I’m sitting in a bar on a Friday evening and I get a call from a Kansas number. It’s Jimmy from the factory warranty company that called me the other day (Fidelity National Warranty). I had pressed 1 to speak to a representative and got transferred to him. I spoke to him long enough to find out information about his company so that I could complain about them calling my cell phone with a recorded message.
After speaking to Jimmy that time, I complained to the FCC, the FTC and the Better Business Bureau of Kansas State. I also blogged about it here and I can only assume that one of those complaints got back to him somehow and now he’s trying to get back.
Here’s what happened:
Jimmy calls me and says he needs to talk to me. I try talking to him, but he tells me that he can’t hear me because I am in a bar. I tell him I would be out of the bar in about an hour (I didn’t want to leave my friends). Right before hanging up he tells me this:
“I’m going to post your personal information on the complaint you wrote about us! (click.)”
What the hell? I thought he was calling to follow up on my questions about getting an auto warranty. But he was calling out of anger. Poor Jimmy. Must be aggrieved that I only spoke to him so long so that I could get information about his company. I don’t have anything against Jimmy – he’s just trying to earn a living. Probably has a family and probably likes to get a drink after work on a Friday evening, just like me.
But then, 10 minutes later, my cell phone rings again with a Kansas number. It’s Jimmy calling back already. So this time I leave the bar to talk to him. I want to know why he’s going to post my personal information. But all he wants to do is ask me a question over and over. Here’s what he asked:
JIMMY: Did you want me to call you back in an hour?
ME: The bar was too loud and I didn’t want to leave until then.
JIMMY: Can you just tell me that you wanted me to call you back in an hour?
ME: I wanted to talk, but I couldn’t leave until then, but I can talk now.
JIMMY: Can you confirm that you wanted me to call you back in an hour.
ME: Yes, because that’s when I thought I’d be able to leave, but I’m willing to talk now. What did you want to talk about?
JIMMY: I just wanted you to confirm that you wanted me to call you in an hour. I’m recording this (click!)
That’s it! Was Jimmy from Fidelity National Warranty – one of the auto warranty telemarketing companies – actually calling me to get me on tape telling him that I wanted him to call me? I presume that was to counter my complaint, but for God’s sake, of course I wanted to talk to him if he was threatening to post my personal information.
Let’s get this straight: I’m the consumer – one of millions it seems – getting harassed with calls telling me I have to extend the factory warranty on my vehicle and the company that makes money from these calls is calling me when I’m at a bar on a Friday evening to get me on tape saying that I wanted him to call me back in an hour.
I didn’t quite know where this investigation would lead me, but I had no idea it would lead to this.
I don’t know about the legality of a telemarketing company recording a telephone conversation with a consumer without the consumer’s consent, but a quick search online tells me this:
“The FCC requires that all parties in a recorded interstate call must be notified either verbally or through an intermittent beep.”
Either way, I stand by the complaints that I filed in my pursuit to put an end to these harassing calls that I receive on a regular basis. I have not been belligerent. I have not violated any laws. I simply tried to get the name of the company behind the illegal calls so that I could file a complaint as is my right as a consumer. I can only assume a company would be irate after that complaint because of the negative affect the complaint would have on its reputation. For the company to threaten me like this seems like another threat to that company’s reputation.
For the record, I have not encouraged anyone to post personal information about people involved with these companies. All I wish to do is put an end to the calls (and perhaps get reimbursed for the minutes used on my cell phone plan). Also for the record, I have blocked comments posted on this site from people who attempted to post the personal phone information of people who they suspected were involved with these companies. I had no proof of those claims, so as a responsible person, I did not allow their comments to stay online.
I’m waiting to see if Jimmy from Fidelity National Warranty will follow through on his threat. We’ll see what happens next.