by John Fischer, CEO of

I’ve learned a thing or two in the last 22 years of running the dominant lead list service in the country. One piece of wisdom that I’ve learned is that I can’t do business with certain individuals, companies and industries that will reflect poorly on my business ethics, even if this policy costs me sales. I know it isn’t a fashionable stance nowadays, but this practice has served me well over the years. It’s also a pain in the butt because I get phone calls every week from people I have to turn down – to their amazement.

In general, I try to avoid industries that have a history of regulatory and non-compliance problems. I especially look out for companies that try to take advantage of senior citizens and the poor. Let me enumerate some of the types of customers that I will not do business with:

  • Timeshares: There has been a rise in timeshare scams during the down economy, as fraudsters prey on timeshare owners who want to unload their properties. Some guys take huge fees up front for non-existent sales, leaving the timeshare owners holding the bag.
  • Travel Scams: Ever get a letter saying you’ve won a free weekend somewhere exotic? The price you pay for the trip is a slick, unrelenting sales pitch for overpriced timeshares that result in instant regret.
  • Extended Auto Warranty Salesmen: The Shelby Act of 2000 made it illegal for states to sell lists of vehicle identification numbers, driver licenses and motor vehicle licenses unless they offered notice and opt-in to people on these lists. We don’t offer these kinds of lists, though I regularly get phone calls from salesman looking for this information.
  • Sweepstakes Scams: Older people are targeted by phony win-notification letters for non-existent sweepstakes. Often, these scammers ask for payment in order to expedite the prize payment or cover “handling” charges or “service” fees. Sometimes they even send you a large fraudulent check that can cost you fines and even jail time.
  • Credit Repair Counselors: You can’t tell the good ones from the frauds, so I avoid the all. This includes fly-by-night loan modification scams.
  • Leverage Precious Metal Brokers: This is my pet peeve and my biggest heartburn, and we’ve posted blogs about this. Dodd-Frank Section 742 clearly prohibits leveraged OTC sale of precious metals to anyone not taking delivery within 28 days. I get phone calls every week from shady metals brokers trying to buy lists. Stop Trying!! I haven’t sold to these people in over two years.

I invite your comments and hope that this helps you understand the high ethical standard I maintain here at