Top DNC Violations #7
Americall Group, Inc. is an Illinois based telemarketing firm that specializes in a number of different areas. Some of the services that they offer include conducting surveys, data collection, live answering services, class and seminar registration, website receptionist live service and inbound answering services. They work for a variety of different institutions including banks, credit card issuers, insurance companies, investment companies and many other financial corporations.
The company is a third party telemarketer, which means that they make and receive calls on the behalf of their clients and the businesses that they run. Americall Group, Inc. is responsible for making telemarketing calls for their clients to promote and sell their products and services to potential clients.
What Did They Do Wrong?
There are three main rules that Americall Group, Inc. violated in the Telemarketing Sales Rules Act (“TSRA”). They misled consumers with a fake caller ID, refused to place consumers on the Do-Not-Call list and continued to phone these consumers and they purposefully trained their staff to ignore these requests.
- Firstly the company specifically trained their telemarketing staff to ignore any request to be put on the company’s internal DNC list. The Americall Group, Inc. manual especially states that if the customer states “Do not call me back”, that the employee should most certainly NOT place them on the company specific DNC list.
- The second violation is one that followed up from the first, and Americall Group, Inc. employees refused to honor the consumers wish for no more calls or to be placed in the DNC by phoning them back repeatedly. There is a rule in the FTC’s TSRA and that is that a company cannot interfere with a customers wish to be placed on the company’s DNC list and yet the company specifically disregarded this law by not placing consumers on the list, but also by continuing to try and solicit their services through phone calls.
- The third violation was that of the company transmitting a false caller ID when they were phoning clients. In the TSRA there is a rule that all companies should make their caller ID known to their consumer, so that they can choose whether to answer the phone or not. Americall Group, Inc. deliberately changed their caller ID to something else to trick consumers into answering.
The Americall Group, Inc. decided that it would be best to settle rather than face the full wrath of the courts and they were fined $500,000, as well as being ordered to desist from their current illegal telemarketing practices, while also that they should refrain from breaking any of the TSRA laws in their future telemarketing campaigns.
The company is going to have to revise its whole training technique, and teach its employees how to successfully add consumers to their DNC list, while also teaching them how to research whether particular customers are on the national DNC list.
Despite the hefty sum of the $500,000 fine that the company had to pay, they are a very popular telemarketing service throughout the country, and they have a very strong customer base with over 30 big corporations choosing to work with them.
They certainly need to change and adjust their telemarketing practices if they wish to abide by the TSRA’s rules and to keep up their part of the settlement that they reached with the FTC. But on a whole they have managed to retain an extremely strong clients list, and while their reputation may have been temporarily muddied, there is no doubt that other than losing the $500,000, that they are back to business as usual.