A telemarketing firm that sold products put together by disabled persons has been busted. Police say they were making the people who worked the phone pretend to sound handicapped in order to get more money. “The telemarketers were acting pretty significantly disabled and using particular voice patterns and such that would make them sound disabled,” Riverside Police Det. Brian Money told KABC. The suspects were arrested for theft by false pretenses and false advertising.
If you can’t get rid of annoying telemarketers, you can at least make a profit off them. Under Federal law, they have to give you a written copy of their “Do Not Call” policy for free if you ask them to. If they don’t, you can take them to court and sue them for a cool statutory $500. Here’s a sample script for doing this from a guy who has sued several telemarketers over this violation and won.
Larry’s company was deluged with calls from this one telemarketing scam outfit. They tried everything to get rid of the buggers but they wouldn’t quit. So his company decided to annoy them.
Reader T was pleased to answer a call from a Comcast rep who offered a deal that would give him more channels for less money. He eagerly accepted, only to receive a call from Comcast the next day that informed him there was a hold on his account and he should work to get it removed immediately. Confused, he called Comcast’s customer service and found reason to turn his smile upside down.
John picked up a phone call that seemed to be from his wife, but discovered it was someone even more adept at nagging and less affected by indifference — a robocaller. He says he was the victim of caller ID-manipulating trickery by credit card marketers.
Julius thought he was protected against telemarketers by signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry, but a gleefully irritating Time Warner Cable rep informed him that this isn’t so. Because he’s a subscriber, TWC is allowed to toss telephonic sales pitches his way. Businesses with an established relationship with customers can phone them up to 18 months after their last transaction.
Dawn tells Consumerist that she had a potentially embarrassing experience recently involving a phone call, a celebrity-endorsed beauty product, and a shared phone line. She called to ask some questions about Joan Rivers’ Great Hair Day, a special hair powder marketed to women with thinning hair. Much to her horror, even though she didn’t provide the company with her phone number, they called back within minutes to talk about the product, without even checking to see whether it was Dawn who answered the phone. Nice.
Russell wants to know: if a company cold-calls you to sell you things when you’re part of the federal Do Not Call registry, and insists that the call is totally legal because they’ve “partnered with” a company that you do business with, does that make it okay? No. No, it does not.
Cassandra is looking out for her fiance’s grandmother, who is savvy enough to know the people who call her and say she’s won a bunch money are liars.
John Tedesco of the San Antonio Express-News was badgered last week by a telemarketer who wouldn’t take no for an answer. He decided to keep her talking for a while to see how many ways she’d try to get him to hand over his credit card number for a “free” cruise. Here were all the tricks she used during her sales pitch.
Inc21 supposedly sells web hosting and other Internet-related services, but the FTC says that in reality it contracted with offshore telemarketers who helped it cram charges onto unsuspecting customers’ phone bills, earning $19 million over the past five years. Customers who complained about the charges said they were either never contacted in the first place, were promised a free trial, were told that the telemarketer was just verifying business information, or explicitly refused Inc21’s offer and were charged anyway.
You can always just not answer your phone, but if a telemarketer calling you on your Blackberry sends you into a rage, you might want to look at Call Control. The app relies on the telemarketer database at everycall.us to screen out known spammers. The free version screens out the top 100 telemarketers; an $8 version uses the entire database and includes updates.
Earlier this week we posted a warning to watch out for calls from people asking for donations on behalf of local police or fire departments. Today an alleged former employee—who says he quit after two days of training and one day of seeing what it was really like on the call center floor—wrote in to tell us a little more about how a company on the other side of that phone call works.
Today the FTC banned pretty much all telemarketing-based robocalls starting Tuesday, September 1st, 2009. At that point, “violators will face penalties up to $16,000 per call,” notes the Los Angeles Times.
Megan sent us this transcript of a recent phone conversation she had with someone from a mysteriously generic “cardholder services” that called her.