Updated: 24 September, 2000

AT&T Violates Telemarketing Act

(How to Get Rid of Junk Mail, Spam, and Telemarketers)


 
For years, US telephone company AT&T called me repeatedly against my request to be deleted from their telemarketing lists, in direct violation of the 1991 Telemarketing Act. Unfortunately, I did not log their calls nor did I attempt to collect damages. However, becuase of their telemarketing practices, I will never become an AT&T customer, and I can only recommend that others do not do business with AT&T.
 
Unforunately, AT&T has gotten around USC 47 by subcontracting with hundreds of "independent" telemarketing companies (most of whom are shell entities created by AT&T yet legally operating independently and unaffiliated), each of which has the same lead list - so you get solicited even more, by different companies, and you can't nail AT&T because there is no provision in the Telemarketing Act pertaining to the entity being advertised as being responsible for the solicitation activities. (Thanks to Mike for this perspective.)
 
AT&T is still violating the law. The following letter fully documents the experience Harold Fix had with AT&T. Harold has taken the time to follow through on AT&T's unprofessional practices, and to provide a copy of the following letter of complaint. I would encourage you to review the letter, as it contains a substantial amount of information you might want to use if you, too, are harassed by AT&T.

6/13/97


Re: AT&T Corporation
     Western Telemarketing
     Reese Brothers, Inc. 


To whom it may concern, 

I wish to file a complaint with your office against the following
companies: 

Robert E. Allen, Chairman & CEO
AT&T Corporate Headquarters  
32 Avenue of the Americas 
New York, NY 10013-2412
(908) 221-4191
(908) 204-2186 Fax

Tom Evslin, VP
AT&T WorldNet Services
295 North Maple Av. 
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Rich Srednicki, VP 
AT&T Card Services 
295 North Maple Av. 
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

AT&T American Transtech 
8000 Baymeadows Way
Jacksonville, FL 32256
(904)636-1000

Barry Reese, President & CEO
Reese Brothers, Inc.
925 Penn Av.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412)  355-0800
(412) 765-0329 Fax

Gary West, President & CEO
Western Telemarketing
9901 W. Maple RD
Omaha, NB 68134
(800) 542-1000
(402)  571-7000 Fax


The companies listed above are divisions of, or are contracted with
AT&T Corporation.

I have been receiving repeated and harassing telemarketing calls from,
and on the behalf of, the companies listed above.  Despite repeated
requests to place my phone number on a do not call list, I have
received numerous calls from AT&T over the past six months. This
past week alone, I have received five phone calls.  This is
harassment and violates the 1991 Telemarketing Act.

It should be stressed that every time I have received a call from a
telemarketer, I request that the name and number called, is to be
placed on a do not call list.  

AT&T Card Services employee's Tammy, Heather and Supervisor Cindy
Pennanen clearly stated and refused to place my phone number on a
do not call list.  This is a blatant violation of the Telemarketing
Act.

AT&T World Net Services employee's Ran and Supervisor Chris refused
to identify themselves, gave fictitious information and ID numbers,
refused to provided company addresses and phone numbers and failed
to place my phone number on a do not call list.  AT&T World Net
Services Duty Manager Michelle and Manager Clyde Haggart confirm
that some of this is the division policy for so called security
reasons.  Not only does this policy prevent identification of rude
employee's, it is a violation of the Telemarketing Act.

Telemarketing company Reese Brothers is calling for, and on the
behalf of, and  represented themselves as AT&T.  I was able to
trace this company through the Internet and I have informed Reese
Brother employee's James, Bill, Sharon and Susan to place my phone
number on a do not call list.  I have informed Reese Brothers
supervisors Renee Phillips, Cary Chips and Susan Painter to do the
same.  I have also left messages with Reese managers Katrina Mainor,
Linda Manfredi, Curtis Weidrin, Patrick Farley and Barry Reese
requesting that this number be placed on a do not call list.  Reese
Brother employees failed to identify the Telemarketing Company they
worked for, (I over heard the company name in the background).
Reese Brother employee's failed to provide their companies phone
number and address.  Reese Brothers made repeated telemarketing
calls to my home.  This is a violation of the Telemarketing Act. 

Telemarketing company Western Telemarketing is calling for, and on
the behalf of, and represented themselves as AT&T.  Again, I was
able to trace this company through the Internet.  Western
Telemarketing is violating the Telemarketing Act by refusing to
identify themselves or provide their company's address and phone
number.  Western Telemarketing employee Kristen Herandez refused
to place my number on a do not call list and shouted her sales
pitch over my request to stop calling.  After tracing Western
Telemarketing's phone number and address and contacting the
company.  Their phone operators made it clear to me that they
were very upset that Kristen Herandez violated their company's
policy by identifying herself and the company's name to me.  Her
supervisor, Mr. Rob #104 and division manager Rod Bennett have
been uncooperative with me.  I have informed Western Telemarketing
CEO Gary West to place my phone number on a do not call list.
Western Telemarketing is in violation of the Telemarketing Act.

During the past six months, I learned from AT&T, that they contract
with over 350 Telemarketing company's.  If Reese Brothers and Western
Telemarketing's conduct and actions are typical of AT&T contractors,
(it is), then a serious problem exists and should be dealt with
immediately.  It would be ridiculous and unreasonable to expect
a private citizen like myself, to inform each company to place my
phone number on a "DO NOT CALL" list.  Asking for my phone number
to be placed on a "DO NOT CALL" list does not work with AT&T
contractors, the calls have continued.  Hanging up on them does
not work either.  


Calling the AT&T Corporation, (as required by AT&T and its contractors),
and making the request for my number to be placed on a "DO NOT CALL"
list does not work.  My request is not passed on to the other AT&T
divisions.  AT&T even has the audacity to say that they have so many
Telemarketing company's working for them, that they can not guarantee
that I will not be called back.  The 1991 Telemarketing Act Sections
310.4 (A)(1), (b), and (b)(1)(ii) do not mention anything about
guarantees, but it does say they are not to call back.  The Telephone
Consumer Protection Act Sec 47 USC, 227 and 47 CFR Section 64.1200.
also says the companies are not to call back.

I demand that the AT&T Universal Card Company, AT&T Phone Company,
Reese Brothers and Western Telemarketing their representatives,
agents and companies that call on their behalf, comply with my
request and comply with the laws regulating telemarketers by placing
my phone number on a do not call list.  They are not to make any
telemarketing calls for any company to anyone at my phone number.
My number is not to be given out to any telemarketing firm or by
any of the companies listed in this complaint letter. 

Because of the Internet and close contact with family, I have
discovered that my complaint is not an isolated incident.  This
has also happened to other people.  I am shocked and outraged to
learn that a corporation like AT&T would resort to such tactics,
or tolerate such poor behavior from its employee's, representatives
and contractors. 

My wife and I are AT&T customers, why should we be treated this way? 

Sincerely,

Harold Fix


Ref. Mcompat&t61297



 
The preceeding letter was sent to the Attorney Generals in the following states: Ohio
Nebraska
Pennsylvania
New Jersey
New York
Florida

 
This complaint letter was also sent to the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission and to the Better Business Bureaus where the businesses are located. Copies of the letter were also sent to each of the companies involved.
 
As of July 23, 1997 the following responses to my complaint letter had occurred.

Nebraska Attorney General Don Stenbergs office stated that they did not
have the authority to enforce any telemarketing laws and would not help. 
I feel sorry for the citizens of Nebraska for voting in such a weak
politician.  I hope that the people who read this would take the time to
write a complaint letter about his poor job performance at:

Don Stenberg
State of Nebraska
Office of the Attorney General
2115 State Capital Building
Lincoln, NE 68509-8920
(402) 471-2682
(402) 471-3297 fax

Ohio, Florida and the Pennsylvania Attorney Generals have turned my
complaint over to the consumer mediator five weeks ago, I have not heard
anything from them since.  This does show that the private citizen has
very few options when dealing with illegal Telemarketing activities. 
Complaint letters about the lack of action should be written to the
following addresses.

Attorney General
State of Florida
The Capitol, PL 01
Tallahassee FL 32399-1050 

Attorney General
State of Pennsylvania 
Strawberry Square
Harrisburg PA 17120 

Betty D. Montgomery
State of Ohio Attorney General
17th Floor
30 East Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43266-0410 
(614)  466-3376
(614) 466-5087 Fax

The New York and New Jersey Attorney Generals have not responded to my
complaints at all.  Their lack of response shows me why there is a nation
wide problem with illegal telemarketing activity.  Complaint letters
should be written to:

Attorney General
State of New York
120 Broadway
New York NY 10271 

Attorney General
State of New Jersey 
Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex
25 Market St. CN 080
Trenton NJ 08625 

Western Telemarketing is actually West TeleServices Corporation and is
located at:

West TeleServices Corporation
10931 Laureate Drive
San Antonio, TX 78249-3372
(210) 690-6900
(800) 521-6001

They have refused to provide me with a copy of their "do not call policy"
and have not sent confirmation to me that my phone number was placed on
their do not call list.  West TeleServices Corporation employee Emily N.
Herrick sent a letter claiming that she was vice-president of Client
Services for AT&T, Emily then claimed that she was not with AT&T.  Call
her and ask which company she works for and why her company has yet to
send me the required information.  You can reach her at (800) 572-0626. 
Her boss, Gary West, claims that some of the people that I have named in
my letter do not work for his company.  I would hope that people would
call his company and ask why his employees would lie about their
identity.

Complaints to the Better Business Bureau have as usual been a waste of
time.  The BBB's in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio have
refused to answer my complaint letters.  The BBB in Nebraska wrote only
one letter to Gary West, President & CEO of Western Telemarketing and
then sent me a letter that was five days past their ten day limit that
would keep my complaint active.  The BBB in Florida wrote to AT&T
Universal Card Services and has ignored my additional letters.  Complaint
letters about the BBB's lack of service should be sent to:

Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.
4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 800 
Arlington, VA 22203-1804 
http://www.bbb.org/
Phone: (703) 276-0100 
Fax: (703) 525-8277
jpond@cbbb.bbb.org

Complaints to the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications
Commission have not been answered or acknowledged.  Complaints about the
governments poor service should be sent to:

Chairman Robert Pitofsky 
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W
Washington, D.C. 20580
http://www.ftc.gov

Chairman Reed Hundt
Federal Communications Commission,
1919 M Street N.W., Washington DC 20554
http://www.fcc.gov
(202) 418-0200
ssegal@fcc.gov

Dealing with illegal telemarketing activities is an upward battle.  The
citizens of this country will not receive any help from the State
Attorney Generals, Better Business Bureaus or from the Federal
Government.  You will be on your own.

Harold Fix



 
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