Jul 14 2009
Yes, people!! YESYESYES!!!!!!!!!!!
Regular readers will know that I am a tormented soul– I am plagued, absolutely plagued, with telemarketing calls. There are various reasons for our plague: when we moved to this house, we kept the previous telephone number so as to avoid the $150 new number fee– but the old number was a parsonage number so we’ve ALWAYS gotten weirdo and stray calls; I was on the stupid Do Not Call List for a time, but it expired at some point (why does it expire, I’d like to know?!) and I never got back on; and the devil just likes to torment us with evil pranksters and phone calls.
This post is the “diet pills” rendition of my angry rants. If you are desperate to read the whole raving-mad schpiel, check out my Telemarketing Hell posts, here and here. Maybe you know exactly what I mean, too– have you ever gotten one of those “your auto warranty is expiring!!” calls?? It seems everyone is getting them. I don’t think the company is calling people off a list, either. I think the company is making random calls, calling every phone number combination they can think of, because both Mr. Crabby and I get these same calls on our cell phones, too.
SO on to why I am finally rejoicing!
Millions of Americans have gotten the call.
“This is the second notice that the factory warranty on your vehicle is about to expire,” says the recorded voice at the other end of the line.
Most people hang up. The machine calls again later.
Michael Silveira decided to strike back. The 22-year-old laboratory technician, who doesn’t own a car, says he was getting unsolicited sales pitches as often as twice a day on his cell phone.
So last week, Silveira began calling back an auto-warranty company that has become the focus of an Internet crusade. He left it voice-mail messages that contained nothing but a recording of Rick Astley’s 1987 hit song “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
Using phone numbers for Auto One Warranty Specialists Inc. that users posted to a Web site called Reddit.com, Mr. Silveira joined dozens of activists who have peppered the warranty company with messages including elevator music, threats and offers of rude services.
“I thought, if you get a bunch of people together, you could blow up their voice-mail boxes,” says Mr. Silveira.
YES YES!!!! Finally! But then the story took a really weirdo turn. They are calling us “activists” and “vigilantes.” Huh?!?!
Calif., warranty company with 60 employees. He says Reddit users overloaded his phone lines with computerized calls, changed voice-mail greetings on his company’s system, and even threatened arson. People have been conspicuously honking outside his home, he says. To cope, he redirected some of the numbers that activists had been calling.
All of this happened, he says, with no evidence that his company had done anything wrong. “Ninety percent of the people complaining about my company have never been contacted by my company,” he says. He hires third-party marketing firms to call consumers — but says he pays a premium to ensure they call only people who have opted in to receiving solicitations. Many warranty calls come from so-called “ghost” phone numbers that make it nearly impossible to determine their origin. Mr. Silveira can’t be certain Auto One is behind the calls he got, but he says he came to believe it was responsible for some of them after reading the Reddit postings.
Like most vigilantes, consumers who decide to take matters into their own hands with auto-warranty touts are in legally murky waters. Leaving harassing messages could be considered a threat, and might be prosecuted by authorities in some states.
Buuuuttt…. WE are the ones being harrassed! THEY are the activists and vigilantes! Isn’t it just LIKE the bureaucrats to turn around and accuse the “small” people like that. Holy cow! GAH!!!
These auto warranty calls are horrid. They call at all times during the day, repeatedly, and then hang up. Sometimes they leave lengthy messages on the answering machine, sometimes not. But the calls are EVERY DAY, ALLLL DAY, all hours! I have had to change my telephone number because of it. And there is no “opt in” to receiving solicitations!! What a lie!! I never opted in to receive your calls, Mr. Auto Warranty! I DEFINITELY never opted in to receive ANY calls ringing off the hook all day, driving me insane!
But one guy “from the system” gets it. Oddly enough, he’s gotten those calls, too!
Connecticut’s attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, who because of complaints has been looking into the marketing practices of Auto One and other warranty marketers for more than a year, warns that consumers should “avoid breaking the law simply for revenge.”
But Mr. Blumenthal, who has received warranty-expiration calls several times himself, is sympathetic to the vigilantes. “The telemarketers would be on very shaky ground making a complaint about the use of practices directed against them that they use on consumers,” he says.
I find it threatening to liberty to NOT be able to take non-violent matters into our on hands. Just like Idiotic Bush did– HE wouldn’t enforce our national border laws, so WE THE PEOPLE decided to do it… and he called us vigilantes, even placing some folks in jail. UH HELLO?!?!? WE are the government– we the people, not YOU!! Enforce our laws, you tyrants!!!
Gosh, now I am super-duper crabby. Politics always does this to me. Gotta go take a Valium or something, darn it. See ya later.