Don't Threaten To Kill Telemarketers

We know how you feel; telemarketers suck. But no matter how much they’re in the wrong, please don’t threaten to burn down their place of business and then kill them and their families—even if they call you a jackass—because they may report you to the police. Then, if your police are anything like the ones in St. Louis, Missouri, you’ll likely be arrested and charged for making terrorist threats, like poor Charles Papenfus.

Papenfus, a self-employed mechanic from Ohio, made the threats to an extended auto warranty telemarketer based in St. Louis on May 18. On June 27th, he was “was lured to a Fostoria, Ohio, police station with a false story about being suspected in a tavern fight there,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He went into the station to clear his name, and has been held in jail ever since.

[His wife] Tracie Papenfus said she still can’t understand why her husband is held 450 miles from home at the St. Louis workhouse on a $45,000 bond she can’t afford to pay. (That amount could be lowered at bond-reduction hearing scheduled for Monday.)

“He shouldn’t have mouthed off on the phone, but this is overkill,” Tracie Papenfus said. “He just can’t handle it in there. He’s not a criminal. … They make it sound like he’s a terrorist, and he’s far from it.”

Although the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the name of the warranty company isn’t given in the court papers, the address is:

…the business is located at 300 North Tucker Boulevard. The only firm in that building that sells service contracts – popularly known as “extended warranties” – is TXEN Partners, which does business as Service Protection Direct. The firm did not respond to requests for comment.

The Better Business Bureau recently accused the firm of sending mailers to consumers that incorrectly state factory warranties on their vehicles either have expired or will run out soon. Last year, then-Attorney General Jay Nixon sued the firm for misleading consumers, and a condition of that suit’s settlement was that TXEN Partners would refer to consumers’ expiring warranties only if the company believes “in good faith” that those claims are true.

Papenfus received a fake warranty expiration notice from them—lawsuit settlements are for chumps, apparently—and he snapped, which is when he called to give them a piece of his mind. Things escalated from there.

Our favorite part of the article is this bit of stupidity from chief warrant officer Ed Postawko. “I think all sorts of people get frustrated with all sorts of businesses,” he told the paper. “The solution is to don’t patronize that business, it’s not to break the law. … Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

How exactly you “don’t patronize” a borderline-scam warranty company that spams you and tries to trick you into giving them your money is a mystery we’ll leave to the hive mind to figure out.

“Phone rage leads to arrest here for Ohio man” []
(Photo: KB35)

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