FOXNews (June 15, 2009)
" You answer the phone, and it's a recorded message:
" 'By now you should have received your written note regarding your vehicle warranty expiring. This call is to give you a final opportunity to extend coverage before it is too late. Press '1' now to speak to a warranty specialist regarding your options on your vehicle.'
"Upon pressing '1,' you are transferred to a 'warranty specialist' who lies to you, telling you he is affiliated with an automobile dealer or manufacturer and that your warranty is up. And before long, you may have agreed to put $450 down on an extended service contract that costs up to $3,000, the balance to be paid in monthly payments.
"Or maybe you hang up — only to be called again. And again. Because more than a billion of these automatically dialed 'robocalls' have been sent to cell phones, government offices and even 911 operators...."
They're not just annoying: they're illegal.
And, it looks like only four people are behind them. Sure, there are the flunkies picking up the phones and technicians maintaining the equipment: but just a few people running the show:
- Christopher D. Cowart
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Owns Transcontinental Warranty, a Delaware company based in Fort Lauderdale
- James A. Dunne
- Daytona Beach, Florida
- Owns Florida-based Voice Touch with his wife, Maureen
- Maureen E. Dunne, nee Maureen Geisen
- James Dunne's wife
- "Little information can be found pertaining to her."
- Damian P. Kohlfeld
- Valparaiso, Indiana
- Owns Network Foundations, which is based in Chicago, Illinois
- Transcontinental Warranty
- Voice Touch
- Network Foundations
I don't mean to sound vindictive, but I hope those companies go under, their employees find an honest way to make a buck, and the four people running the show sanctioned so that they can't do any more damage.
There's more than annoyance here.
911 lines and the people who operate them are there to saving lives and deal with emergencies. When robocallers tie up the lines, they can't. I hope nobody's died as a result of the wunderkinds' greed: but we may never know.
And, there's the productivity lost while people answer the phone and discover that it's another robocall. For example, I'm running a tiny business in my home. I hang up at the word "warranty," but that takes a few seconds. I can't simply ignore the phone, and all those seconds wasted add up. Multiply that by whatever power of ten is involved, and you've got a huge amount of wasted time.
A Federal Trade Commission press release (link below) tells a bit about how the operation works.
- "FTC Files Suit to Stop Illegal Robocalls Pushing Vehicle “Warranty” Extensions"
Federal Trade Commission (May 14, 2009)