How do you know you’re watching television with a Consumerist editor? Our commenters will probably formulate all kinds of punchlines for that setup, but last night, I was half paying attention to former President Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention on CNN when I happened to see an elderly supporter waving her Medicare card at the camera. Her name and Social Security number were completely legible. “We can read her card! Stop showing that!” I shouted at the TV. The people on the television never listen to personal finance bloggers who are shouting at them.
Megan sent us this transcript of a recent phone conversation she had with someone from a mysteriously generic “cardholder services” that called her.
Feature Films For Families—the company that’s been phone-spamming random people over the past few weeks—follows no man’s law! The nonprofit Smart Television Alliance, which works to educate parents on how to improve the television experience for kids*, discovered that the company was using its name without permission.
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.
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.
I have been getting a lot of calls from a number on my cell phone. I know its a telemarketer, so I don’t answer anymore. My cell phone number is on the “do not call” list, if that means anything… I guess not.