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
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com 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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