The attached letter was in my mailbox last week. (click on the image to view full size) It warms my cockles. Tennessee has one of the strongest anti-telemarketing laws in the nation, far stronger than the national one. TN actually takes police action against teleslime, fining them $500 for each violation.
As can be seen in the letter, an investigator is assigned to each case. As part of my complaint, I signed a form allowing them to access my phone records. I had written down the time span of the call so all they have to do is look at my records and pick out that call.
I had a nice conversation with this investigator. He reiterated the advice in the letter and I have a few more tips.
- Act VERY interested in whatever the teleslime is selling.
- After being very excited about the product for a minute, ask for a call-back number, where you can reach them in case you get cut off.
- Don’t let any hostility or sarcasm slip into your voice. You want the teleslime to be as excited as you are so s/he’ll drop his guard and give you the info that you need.
- If you state law allows it (most do), attach an automatic recording device to your telephone to record the conversation. That is extremely valuable to the investigator. Recording gadgets are available at Rat Shack for around $20.
- Have an accurate, preferably a radio-controlled (aka Atomic) clock on hand so that you can record the time accurately. It makes it a lot easier if they can exactly match your times to the times recorded by the phone company.
- Have a digital camera handy and photograph the Caller ID screen. That proves the time and origin of the call. It’s against federal law for teleslime to not deliver accurate Caller ID so even if it comes up “blocked” or “private”, photograph it.
- At the very end of the conversation, after you have everything that you need, tell the slime “Put me on your do-not-call list and never call me again”. This makes it a more serious crime if they call back.
- Again, at the very end of the call, in a friendly voice tell the teleslime that you’ve been collecting information for a Do-Not-Call violation complaint. The teleslime likely hates the company as much as you do. In this case, it was a college kid working his way through school. He opened up and told me stuff that I didn’t ask for such as the street address, what the building looked like, his boss’s name and so on. He was cheering me on.
It took me probably an hour and a half to find the form, download and print it and fax it back (no email, darn!) Some folks would argue that it wasn’t worth it. Bunk! Finally we have a law with some teeth in it but the teleslime victim has to start the process before the state can chomp on the teleslime. I think that it was some of the best time I’ve spent in recent time.
The law is working. That was the first teleslime call that I had gotten in several months. Ahhhh, the sound of silence.
Now if I can only get CVS Pharmacy to change their number since it now differs from mine by only one digit. I think I’ll just start taking their refill orders and forgetting about ’em. :-)