May 31, 2009
Meet the robocallers

I didn't think it was possible for me to hate the auto warranty robocallers any more than I already do, but apparently it is.

[C]ourt documents filed this month in a Federal Trade Commission case against a Florida company -- Transcontinental Warranty -- provide what authorities say is a look inside a telemarketing operation that used widespread recorded calls and misrepresentations in selling its product.

A declaration from a former employee describes how he was supposed to go through hundreds of calls in a shift, trying to sell auto service warranties, which the FTC said typically cost $2,000 to $3,000, without giving up too much information about the company, especially if consumers became combative or suspicious.

"Transcontinental's company motto was 'Hang up. Next,'‚ÄČ" said Mark Israel, who worked the evening shift with about 30 other operators at company headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "Essentially, this meant that if the consumer did not readily go along with the scripted telemarketing pitch, I should immediately hang up."


Israel, who did not respond to requests for an interview, worked for the company only four days before quitting and contacting the FTC.

His description of the calls mirrored those of people nationwide, the FTC said, who complained to government agencies and consumer organizations. The FTC said some Transcontinental calls went to numbers registered on the national Do Not Call list. But all recorded sales calls are illegal with the exception of those that go to people with whom there's an established business relationship.

But it was difficult for consumers to report a company if it couldn't get its name. "I understood it to be an acceptable practice at Transcontinental to say whatever was necessary to get the consumer to divulge his or her credit card number," Israel said in the court documents.

Some people have left comments on previous posts about these jerks saying they'd managed to hang on the line long enough to get to a person and get that person to take them off their call list, at least for awhile. I never bothered with that - I always hung up as soon as I recognized the call, if I was unfortunate enough to answer it in the first place. I think that was for the better, all things considered. And I must say, I haven't received one of these calls in a few days now (knock wood), so maybe the feds are having an effect, One can only hope.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 31, 2009 to Bidness
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