Tuesday, March 03, 2009

What's The Use Of Even Making Threats?

Yesterday I got a telemarketing call on my cell phone. It was for one of those extended warranty offers I'm sure people will recognize from looking at their junk mail as it makes its journey through the teeth of their paper shredder. I waited on the line to talk to a live customer service representative, and I informed him, "I don't know how you got this number, but it is illegal to telemarket to a cell phone."

He responded with a highly skeptical, "Reeeeeaaaaally..."

"Yes, it is," I confirmed.

"So you don't want to extend your vehicle's warranty?" he asked.

"NO! If you call this number again I'm going to report you to the authorities," I said, and he snipped "Okay!" and hung up.

I wanted to give them a chance in case it was a mistake because I read that many former landline numbers had been released for cell phone usage and some were being autodialed by accident. Meanwhile I looked it up just to make sure nothing had changed, and sure enough I was right — it's still illegal for autodialers to target cell phones. I know this was an autodialer because when I answered, a computer told me to wait for a customer service representative. Normally I'd have hung up at that point. Normally, I wouldn't have even answered, but I was totally unprepared to receive a telemarketing call on my cell phone because it's illegal.

Today I got another call from the same number, but I didn't answer because I was away from my phone at the time. So I did some digging online and found some information. The company is running an insurance scam. They are doing this from inside the United States, which means they're subject to United States laws. They ignore the National Do Not Call Registry. They ignore the laws against autodialing cell phones. They will. not. stop. Ever.

I really want to turn them over to the attourney general, which is what the FTC recommends for companies like this, but a) I'm lazy, and b) I doubt they'll care. I also read online that if you tell them that you drive a really crappy car like a '76 Chevette they'll tell you they can't offer you a warranty and leave you alone, so I may try that first. So I'm debating between telling them that I drive a '76 Dodge Dart, a '63 Hillman Minx, and a '59 Chevy truck that I won for $50 at an auction, but needs some serious body and engine work. Then if they call back after that, I'll tell them that I know they're running a scam, I know the name of their business, I know which state they're based in, I've turned the information over to my state's attorney general's office, and all they had to do to prevent it was not call me again.

I thought I could just threaten them and be done with it, but nooooo, they have to go and ignore my threats. What's the use of even making threats?

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