prevented them from leaving any message, which we’re pretty sure goes against the rule that requires telemarketers to provide a way for you to reach them during normal business hours to request they take your name off of their list.
There’s also the question of whether these are robocalls. If they are, as of December of 2008 they have to provide a clear and easy way, during the phone call, for the recipient to opt out of any future calls from the company, which we’re not sure is happening.
We contacted Feature Films For Families on Tuesday and asked them about the telemarketing, specifically whether or not they were following the Do Not Call Registry and the related guidelines for opting out of such calls. We also asked them to provide a working phone number where people can call to request that their number be removed from any calling list. As of the time of this post, we have yet to hear back from them.
If you need to file a complaint against a telemarketer who’s not following the law, here’s how to do it.